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CBR7 #1: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Cannonball Read #7 has BEGUN!

My first book is Joe Hill's NOS4A2, which was received as a gift in the CBR Book Exchange this year. I was extremely excited, because I've been hearing really good things about this book, and I really enjoyed Hill's Heart Shaped Box.

The main character in the story is Victoria McQueen, called Vic by some, and The Brat to her father. She discovers one day that she has the ability to slip through space to find things, driven to wherever she wants to go by crossing over an old wooden bridge. Usually, she uses it to find items people have lost, but one day when she's a teenager, she uses it to go looking for trouble. As it always has, the bridge takes her to exactly what she asked for. What she finds on the other side is another person who also has a way to slip in and out of the world, but his activities are not as benign as Vic's. Although she manages to escape from Charlie Manx when she's seventeen, the rest of her life will turn on what happened that day.

Thus begins a tale that spans more than a decade and criss-crosses the country. I was very caught up in Vic's life, and really liked and identified with the character. She had a tough but vulnerable voice, and I was anxious to find out what would happen to her. I also liked the supporting cast quite a bit--her boyfriend Lou was a wonderful, gentle giant of a character, about whom I was constantly worried. Her son Wayne was also interesting in a quiet, self-contained sort of way. Maggie Leigh was wonderful, and I was sorry she didn't get more time.The villain and his henchman were both deeply creepy, though I would have liked just a bit more back-story about Manx.

The plot moved along pretty quickly, and at no point did I find the book dragging. It was quite a page-turner, and I was happy to be along for the ride.

Hill is obviously deeply influenced by his father's work (his father being Stephen King), but he has his own unique voice, and has managed to take a lot of the things I love about King (his relatable characters, clever use of language, creative ideas) and put his own spin on them. He has also managed to come up with a solid ending, for which I was grateful.

On the whole, I liked this a lot, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys creepy stories.

A note: read to the end. Don't forget the note on the typeface...I know they're usually boring, but this one isn't.

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