Horror fiction is usually not my cup of tea and this is one of those novels where after I finished reading it, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Did I like it or not? I suppose I can say that I lean towards liking it and the reason for it being that it’s premise is bizarre to say the least. A man wakes up one morning after spending a night “doing horrible things” to discover that he had grown horns - essentially becoming something of a devil. He is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend and he is out to prove that he didn’t do it, despite the fact that everyone in town believes that he did. His horns bring out the worst in people, often confessing to him their most darkest thoughts and quite casually at that, which in a sense makes the “devil” in the story something of a hero, being that the people in the New England town in which the story is set, are often far more evil than one would ever expect. It seems to be a sort of commentary on contemporary society - particularly in America - where something quite sinister lurks under the surface of normality.
One part horror novel, one part murder mystery, what you have here is something a little broader than your usual horror fiction fare. Influenced by music, film, comic books, horror novels, horror films, pop culture (two of the characters are named “Merrin” and “Reagan”, which recalls two characters in Peter Blatty’s “The Exorcist”), and just a hint of the transgressive weirdness of Chuck Palahniuk, and what you have here is a very interesting mix. The “devil” in this story is portrayed how a bluesman might envision him, rather than the ‘classical’ view of the Devil that you would find in literature across the ages. A “Pop Culture” devil - but he is human, not a spawn from Hell, so in this sense it gives the character all the flaws and conflicts a human being would have. There are also some narrative experimentations here, which keep things interesting and set it apart from what one would expect in a “horror novel.” All in all, an interesting and entertaining read and Hill is definitely bringing something new to the genre, and it will definitely keep you turning the pages.
Rating: * * * 1/2