|Nomadic SA Chick||
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre -- his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman's noose, Aleister Crowley's childhood chessboard, etc. -- so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.
The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker's sanity.
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This was my first encounter with Joe Hill, and I am smitten. He is a great author and weaves together a great story. This book quickly grabbed my attention as it becomes a pretty fast paced story pretty quickly. The one down side I have found with a lot of recent "horror/suspense" stories is that they will spend half the book building up to the climax, and then the pivotal moments of the story are spent in 10-20 pages. That is not the case with Heart-Shaped Box. This story is off and running in the first 20 pages, and keeps on running for 300 more. It wasn't completely predictable, which was refreshing.
I give this a 4 out of 5.
Not relevant to this review or book at all, but I wanted to mention the Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. King is the reason I had avoided Hill for as long as I have. I was afraid that he was just going to try and recreate his fathers stories, or try to take his place. I am sorry for how wrong (and ignorant) I was about that. Hill holds his own, and is an excellent author. I have three more of his books on my reading challenge list (NOS4A2, Horns, and The Wraith). I am pleased to have found a new author that I'm sure will become one of my favorites!