My rating: (5 / 5)
Well. Didn’t I just enjoy the heck out of this one.
This is the third book by Joe Hill that I’ve read, and between reading the last two and now, I learned that he is Stephen King’s son. Being a King fan, I enjoyed knowing that little connection, but it didn’t have much to do with why I liked his books. However, I was delighted to discover (as in, actually squeed in delight while reading, catching the attention of a curious husband who completely did not understand what was going on) that there were nods to the King Universe in this book – as well as to the universe just starting to bud into existence in the Joe Hill world of novels.
I absolutely loved it.
I may still be really, really happy about it.
And that’s okay, right?
This book has some of the most interesting, well-developed and lovable characters I’ve had the fun of taking a ride with in a very long time. Well, except for Manx. He’s the bad guy, and not very lovable at all. In fact, he’s pretty much the stuff of my worst nightmares, but he does drive a very cool car, a classic Wraith. I had to get my husband to try to explain what this car looked like to me, and finally went and looked it up for myself. It’s the kind of car gangsters in old comic strips always drive, at least in my head. Maybe I read too much Dick Tracy growing up.
He’s a nasty sort, and our heroine Vic – aka The Brat – has known him much of her life. He was the baddie that turned her childhood talent for finding lost things into the worst kind of nightmare. But you know how that kind of thing goes – women who have nasty childhoods grow up to be total badasses as adults. Which is what Vic is.
And let me just take a minute here to say thank you, Joe Hill, for writing such an awesome, strong female protagonist. In fact, there are several strong women in this book who you really wouldn’t want to mess with for various reasons, and who have all kinds of strengths. They don’t rely on their men to beat up the bad guy or find the answers to the problems or save the day in the end, though I almost thought that was going to happen because Vic also happens to have a pretty kick-ass ex-husband, who is portly and funny tries very hard and is an awesome dad and wants badly to be a hero. He’s completely sweet, actually. I really, really loved him, probably almost as much as Vic did.
Other fabulous characters of note include a psychic, stuttering librarian who uses scrabble tiles like runes, a savvy female cop who ends up being a little bit of a hero herself, and a whole crew of scary creepy children. Just like in horror movies, scary creepy children are enough to give me insomnia for days and make me seek refuge in Disney Princess movies in order to try to wash my brain.
Can someone turn a light on, please?
Also, make sure you stay tuned to catch the secret scene at the end. Just like with the best Marvel movies, it’s possibly a lead-in to what’s coming next…