Monday, March 14, 2011

You Should Read Joe Hill

I drop everything in my reading queue for very few writers, but Joe Hill is one of them.  
More than a writer, Joe Hill is a magician.  It’s not just his stories, joyful treats I can't praise enough, it’s the way his stories are so many things at once.  
He writes with suspense which will keep you up until 2:00am with every light in the house on, yet his stories have a complexity most page-turners only wish they had.  Hill looks in the world’s funky, shadowy corners.  What he sees there and presents to his readers is more thought-provoking than any writing so entertaining should be.  

As Ilana Teitelbaum wrote for the Huffington Post, Hill is “a horror writer for intellectuals.”
Locke & Key, his graphic novel series with illustrator Gabriel Rodriguez, is on more “best of” and “top ten” lists from comic book insiders than I care to name.  A playful family drama, a dark vision that’s genuinely unsettling, an inventive, imaginative fantasy, Locke & Key is all of these things.  Reading the series is like entering a lucid dream. 
If 20th Century Ghosts is your introduction to his work, you will become an instant Joe Hill fanatic.  I can't even tell you how good this collection is, it's that fucking good.  
In the New York Times, Janet Maslin called Heart-Shaped Box “a valentine from hell.”  Really,  critics and readers swooned over it so much that it made a sophomore slump for his second novel almost inevitable.  
Remember when I called Hill a magician?  Horns doesn’t just avoid the sophomore slump, it’s written with the winking confidence of a much older writer.  He knows he’ll make you laugh wether you want to or not, deflate your cynicism to put a scare in you, and make you wonder how in the hell what's essentially a souped-up revenge story leaves you questioning the nature of good and evil. 
Tomorrow night he's coming to Books & Books.  I'll be doing his introduction.  After the reading, we'll hang out and then become BFFs.  There are hundreds of reasons why, but here are the top seven:

Top Seven Reasons Joe Hill and I Will Become Life-Long Friends:
1)   "What I wouldn't give to have a tablespoon of David Mitchell's talent." - joe_hill Twitter update 3/14/2011 4:51(ish)

2)   We're the same age.

4)   We're both from the Northeast.

5)   In Joe Hill's "Best of Everything 2009," he names two of my favorites - AM Home's This Book Will Save Your Life and David Benioff's City of Thieves.  

6)   We both wear glasses.

7)   Joe Hill posts recipes on his blog to fight the urge to publish a cookbook.  I've been known to cook.

I could go on but I've got an intro to write.

Stop on by and buy a book, why don't you?


  1. Nice job on the introduction tonight.

  2. Well, thanks! It was basically a re-hash of this post, plus his numerous awards.

    A great event. I'm always gratified when an author whose work I enjoy turns out to be a nice person.