This is easily one of my new favorite books. I read his novel Heart-Shaped Box the summer before last, and just this past month read (and reviewed!) his short story collection. Joe Hill can do no wrong for me at this point.
Horns is a novel that picks up on one of the worst days of Ig Perrish’s life: it is the one year anniversary of the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams. Not only is the love of his life dead, everyone in town thinks he’s the one who killed her. He wakes up with a hangover and a set of horns sprouting out of his forehead. The horns at first terrify him — when people see them, they confess their most appalling desires and sins to him. He soon discovers their true power, though, as he realizes his horns are the perfect way to find out what really happened to Merrin that rainy autumn night.
Ig slowly turns into a dark antihero, his horns growing all the time, but you are rooting for him from start to fiery finish. What’s a human without flaws and desires anyway? Ig starts to embrace his demonic new life the closer he gets to the revenge that he hopes will set him free.
This novel is full of sly references to evil, heaven, and hell through youthful flashbacks, cherry bombs, pop culture, trumpet-playing, half-heard church sermons, and a mysterious tree house that seems to somehow hold the answer to everything. While it is thrilling and horrifying in parts, it is also a heartfelt story about Ig’s family, childhood, and the one woman he loved so much, he turned into a devil without her.