Synopsis: Ig Perrish really isn't a bad guy. He is the guy who always tries to do the right thing, to help others less fortunate, and be a good friend. But when his childhood sweetheart is murdered, and he is demonized by his community for being the one to have killed her, his life slips into the abyss.
A couple of years into this mess, after a night of drinking, Ig wakes up with horns growing from his head. Suddenly, he has the power to extract deeply buried confessions from anyone he comes in contact with. Ig is horrified at what he hears...his family despises him, his friends want to kill him for what they think he did to his girlfriend, and random people admit to the most awful, embarrassing things. Initially, this is a curse. But then Ig decides to use his gift to try to determine what exactly happened on the night his girlfriend died.
My thoughts: Whereas "Heart-Shaped Box" pretty much terrified the reader, this book took us down a different path. Sure there is plenty of heartbreak and devastation and scenes that made me close my eyes and cringe, but there is also humor and irony and social commentary built into the package. I wasn't quite sure how to take it all, and I'm not confident in how to DESCRIBE it, but I knew I liked it.
Hill still has kept a couple of important things consistent from this first book - his edge and his insanely real characters. His prose is rapid-fire, at times crude as hell (alot of eye-bulging from me), and in your face. And he is completely unapologetic about it all. Take that, and that, and that, he says. I felt I had been yanked around alot, because I was sitting there feeling sympathy, then I was enraged, then I was confused, then I wanted to cry, then I was laughing. You know those Scrambler rides at the carnival? I think I had messed up hair by the end, and some whiplash.
The characters were just as real and fully realized as you or me. Hill HAS to have based these people on someone he knows. They walk right off the page (or in my case, the disc) into your life. In some cases, you don't want them in your life because they are pure evil. I've seen evil guys on paper, but one particular guy in this story was off the chart, and he turned my stomach every time he showed up. You will not finish this book with any emotion resembling apathy.
For those of you who like everything explained and neatly wrapped up in the end, you won't find it here. I still don't really know what happened totally, although I have my theories. I'm not sure I am comfortable with the ending. But I will overlook all of that because Hill has moxie. He does what he wants, he doesn't pander to common opinion or a formula. I love that about an author. He also gets credit for creativity (Horns? Really?). Must be all that Kiss music he listens to while he is writing.
A few words about the audio production: Fred Berman was the narrator for this production, and again this is a new voice for me. Which I find amazing. I listen to audios year-round, and 9 times out of 10 I'm listening to someone I've never heard before. I liked Berman's work in this book, and it appears he has quite an impressive resume. I'd enthusiastically listen to his other work (which includes Skippy Dies).
4.5 out of 5 stars