Charlie Manx burned a man to death in his black 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith, but that’s not the worst of it. Rumor has it that he kidnapped dozens of children, taking them to a place he calls “Christmasland.” The only child ever to escape was a very lucky girl named Victoria McQueen.
Vic has a gift – she can ride her bike through the Shorter Way bridge and she’ll come out the other side wherever she needs to be, even if it’s hundreds of miles away. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her ability; no one would understand.
When Charlie Manx finally dies after years in prison, his body disappears...after the autopsy. The police and media think someone stole it, but Vic knows the truth: Charlie Manx is on the road again...and he has her kid. And this time, Vic McQueen’s going after him...
This book’s premise is fabulous. It’s something I would have picked up even if I hadn’t been lucky enough to receive an ARC. I’ve never read anything by Joe Hill before, so I was very curious to see what his writing would be like, considering who his father is (Stephen King).
The story is definitely unique, so that’s definitely something for which to applaud him. The one thing about the horror genre, as much as I love it, is that it can get a bit repetitive. But this story was brand new. It is fast-paced, though I think it could have done with a teensy bit of editing here and there. His writing is not as crisp as I would have liked it, but there are some wonderful images in the last few chapters, especially in the ones that take place in Christmasland. Some, however, were overdone. There were some moments where you can see the writer thinking “how do I freak them out even more?” and that’s never effective. There are some overdone scenes, where the real tension is lost behind a bunch of “scary” images.
I did enjoy it, though. It didn’t quite make my skin crawl, but it got close. Mr. Hill obviously has a pretty good ear as to what makes people look under their beds.