Horns, by Joe Hill

Horns is a page-turn­er.  Most nights the only rea­son I stopped read­ing was because I had to make a choice between find­ing out what comes next and being use­ful at work in the morning.

The sto­ry con­cerns one Ignatius “Ig” Per­rish, who wakes up one morn­ing after an ill-remem­bered night of drink­ing to dis­cov­er that he has grown horns overnight.  They look a bit like dev­il horns, and they hurt to touch.  He dis­cov­ers the horns seem to have giv­en him cer­tain pow­ers, too:  peo­ple can’t help but reveal their dark­est secrets to him, and they don’t seem to remem­ber talk­ing to him.

Ig’s girl­friend Mer­rin died about a year ago, a hor­rif­ic sex-mur­der; all the evi­dence seemed to point to Ig as the cul­prit, but he knows he did­n’t do it.  The evi­dence con­ve­nient­ly van­ished, and no one was ever con­vict­ed.  The towns­folk all assumed Ig’s rich par­ents bought off the jus­tice sys­tem to pro­tect the fam­i­ly name.

Now Ig has the pow­er to learn the truth at last.  Who real­ly killed Mer­rin?  Can he defeat the one man that seems immune to the horns’ pow­er?  And will the horns cost him his soul… or is that already lost?

Joe Hill comes through with this sto­ry.  The tale of Ig and Mer­rin is intri­cate­ly plot­ted, deli­cious­ly devi­ous, nasty, trag­ic, and force­ful.  When it comes to an end, you’ll want more.  (At least, I did.)

This was the first piece of fic­tion I read by Joe Hill.  I’ll be keep­ing an eye out for more of his work.