Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Ghost Story for Halloween

My twenty-third book of the year was "Heart-Shaped Box" by Joe Hill. I had previously read his book of short stories, "20th Century Ghosts", and loved it. I loved it so much that I gave the book to my husband and told him he would love it too. After reading three stories, he gave it back to me and told me he couldn't read it "because it's just too weird." I did not let that deter me from reading another of Mr. Hill's books!

"Heart-Shaped Box" is about an aging rock star, Judas Coyne, who has a penchant for macabre items. He owns all kinds of creepy stuff already when he sees the opportunity to buy a ghost. He buys it, but soon comes to regret the purchase soon after the ghost's suit arrives in that heart-shaped box. The ghost terrorizes Judas and everyone close to him.

I really liked the way the book was laid out. There were several very short chapters which tends to keep me reading for longer stretches. Something I wasn't crazy about was the initial character development. I didn't really like Jude's girlfriend at first and it took me a while to change my mind. For several chapters, I was ready for her to be sacrificed to the ghost. I also felt that Jude's character was pretty predictable for a rock star, but maybe that wasn't so bad. I guess the typical rock star characteristics (greed, lust, extravagance) are what got him to where he was in the story.

I did like the way the book ended. I enjoy having things wrapped up in neat little packages at the end of the story and that definitely happened with this book. Joe Hill gets a big thumbs up from me on that part! Wanna know what happened? You'll have to read it. No spoilers here!

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