Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Freebie: Mega Scary-Good Joe Hill Gift Pack (N0S4A2, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, 20th Century Ghosts)

Congratulations to Jeffrey Tretin, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick.

This week's book giveaway is a special multi-book prize package.  I'm thrilled to offer blog readers four books by Joe Hill: NOS4A2, HornsHeart-Shaped Box, and 20th Century Ghosts.  In other words, the entire* Joe Hill Library Collection.  One lucky reader will win all four books (N0S4A and Horns are hardbacks, Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts are paperbacks).  Author Michael Kortya has called Hill "quite simply the best horror writer of our generation," and I'm not about to disagree.  If you want sleepless nights and restless days, crack open one of his novels or enter one of his short stories just before going beddy-bye and just see how far you get into Slumberland.  I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but N0S4A2 is at the summit of my always-growing To-Be-Read pile (aka Mt. NeveRest), along with two other 2013 books by members of the King clan**.  Read on for more information about the books you can win in this week's Friday Freebie contest:

N0S4A2: 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. Blurbworthiness: “Words of warning for those who pick up this hefty, 704-page saga: You’ll never listen to Christmas carols the same way. Or sleep with the lights off.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Horns: Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache....and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real. Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside....Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge....It's time the devil had his due. Blurbworthiness: “Horns is a pitchfork-packing, prodigal son’s take on religion...But the real meat of the story dissects man’s relationship with good and evil without sacrificing a bit of suspense...Horns is a mesmerizing page-turner.” (Tulsa World)

Heart-Shaped Box: “Buy my stepfather's ghost” read the e-mail. So Jude did. He bought it, in the shape of the dead man's suit, delivered in a heart-shaped box, because he wanted it: because his fans ate up that kind of story. It was perfect for his collection: the genuine skulls and the bones, the real honest-to-God snuff movie, the occult books and all the rest of the paraphernalia that goes along with his kind of hard/goth rock. But the rest of his collection doesn't make the house feel cold. The bones don't make the dogs bark; the movie doesn't make Jude feel as if he's being watched. And none of the artifacts bring a vengeful old ghost with black scribbles over his eyes out of the shadows to chase Jude out of his home, and make him run for his life. Blurbworthiness: “The set-up for Joe Hill's novel, Heart-Shaped Box, is appealingly simple. Jude Coyne, an aging rock star, buys himself a dead man's suit. He acquires it online, lured by the promise that the dead man's ghost will be included in his purchase. Jude thinks this is a joke, of course. He also assumes the seller is a stranger. We soon discover that he's wrong on both counts, however, and from this point on the story moves with an exhilarating urgency. Jude wants the ghost gone; the ghost wants Jude dead. We watch, chapter-by-chapter, as they battle for survival. 'Watch' is the appropriate word, too, because this is an extremely visual book. Hill's prose is lean and precise, and he renders Jude's world with impressive confidence. It feels solid, every detail both correct and fresh. And this physicality provides a firm platform for the book's otherworldly happenings, which seem all the more frightening for being so securely grounded.” (Scott Smith, author of The Ruins)

20th Century Ghosts: Here are just a few of the characters you'll meet in this superb collection of short stories: Imogene is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She's also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945....Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn't easy to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town.... Francis is unhappy. Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he's an eight-foot-tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing.... John Finney is locked in a basement that's stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead....Blurbworthiness: “This solid, inventive, scary collection of stories reveals a writer who has thought hard about the problematics of horror.” (New York Times)

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of N0S4A2, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and 20th Century Ghosts, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on May 30, at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on May 31. If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

*Minus the graphic-novel series Locke and Key (which I didn't have the foresight to order in time for this contest).
**Double Feature by brother Owen King and Joyland by father Stephen King.

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