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NOS4A2: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 30, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062200577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062200570
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In Heart-Shaped Box (2007) and Horns (2010), Hill showed hints of an enlarging literary toolbox. With this 700-page opus, the tool set is complete, and Hill has indeed built something very big. The story follows Vic, from 8-year-old girl to troubled teen to embattled mother, as she struggles to survive as a “strong creative”—one who has access (in her case, via a ramshackle bridge) to an alternate universe constructed from imagination. Problem is, a chief attraction of this other America is Christmasland, a snowy Neverland carnival controlled by cheery, ageless child-abductor Charlie Manx (think Bentley Little’s Mailman or Stephen King’s Pennywise). Manx tries to take Vic to Christmasland as a kid, and years later, in the book’s central conflict, he tries to take her son. Hill doesn’t spend much time in reality before careening deliriously off into a la-la land of horrifying absurdism (a bottomless Scrabble bag, a mouth full of fish-hook teeth). This engenders inelegance; at times, the parts are more than the whole. But Hill is omnivorous in his appetite for story and character, and here he has created his best: Lou, Vic’s obese, warm-hearted lover; Bing, Manx’s demented chief elf; and gutsy, heartbreaking Vic. Occasional drawings by Hill’s Locke & Key conspirator, Gabriel Rodriguez, add one more element to this vast and gangly but undeniably readable work. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: What isn’t being done for horror fiction’s heir apparent? Big advertising, big author tour, big e-book teasers, big videos—even the advance reading copies are gorgeously produced. --Daniel Kraus


“Quite simply the best horror writer of our generation, Joe Hill’s masterful storytelling is on full display in NOS4A2. It is by turns terrifying and hilarious, horrifying and full of heart, and relentlessly compelling.” (Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of The Prophet on NOS4A2)

“Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is for certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again.” (Library Journal (starred review) on NOS4A2)

“[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended.” (The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia))

“[A] lovely, earnest collection of short fiction.” (Village Voice)

“[An] inventive collection . . . brave and astute.” (New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice))

“[A]stounding . . . .Though most of the stories have elements of horror, the overall mood of the collection is one of heartbreaking wonderment . . . Highly recommended .” (Library Journal (starred review))

“[An] undeniably readable work.” (Booklist (starred review) on NOS4A2)

“NOS4A2 is a brilliant exploration of classic and modern monsters and dark fantasties, all cut up, restitched and retooled...With this novel, riveting from beginning to end, Joe Hill has become a master of his craft.” (Publishers Weekly on NOS4A2)

“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.” (Library Journal (starred review) on NOS4A2)

“Hill is so skillful that we don’t know till the very end whether he’ll get away with it. . . Hill’s story is quite original and, for horror fans of a certain ironic bent, it’s an unqualified delight.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on NOS4A2)

“NOS4A2 will pull you in from the first pages, and draw you away from your other responsibilities.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Read it with the lights on and your children locked in a closet.” ( on NOS4A2)

“Hill’s imagination is...far-ranging....NOS4A2 is full of chills and cliffhangers.” (New York Times on NOS4A2)

“[Hill’s] sentences crackle with wit and understated craftsmanship – the kind so skillful it is only visible if you’re paying attention.” (The Globe and Mail on NOS4A2)

“Joe Hills NOS4A2 is one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time--and I mean that in a good way.” (Tampa Bay Times on NOS4A2)

“Hill’s well-stocked bag of narrative tricks keeps the pages moving at a steady clip, and his characters are sufficiently melodramatic to make the book’s scale feel both intimate and operatic. In fact, if you’re an impressionable reader, stick to reading ‘NOS4A2’ during the day. ” (Richmond Times-Dispatch on NOS4A2)

“Words of warning for those who pick up this hefty, 704-page saga: You’ll never listen to Christmas carols the same way. Or sleep with the lights off.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram on NOS4A2)

“Like any good novel, no matter the genre, NOS4A2 zips down the streets of its mesmerizing story line not just in the Wraith but also, and more importantly, on the backs of high-octane characters...Hill imbues the pitter-patter of little feet with a terror you won’t soon forget.” (USA Today, 4 stars)

“NOS4A2 is a masterwork of horror.” (Lev Grossman, Time magazine)

“NOS4A2 and its story of a heroic biker chic going up against an old vampire should grab you by the lapels and give y ou a few good shakes before setting its hooks in--and deep....Hill...puts together a riveting tale.” (St Louis Today on NOS4A2)

“Joe Hill can terrify. he can humor. He can sadden. He can shock. His characters are deep and vibrant, his plots mesmerizing, his prose genuine. Simply put, he’s a damn good writer.” (Writer's Digest on NOS4A2)

“NOS4A2 is [Hill’s] longest and most ambitious work yet. . . utterly absorbing.” (Seattle Times)

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Customer Reviews

Great story, great characters, great fun and - extremely well written.
A. pierce
The action never lets up and you do not want to put the book down so that you can get to the end but the story is so good you want it to go on without end.
John F Margie
This book was SO great .... I just couldn't stop reading it and with nearly 700 pages, it's a glorious ride that keeps on going for days!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

182 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Miss Barbara TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Joe Hill called NOS4A2 his "senior PhD thesis on horror"," about a very bad man with a very bad car". Manx is a 140 year old man who drives around in a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2 and kidnaps children, taking them to Christmas-land. He entreaties helpers as needed to "take care" of loose ends (like parents).

This is a truly horrifying tale that grabs you in the first chapter and doesn't let go until the end - at which point you're almost guaranteed to have a nightmare or two. Through all 700 plus pages Hill does not waste a single word. Each character is well thought out and presented; each a solid building block in this fascinating and chilling tale.

To me Bing Partridge, who is the chosen assistant in our timeline, is the most disturbing character in the story as he is not deliberately malevolent. Victoria, Vic, the Brat is the young lady hero who is a "finder" and can move through the inscapes thus putting herself in harm's way. There is always a toll; a price for our actions and passing into another place/time causes Vic to become very ill the longer she remains "over there". When Vic rides her bike through the no-longer-existent, rotting covered bridge and meets a punk styled librarian, she learns of Maggie's talent for reading impending events through manipulation of Scrabble tiles. Though Victoria is warned to stay away from the Rolls Royce Wraith it becomes like a magnet drawing her closer and closer.

Christmas-land holds a horrible end for the children whose bodies are never found since they are ordained to live there forever. It becomes Vic's destiny to put an end to Manx, the vampire of the chi, who does not drink blood but takes from his victims something far more precious.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Robert Russin on September 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of the fun things about reading a lot of horror novels is watching the faces of your more well-adjusted friends as you explain, straight-faced, the premise of a book you just enjoyed. When I say that I just finished a great book about a vampire Rolls-Royce Wraith that sucks the life out of children and keeps them trapped forever in a Christmas-themed fantasy world, responses range from polite disinterest to something like self-righteous indignation (the latter reaction generally coming from friends that would list Ulysses as a favorite novel). When I explain this to a horror fan, though, I anticipate a slight widening of the eyes, and an enthusiastic response -- possibly followed by a trip to Wikipedia.

This is not because the people that read horror novels are idiots or have low standards. Quite the opposite -- it's because we know that good writing -- the gift of storytelling, the gift of execution -- can override a ridiculous sounding premise, and we take immense joy in seeing this being done successfully. There's almost a sense of rebellion in this process -- take THAT, Flaubert! -- and a great deal of fun. And I imagine that Joe Hill had -quite- a bit of fun while writing this monster of a novel. He overcomes the relative weakness of a far fetched plot idea by making great use of his strengths: a natural gift for characterization and a large, welcoming imagination that birthed an interesting new mythos. Taken as a whole, it feels as if we are witnessing something very exciting: a writer growing in confidence, skill, and discovering his own unique voice to craft what is rightfully being called a breakout novel.
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179 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Webster TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is certainly well-written, and intense in chunks; Joe Hill does a good job at creating his main character, Vic McQueen. Some of the other things about the book that did not work for me may very well be considered pluses by other readers.

I didn't dislike this book - it was 'okay.' But there's already plenty of positive reviews by other readers that really enjoyed it; I'll focus on my criticisms so potential readers can see another side.

Mostly, I think "NOS4A2" is a tight, concise, intense 300-page thriller watered-down over 700 pages. It's written like an epic, but it lacks an epic scope - the book's length extends conversations and scenes, but often without growing the story. Unlike a book I excitedly blaze through, I really felt the length.

There's only four main characters (and two important supporting characters), and for all the book's length, only Vic McQueen gets a real in-depth treatment. Even the two villains, while a lot of time is spent with them, are never much more than evil people - again, there's limited scope to the story. It doesn't feel like there's anything at stake - one side's good, one side's bad, and that's pretty much it. It's a very long chase story.

A comparison might be to Justin Cronin's equally long "The Passage," which gives his villains a much deeper backstory. So you're not "rooting" for Cronin's villains, but he provides a more three-dimensional struggle.

But - Joe Hill is a great writer, no doubt. In individual scenes he does a very good job of conveying the intensity needed in a good thriller. And, when the book starts picking up speed at about Page 400 it moves rapidly to a decently satisfying conclusion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

The author of the critically acclaimed Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts, Joe Hill is a two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, and a past recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship. His stories have appeared in a variety of journals and Year's Best collections. He calls New England home.

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NOS4A2: A Novel
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