Author: Joe Hill
Published: April 30th 2013 by William Morrow
NOS4A2 is a vanity plate on a vintage Rolls Royce Wraith owned by Charles Talent Manx.
The title implies vampires but there aren't any. I was glad for that. Charles Manx is a serial kidnapper who takes children away from their families to his personal inscape called Christmas Land. While Christmas Land exists in his mind, it is also very real for those who are stuffed into his car and make the journey. Manx's reasoning is that he is taking children out of horrible circumstances and giving them a life of fun, innocence and happiness. These are delusions though, Christmas Land is anything but fun.
Victoria McQueen escaped Manx when she was a girl and has her own way of escaping this world through a bridge called The Shorter Way. As a kid she used her bike to travel to her imagination created bridge to find lost items--a bracelet of her mothers, for example. Each time she used the bridge she would come down with a fever and a pain behind her eye. These inscapes take a little bit out of the user each time they use them. For Charles Manx, it's taken most of him but keeps him alive just enough to continue on with his horrible work. As Vic aged, she dealt with alcoholism and delusions that children from Christmas Land were calling her telephone. She spent time in an institution and was never there for her son Wayne and sorta-but-not-really husband Lou.
Manx dies an old man after spending years and years in a coma after being arrested. But, soon after his partial autopsy, his body is missing from the morgue. Aiding in the kidnapping is a Christmas Land visitor hopeful, Bing Partridge. He's middle aged and a total weirdo. His job is to essentially get rid of the children's parents in order to aid Manx's kidnappings. Bing's house is dubbed House Of Sleep and he tortures, rapes and kills many parents. His weapon of choice is gingerbread scented sevoflurane in which he administers while wearing a gasmask.
Manx never let go his grudge on Vic getting him arrested and he decides to kidnap Wayne to get back at her. As an adult, Vic needs to find her Shorter Way Bridge to save her son. Her bike is gone but an old Triumph motorcycle is found in her recently deceased mother's cabin.
This novel is suspenseful and scary and isn't resolved until the very last few pages. I highly recommend it if you're a Stephen King fan; Joe Hill definitely inherited a gene from his father that gave him the ability to tell a great horror story.