The story follows the life of Victoria McQueen, who at the age of eight inadvertently discovers that, wanting to find something sufficiently enough and furiously riding her Raleigh Tuff burner, gives her access to the covered Shorter Way bridge. The bridge exits where the lost or the thing she desires most can be found but using the bridge has its drawbacks, primarily the cost of her sanity. Vic is a super-creative and using an object of great personnel meaning, she can cut the threads of reality, seemingly normal items take on supernatural significance as disturbing things suddenly become achievable.
NOS4R2 as the book cover shows is the number plate to a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith, owned by the antagonist Charles Talent Manx III, the Wraith is an extension of Manx himself, being in the car turns back time for his body, fixes his injuries but the cost for the next best thing to immortality is his very soul.
The Wraith can take Charlie Manx and his passengers to Christmasland, a place built entirely from his imagination, a place where every day is Christmas day and every night Christmas eve.
Manx in his mind rescues children with no future, children with bad parents, his deluded sidekick murders the adults and Manx saves the children and takes them to Christmasland, a place where they'll never grow old and a place they'll never escape.
While Charlie Manx is the definitive villain of the story, he is certainly not defined by the evil deeds he commits, he is charming yet completely delusional, he believes he is taking children to a better life and amongst the children he has saved are his own. A wonderfully layered character, both sinister and macabre, yet he acts the saviour with a car that is much more of an accomplice than his murderous sidekick the gasmask man.
Victoria McQueen is destined to meet Charles Manx and at the end to see Christmasland but I won't give any more anyway, suffice to say this is highly recommended and you really need to read this.
The ending is fantastic, there is nothing more spine-chilling than a seemingly innocent child with murderous thoughts of violence, a little sad but the overall theme of saving but at the same time corrupting a childhood innocence driven by two characters as flawed and contradictory as you can get is masterfully written. The pacing is absolutely perfect, one of those books that every word must be read for fear of missing something and a foreboding atmosphere that strings you along wonderfully.