Narrator: Kate Mulgrew
Published by Harper Audio on April 28, 2013
Genres: Adult, Horror, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 19 hrs, 41 min
Source: Audible Purchase
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
Oh my! I don’t think I could’ve chosen a better *horror* book than NOS4A2 for COYER’s Outside Your Box Read-a-thon. I don’t read horror anymore. In fact, I haven’t read any in about 30 years so horro was a no-brainer when thinking of reading outside my box. While JHill didn’t shy away from the violence that defines this genre, at least in my mind, the story took precedence and it was a creative, creepy, and thought-provoking tale.
I’m not going to say much about the book because if you haven’t read this, you should go in blind like I did. NOS4A2 revolved around engaging characters – even the creepy ones – as well as a story that kept me fascinated. The imaginative ways JHill told Charlie Manx’s history and intertwined it with Victoria’s was riveting. I admit to initially selecting NOS4A2 because the title invoked thoughts of vampires. And NOS4A2 did indeed include vampires. However, the vampires found within this narrative were unlike any I’ve previously met. But vampires they were. I was so invested in these characters I knew I’d be devastated should they meet their end and yet this is a horror novel, so… I will say the ending left me feeling alright.
As I listened to this, quotes aren’t easy for me to pull out of my memory. However, one thing that was said that stuck with me was something to the effect, “the difference between childhood and adulthood is the difference between imagination and resignation.” I kept thinking of this quote as Vic’s and Charlie’s stories converged, especially with how they did. Then, at the end of the book, JHill narrated an afterword of sorts and he said that NOS4A2 was essentially a story about the loss of childhood innocence. And that quote as well as JHill’s words have been marinading in my brain. Thought-provoking indeed.
Kate Mulgrew was the perfect pick for the narration. She embodied every one of the characters as well as evoking every emotion with her accents and pacing. She could make me smile while alternately making the hair on the back of my neck rise. I’ll always hear her gravelly voiced version of Charlie when I think of this book.