Sunday, April 22, 2007

Heart-Shaped Box

Some readers are going to expect a whole lot from Joe Hill's debut novel Heart-Shaped Box because Hill is the son of Stephen and Tabitha King. Hill will not disappoint the majority. A new 2007 release, Heart-Shaped Box runs 374 pages but is an easy afternoon read. In the book middle aged rocker Judas Coyne buys a ghost advertised in an online auction. The ghost will arrive in the dead man's suit. After the suit arrives, Coyne discovers he was set up. The ghost "auction" was in reality only offered to Coyne and he now has living in his house a malignant spirit, the stepfather of one of his former groupies, who is out to kill him. Ostensibly the ghost is out for revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide, but Hill slowly reveals that there is more to the story.

After about the first 100 pages I wasn't sure if I wanted to finish this book or not. I'm not a huge fan of strictly graphic horror stories and it sure appeared it was headed in that direction. Then the tale took a twist and I kept reading. I'm not disappointed that I finished the book. In the end, Hill had some clever plot twists, tied up all the loss ends nicely, and there was a satisfying conclusion. I will admit, however, that I quickly skimmed through a couple of the more graphic scenes.

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