Horns, by Joe Hill and other audio books

Horns by Joe Hill, © 2010.  Harper Audio.

Audio books, great way for a word nerd to multitask.  I listen to them on Ipod when I’m at the gym.  Keeps me from looking at girls I shouldn’t be looking at, or from looking at myself in the wall of mirrors, wondering when and how my body mass dropped from shoulders to pelvis. 

Joe Hill’s Horns was the first audio book I listened to that is staying on my shelf.  Ig Parrish wakes up one morning and has sprouted devil horns.  The horns give Ig the ability to coax dark secrets out of people, which starts out comically, but eventually serves to help Ig discover who killed his girlfriend, a crime Ig was suspected of committing, though never charged with.  In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s death, Ig’s life, understandably, has gone down the toilet.   

Mostly the story is about Ig’s history with his girlfriend’s murderer, a soulless wretch whose evil deeds are depicted in exacting detail (we get it, Joe, he sucks).  But the back story between Ig and his late girlfriend works best, especially when it comes to her big reveal, which played a part in her demise.  Ig’s relationship with his family is less compelling.  His father and brother are musicians, who play horns.  If that was supposed to be poignant, it missed.  

Ig’s supernatural horns tended to lose purpose at the climax between Ig and the murderer, but Hill conjured enough mystical element at the very end to bring them back to relevance.  The  epilogue was satisfying, but really long.  My gym mates probably saw me rolling my eyes and mouthing, “Okay, Joe, wrap it up.”  But I never lost interest.

Hill takes pretty basic plot, writes a good back story and dresses up the plot with the interesting horns device.  Good job, Joe.  Welcome to the shelf.    

Audio books bound for the recycling bin:

The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre ©2001.  Simon & Schuster.

I realize this was made into a movie.  I listened to the abridged audio version, and maybe that was the problem, but I just never cared much for the gardener or his dead wife. 

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce.  Released 2011.

Dynasty with witches.  The witchcraft only lets the ladies bitch slap without having to use their hands, and where’s the fun in that?  Somebody tried to turn this into a TV series.  It lasted like two episodes.  ‘Nuff said. 

Ghost Radio by Leopold Gout © 2008.  Harper Collins Pubishers.

Impenetrable.  Not even a phantom of a coherent story.  I had to check if it was playing in the right order or that I hadn’t accidentally hit “shuffle.”  I hadn’t.  It was that bad. 


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