Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Synopsis (Inside cover):

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals . . . a used hangman's noose . . . a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder. . . .

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts—of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more?

But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door . . . seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang . . . standing outside his window . . . staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting—with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand. . .


I heard about "Heat-Shaped Box" when it first came out and really wanted to read it. But when I went to the library or the box store I could never remember either the name of the book or the author. So, while browsing the library for something to read I am happy that I saw this book and remembered that I been wanting to read it for a long time.

I was not disappointed. "Heart-Shaped Box" was an very entertaining story. It was not bloody, or as violent filled as it could have been. And for that I am happy. It is not that scary either, I had no problem going to sleep after I put it down at night. But it is an entertaining, thrilling story about a ghost out for revenge.

I didn't really care for the characters in the book all that much. But I think that has more to do with the type of story it is rather than the authors ability. I don't fill as connected to characters in ghost (or horror) stories as much as I do with more real life fiction.

I liked Hill's writing style, the way that he was able to transition from the third person narrator to the character's (Judas) thoughts. I also like how Hill closed the story. There were no loose ends. It wrapped it all up and there was no guessing about what happened to all the various characters at the end.

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