Published June 27. 2013 4:00AM
Is talent biological? You could strongly make the case when you read Hill's third dark fantasy. While certainly his own work, the style, plotting and pace, sly wit, wonderful pop culture observations - and empathetic heroes and villains - contain the precise literary DNA we associate with his sainted dad, Stephen King. In the book, grown-up Victoria McQueen still carries horrific psychological scars as the only victim to survive and escape from serial child abductor Charles Manx. The thing is, Manx defies actuarial law by consuming the souls of the kidnapped children by taking them to Christmasland - a sort of fantasy amusement park if Walt Disney was Satan. Now with a son of her own, McQueen is forced to confront her past and the conviction of herself and others that Manx was mortal and dead, and Christmasland is all in her imagination. Trust me: it ain't. Well played, Joe. You do the Old Man proud.
- RICK KOSTER