I’ve been a fan of Stephen King’s work since I was twelve years old so when I came across his son’s new book on a recent trip to Boston, I had to get it. My hope was that Joe would live up to his father’s immense story telling capabilities and I wasn’t disappointed.
The book is pretty hefty at 692 pages but the length is required to tell the story of Victoria McQueen, Charlie Manx and Christmasland. Eleven year old Vic McQueen has an uncanny ability to find things – her mother’s missing bracelet, a lost pet. All she has to do is hop on her bike and ride across a covered bridge that transports her to where she needs to go in an instant; whether that be around the corner or across the country.
Charles Manx likes children. He likes taking them for rides in his distinctive Rolls-Royce Wraith and ensuring that they are never seen again. They live out their days in Christmasland; a magical place that exists in Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day, unhappiness is not allowed and children never grown old.
One day Vic rides across her bridge looking for trouble and stumbles into Manx’s imagined world where Christmas decorations hang on trees outside the Sleigh House (get it?) and children watch her from the backseat of the Rolls. She encounters Manx in person and her life changes forever. Fast forward twenty years and a weary, beaten down Vic finds herself encountering Manx again. This time, he has his eye on her son and what follows is an intense battle between good and evil that takes place in our world and others.
I love the way Joe Hill writes. Much like his father, who has made millions due to his unique ability to scare, Hill’s descriptive abilities have the power to strike terror into the heart of the reader. His character development and interaction is flawless, his writing gritty and insightful. We’re rooting for Vic even though she is damaged and certainly not perfect. If you’re into light reads, chick lit or a beach book this won’t be for you but if you’re looking for a spooky stocking filler this year, I can’t recommend this book enough.