This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
Joe Hill’s Horns, his second novel, is based on a concept which he had apparently been working on for some time – the tale of a man given the magical power to see through people’s socially acceptable exteriors to perceive their darkest secrets within. Early, abortive attempts at this concept were made with various concepts for how this power would work and what sort of aesthetic it would have, but Horns finds a suitably powerful vehicle for this premise – that being Satan himself.
Our hero, Ignatius “Iggy” Perrish, is the privileged son of a famed jazz musician, who can’t ask for anything more in life. His elder brother is a national celebrity who hosts a primetime talk show, his best friend is a trusted aide to a Republican congressman, and the love of his life, Merrin Williams, was brutally murdered under circumstances which left enough circumstantial evidence to make Ig look guilty as hell, but not enough to pin charges on anyone.