In Horns, Joe Hill has crafted a tragically hilarious parable of good and evil, love and obsession, and innocence lost.
Ig Perrish is the town pariah. The only suspect in the rape and murder of his one true love, his once-promising life has spiraled into a pitiful, loveless existence. After spending the night doing “terrible things” on the anniversary of his girlfriend’s death, Ig wakes up to find that he has a set of horns protruding from his head. Not only that, but the horns seem to exert an influence upon the people that gaze upon them. They tell him their innermost, darkest desires, asking for permission to act upon them. As his transformation becomes more and more demonic, he discovers the horrible truth about his girlfriend’s murder and about the evil that lives in the hearts of those that are part of his life.
Hill weaves a fascinating exploration of the nature of evil into a pretty straightforward revenge tale. Ig is the innocent that has lost it all, coming to the realization that if being an angel has gotten him this far, maybe being the devil will be more satisfactory. The most entertaining portions of the novel come from his embracing “the devil inside” and using his forbidden knowledge to instigate mayhem. The most disturbing portions come from the portrayal of the book’s central antagonist, Lee Tourneau. Here we have a truly depraved–and disturbingly real–sociopath that you love to hate. It is difficult to tell which character, Lee or Ig, is the more monstrous.
Hill’s writing is lean, mean, and full of emotion. He manages to crawl under your skin while also tugging at your heartstrings. This book is a wild ride, rolling along at breakneck speed to unexpected destinations. Embrace this dance with the devil at your earliest opportunity.