After the brilliant promise of his debut collection 20th Century Ghosts and his competently fun first novel HEART-SHAPED BOX, Joe Hill started off the first sixty pages of his sophmore novel HORNS with an intensity of wit, cleverness and originality that he was unable to sustain for the duration as the story headed south for dark, soul-wrenching places; beautiful but full of despair and sorrow, more an exploration of human agony and loss than the premise of the book initially promised.

No more of the bait and switch this time around - NOS4A2 is consistently entertaining, flowing and beautifully written from beginning to end, full of heart but not drowning in pathos, defying reader expectations over and over, delighting, never disappointing. Equal parts fantasy and horror, Joe Hill has created a masterpiece of modern literary entertainment with such perfect pacing, characters and resolution that it will be tough for him (or any writer) to equal...but I'm eager to see him try.