terri schlichenmeyer

This morning, when you got out of bed and wandered into the bathroom, the same face that’s greeted you on hundreds of mornings stared back at you in the mirror. Same eyes, although bleary and not quite open. Same hair, more or less — perhaps literally. The cheeks, lips, yawn, all familiar. Yep, that’s you in the mirror. You’re the same as you were last night, only a little rumpled.

Count yourself lucky. At least you didn’t wake up this morning with horns, like Ignatius Perrish did. In the new book “Horns” by Joe Hill, nothing will ever be the same.

Hung over and a little sick, Ig Perrish didn’t at first notice the bony protuberances sprouting from his forehead. But they were sensitive, and when he finally saw them in the mirror, he knew he was in trouble. But not just for being horny.

Everybody in Gideon thought Ig was guilty as sin for the murder of Merrin Williams. It was common knowledge that he and Merrin had argued before she was killed. Lots of people saw Ig storm away, Merrin close behind him. Though the charges were dropped, the notion that he raped and killed Merrin never was.

Ig had loved Merrin since they were kids. They’d named their someday children. They were engaged to be married. She was his reason for living.

Now, with his future in tatters and suspicion everywhere, Ig woke up with a set of horns. And with them, came a unique set of abilities. He could mimic any voice from the depths of his body, fooling even loved ones. While in his presence, people were unable to keep secrets or thoughts to themselves. They never remembered seeing Ig, much less talking with him. And with the merest touch, Ig knew every bad thing they had ever done in their lives.

He knew that his brother, Terry, was nearby when Merrin drew her last breath. Ig knew then who killed the love of his life, how it happened and the senseless reason why. And he knew he’d burn before he’d let the murderer go.

Seriously, I need to learn not to take books like this to bed with me. Many times as I was reading “Horns” I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream, so I did both. Hill possesses a wicked sense of humor that almost makes you believe this is a rompish mistaken-identity sort of tale, akin to what Rod Serling might have presented.

Then Hill whomps you over the head with the most unthinkably evil, most malevolent thing you can imagine. He wraps it up in serpents and serves it hot over a dark, abandoned foundry and leaves you realizing you’ve been holding your breath the entire time you’ve been reading that page.

A little love, a little evil and lots of good reading, this is a book to find if you want a nice scare. Lock “Horns” in your hands and you’ll have a devil of a time letting it go.

Terri Schlichenmeyer collects books, tigers, trivia and book bags. She has also been accused of collecting dust now and then.

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