herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bookend: Horns

Joe Hill (Gollancz) €18.50

Horny, eh?

Not like that. Ignatius Perrish wakes up after a night when he did 'terrible things', and finds horns growing on his head.

Not a good look.

Actually, nobody notices. Except that they want to tell him their darkest desires and get his permission to do bad things.

Ig's a bad boy?

Son of a legendary musician, brother of a TV star, he has grown up in wealth and privilege. But Ig's the kind of sweet innocent who is a beacon of truth. In fact, his evil friend Lee Tourneau lives his life by thinking 'WWID?' -- What Would Ig Do? -- and mimicking his behaviour.

A good villain's important

Lee Tourneau's native water is deception. And there are others: a few nasty cops. And Ig's family don't come out of it too well.

And Ig?

Everyone in town thinks Ig raped and murdered his girlfriend, Merrin, when she tried to break up with him.

What's this girlfriend like?

They meet in church, where the pretty redhead flashes a message in Morse code using the gold cross she wears.

Small-town life, then?

All kinds of strange, dreamy magic happens, at the same time as a townie childhood of jokes and japes. Hill writes beautifully about the secret life of kids -- the wild, dangerous things they do without their parents ever knowing. And about treachery.

Then he turns into Satan?

Kind of. But still a sweet guy. Hill, the writer of Heart-Shaped Box -- a big hit last year which Neil Jordan is going to film -- and the Locke & Key comics, takes his reader on a 'hold-tight' ride.

Serious stuff?

With jokes that make you burst out laughing and a great story, with a spiralling series of twists".

A buy?

A definite buy.

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