Last night I finished my first novel in more than a month, Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box. It tells the story of aging rock star Judas Coyne, who is sold the suit (and with it the ghost) of a dead hypnotist. The ghost is out for revenge against Coyne, whom it blames for the death of its former step-daughter. The ghost pursues Coyne and his girlfriend across the country, using hypnosis to encourage Coyne to murder the girl and then kill himself. I won’t spoil the ending, but Coyne doesn’t exactly go along with the ghost’s plans.
Heart-Shaped Box is your typical modern horror story, requiring a suspension of reason in order to accept the plot. It has several genuinely creepy parts and keeps you on your toes throughout. It is also filled with wit and humor. Hill does an excellent job of keeping the main characters human, which keeps the book from devolving into a catalog of blood and gore.
On a side note, Hill is Stephen King’s son. He certainly seems to have inherited his father’s talent for writing, but has carved out a style all his own. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, creepy thriller.
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