I have been a fan of the horror genre for many years often focusing on the stereotypical monster stories. When I saw “N0S4A2” was coming available, I picked it up for two reasons, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, and I thought this was a vampire story. Upon reading the back of the book when it arrived, I discovered that Joe Hill had also written Horns and was the co-author of the Locke & Key comic book series.
My surprise continued when I realized “NOS4A2” was not a vampire story in the classic sense, despite the name. Hill has created a story and a villain to rival the nightmares caused by all those other monsters. Within the first few pages, my creep meter was definitely off the charts. Charles Talent Manx III driving a special 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith takes children to “Christmasland.” The man, if you can call him that, feels Victoria McQueen is the one that got away.
Vic, as her friends call her, has her own special ride, a Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, that allows her to find missing things. The story starts out with Vic as a little girl and her meeting and escaping Charlie Manx, then later as a grown woman facing her own demons but protecting her son from the man driving the Wraith with the license plate “N0S4A2.”
Many authors have a hard time writing with the voice of a character of the opposite sex. Hill does a wonderful job bringing Vic to life. He brings out the difficulties she has faced throughout her life and shows how deeply those difficulties shaped her to be the woman and mother in the second half of the book.
This book definitely belongs in the horror category, but if you are expecting the kind of horror that keeps you up at night or jump in the dark, then this isn’t for you. However, if you are looking for a story that will fuel your wildest nightmares, by all means, crack open “N0S4A2.” Perhaps old Charlie Manx will have a seat for you in his Wraith on the way to Christmasland.
“N0S4A2” is an intriguing book and one of those that causes late nights as you turn the page for the next chapter and the next.