N0S 4R2 by Joe Hill
“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.”
This was the first book I read of Joe Hill’s; In fact, I hadn’t even heard of him before this book. While I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking that it reminded me so much of Stephen King, during his “IT” days. Hardly surprisingly since I am probably the last person on earth to know that Hill is King’s son.
Vic McQueen is both blessed and cursed with her ability to travel (via bicycle and covered bridge, of all things) to another dimension. The other side of the portal isn’t all that different from ours in looks; it is what lives there that is terrifying.
Charles Manx can also flit back and forth and Vic caught his attention. Manx is a very sinister figure who kidnaps children to take back to his “Christmas-land” where they are never heard from again. I found the use of “Christmas-land” so unsettling because it something special in a child’s life and for it to be used as a lure, just gives me goose-bumps.
I don’t know what Manx is: whether he is a serial killer, kidnapper or vampire who feeds off life-force rather than blood; but I do know if I ever see a Rolls Royce Wraith coming-I’m running the other way.
Coming in at 704 pages, it is a big read and at some points it did kind of drift. Over all, I thought it was a deliciously creepy book that was a very quick read. I will be reading more of Joe Hill in the future.