In a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith whose license plate reads NOS4A2, Charles Talent Manx takes children on a terrifying ride out of the real world. Has Victoria McQueen really stopped him? With a one-day laydown on April 30 and a 200,000-copy first printing.[Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
What child wouldn't want to live in a place where it's Christmas every day? Where life is hot cocoa, gingerbread, gifts, and amusement park rides? Every year, Charlie Manx takes one or two "special" children in his vintage Rolls Royce (license plate reads "NOS4A2") to Christmasland, a place that can't be found on any conventional map, where they get to experience the joy of Christmas morning every day and never grow up. But underneath the pretty wrapping paper, Christmasland is not all that it seems. Vic McQueen can also travel to places that most people don't know exist, and at age 17, she attempts to put a stop to Manx's trips to Christmasland. Years later when Manx resurfaces and kidnaps her son, Vic will risk everything to rescue her son and put an end to Christmasland once and for all. VERDICT While the title is misleading since the book is not really about vampires, Hill (Heart-Shaped Box; Horns) has created characters in Charlie Manx and Vic McQueen that are comparable to those of other horror juggernauts such as Peter Straub and Hill's dad, Stephen King. Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/12.]--Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., Pensacola[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Driving a 1938 Rolls-Royce, Charles Manx gathers deserving children and takes them to Christmasland, a place of endless games, cocoa, and gingerbread cookies that doesn't appear on any map. Vic McQueen, the only kid to escape Manx's macabre game, has unusual talents of her own. Now an adult, Vic must confront her worst nightmare to save her son before it is too late. VERDICT Hill delivers an intricate story line full of terror and courage that brings out the best and the very worst in his protagonists, characters you won't soon forget. A book focused on Christmas may not be the most obvious summer read, but readers will feel the "chill" when they hear those first Christmas carols come September. (LJ 2/15/13)[Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviewed by Joe R. Lansdale. Horror is too simplistic a word for Joe Hill's new novel, but there's no denying it makes the skin crawl like a worm on a hot rock. It's as much fantasy-thriller as a descent into the maelstrom, but no matter how you label it, what makes it work best is that it is a novel of well-defined characters, and one character in particular: the Brat, real name Victoria McQueen. Victoria discovers she has a knack. She can find lost things. She does this by concentrating on the object and riding her bike, a Raleigh Tuff Burner. While on board her metal and rubber-tired steed, she is subtly carried away into a world that seems as real as her own. It is accessed by the Shorter Way Bridge and is a place where all things lost that Vic seeks are found. When she crosses back into our world with the found object, the bridge ceases to exist, at least until she sets her mind to a new search and starts across once again on her trusty machine. It's an amazing talent but it has a price, both physical and emotional. Vic doesn't understand her abilities, but as she gets older she comes across someone she thinks can explain them to her--a woman with a bag of Scrabble game tiles through which she divines answers, reminiscent of an ancient soothsayer prowling through animal guts and rattling human knuckle bones. Vic finds her revelations less than reassuring, and it looks as if she may be in for some harrowing moments, which, of course, is what we are all hoping for as readers. In contrast to Vic, whose intentions are good, is Charles Manx, and if that last name doesn't clue you in that he's the villain of this piece, then the car he drives will: a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith with a license plate reading NOS4A2. He arrives in our world out of a place called Christmasland, a phantasmagoric amusement park full of dark possibilities and, in spite of its child-pleasing title, containing about as much light and happiness as a concentration camp at midnight. Like Dracula, Manx has his Renfield--Bing Partridge, a pathetic gas-mask-wearing follower looking for validation and love; a sad creature sticking himself tight to someone more powerful than himself and his personal role model for evil. Manx, Bing, and Vic cross paths, as one would expect, and it's a dynamic collision with an echo that reverberates through the years and sets all three up for a new and even more frightening encounter that makes the first one look like a child's birthday party. Joe Hill's NOS4A2 is a brilliant exploration of classic and modern monsters and dark fantasies, all cut up, restitched and retooled, sliding you along as if you're cruising way too fast in a rusty old Cadillac down a dark, twisty road with no lights, bald tires, and no hands on the wheel. Watch out for the pot holes. They're deep. With this novel, riveting from beginning to end, Joe Hill has become a master of his craft. Joe R. Lansdale is the author of 30 novels and numerous short stories. His most recent novel is Edge of Dark Water from Mulholland Books[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC