Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cannonball Read Book #2: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box came to my attention through a comment diversion at Pajiba. It was something about the scariest books that Pajibans had read and this book was mentioned more than once. Although the book didn't scare me, it was definitely a hell of a read and highly enjoyable.

 Judas Coyne is a middle-aged, semi-retired rock star who collects macabre items and young girlfriends that he refers to by their home state. One day, Judas' assistant, Danny, is e-mailed an auction for the ghost of a dead man and his suit.  Judas cannot explain why, but he has to have the suit. He orders Danny to use the buy now option, paying $1,000 for the supposed ghost and his clothes. Judas forgets about his purchase until the day that it is delivered and his current girlfriend, Georgia, pulls the suit from its heart-shaped box. Judas begins seeing the ghost in his house that very night.

I found this book difficult to leave behind. I wanted to move through it without stopping, but found that I had to sleep at some point. Hill is a talented writer and was able to keep me guessing about the interpretations of the revelations in the book. Some thriller/horror novels all but smack you across the face with the way everything is going to play out. Hill gives you pieces and then lets realizations dawn on you as they also become clear to Judas. I hope that Hill will soon give us another novel as well-crafted as this one.


  1. I was unfamiliar with this one but the review has convinced me to add it to the list.
    Thanks, Pinky.

  2. Hill gives you pieces and then lets realizations dawn on you as they also become clear to Judas.

    you see that sentence. that's all you have to say. i like when that happens. i don't like waiting for characters to catch up to the obvious. that sentence is what people like me wanted to see.

    good review, your ladybitsness.

  3. I have this sitting on my pile of books to read. I wanted to read it before, but now I *really* want to! I need to stop watching reruns of "Bones" and read this instead!

  4. I'm worried that this book will scare me since I'm overly sensitive to being frightened. But from your review, I'm intrigued. I'll add it to my pile but I'm clearing space in the freezer...

  5. I was really impressed by Heart Shaped Box. I didn't expect that much could be done with a traditional ghost story. I finally picked it up after enough people had reccomended it and was suprised how fast I got sucked in.

    Also (in case you weren't aware), Hill purposefully doesn't advertise his famous horror writer lineage because he wanted to succeed on his own merits but he is none other than the son of Mr. Steven King.

  6. I loved this book! It made a huge impact on me. I found it almost as traumatizing as the scariest book I have ever read (Ghost Story by Peter Straub a truly truly disturbing piece of literature). I loved the subtle way the story unfolded which Pinky's description has nailed. I have been meaning to pick up Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts which is a collection of short stories, and will be buying his new novel, Horns, as soon as it comes out in February of 2010.