Victoria McQueen is a very special girl. On her blue Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she can travel anywhere she likes and retrieve anything lost by simply crossing a rickety, bat-filled covered bridge that magically appears whenever she needs it. But every journey takes its toll.
Charlie Manx is a very evil man. Ageless, creepy, and just a little bit charming, in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith––with the vanity license plate NOS4A2––he takes kidnapped children for rides from which they never return. Slipping out of the everyday world, Manx’s destination for these children is a place he calls “Christmasland,” an astonishing playground of amusements (think Candy Land on acid) where every morning is Christmas morning and you never grow up and you never die. But you are transformed into something absolutely terrifying. Once again, every journey takes its toll.
One day Victoria goes on one of her journeys looking for trouble . . . and finds it. Charlie Manx. But young Vic (as she is called) is the only child ever to escape his grasp.
But that was a lifetime ago. And now the only kid to ever escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget the time she spent with him. But the end of one nightmare is just the beginning of another because Charlie Manx (although believed to have died in a maximum security prison) hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen, and he hasn’t stopped abducting children and taking them to “Christmasland” in is 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son Wayne.
In a life-and-death battle of wills––her magic pitted against his––Vic McQueen is going to get her son back and destroy Manx once and for all. Or she’ll die trying.
NOS4A2 cements Joe Hill as one of the masters, regardless of genre. After reading this book you’ll find yourself flinching at shadows, constantly checking your rearview mirror, and possibly never looking at a child quite the same way again. Brilliant, suspenseful, disturbing, and terrifying in equal measure.
Joe Hill is the author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns, and the prize-winning story collection 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the Eisner award-winning writer of an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key. Follow him on Twitter: @joe_hill