Joe Hill is a treat.
After devouring a single one of his novels, you will be hooked. Still considered a relatively new author, his debut collection of short stories '20th Century Ghosts', released in 2005, and took the horror world by storm, claiming eight awards internationally, including the coveted Ray Bradbury Fellowship.
Since then, he has published three novels, ten graphic novels, half a dozen novellas (a couple of which were co-written by his father, you may have heard of him, horror legend Stephen King), and has contributed to two horror collections. Not bad for a guy who has been releasing work for less than a decade.
His first full-length novel, 'Heart-Shaped Box', is one of the strongest debut novels this blogger has ever read. It is as gripping and absorbing as, dare I say it, Stephen King at his best. And that is not a statement said lightly. The protagonist, Jude, is an aging rock star (à la Ozzy Osbourne) with a hobby of collecting the macabre. Enter his latest purchase, a ghost bought on eBay, delivered inside a heart-shaped box. But this purchase is not like his others, and soon Jude finds his life turned upside down, as the ghost seems hell-bent on dragging Jude into the afterlife with him. The image of the ghost, an old man with black scribbles over his eyes, will stay with you long after the book is finished.
Now instead of convincing you to read 'Horns' ourselves, we have decided to let Daniel Radcliffe win you over. The film, due to be released in cinemas in the US this Halloween, is still to be confirmed with a release date in Australia (much to this blogger's intense frustration). It looks phenomenal though (if it's anything like the novel, it's bound to be (book pun intended)), and in Joe Hill's own words:
Radcliffe gives a wrenching, vulnerable, emotionally naked performance that isn’t like anything he’s ever done on screen before. He is such a wonderful Ig Perrish.
And don't forget, the book is always better.
NOS4R2 (released in the US as NOS4A2. Just to keep things nice and confusing) is Hill's latest offering, and his turn to tackle the vampire genre (NOS4R2. Nosferatu. Get it?) Charles Manx is a monster; a monster who is able to kidnap children and hold them in the imaginary prison of Christmasland (trust me, it's not nearly as cheerful as it sounds). Victoria McQueen, the only one to ever escape his grasp, is dragged back into this nightmare world after her son is kidnapped as Manx's latest victim. This novel leads to Hill's latest graphic novel 'Wraith', which is set in Christmasland, Manx's nightmarish playground.
If you're a graphic novel fan, boy are you in for a treat. Hill's 'Locke & Key' series, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, centres around the Keyhouse, a rumbling old mansion built on a portal to a dimension populated by mesmerising demons. A hauntingly dark fantasy, a film trilogy was announced at this year's San Diego Comic-Con by Universal Pictures.
'The Cape', a graphic novel duology, is based on the short story of the same name found in '20th Century Ghosts'. Dressing up as a superhero as a kid, Eric discovers that his cape actually has the power to make him fly. Now, as an adult, Eric is brushing off his old cape and taking to the skies, getting revenge on all those who have wronged him.
Joe Hill is a legend in the making, and definitely one to keep your eye on. With the Horns film adaptation already completed, and the Locke & Key trilogy in pre-production, it's only a matter of time before Hill is a household name. If you're looking for a new book to read, one that will grip you by the throat and refuse to let you go, look no further. Joe Hill will leave you begging for more.