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Heart Shaped Box: Stunning Debut

Reviewing: William Morrow Fiction: Joe Hill  |  Rating:
Candida Eittreim By Candida Eittreim on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 13 | Fiction & Creative Expertise:

I picked up Heart Shaped Box, not really hoping for much, just some distraction from summers heat.What I found was a wonderfully complex and tautly suspenseful thriller, written by none other than the son of Stephen King.

Jude Coyne, a middle aged heavy metal rock star, is enjoying all the perks that come from fame: a beautiful home, sexy Goth chicks in such numbers, he names each one for the state they come from and more money than he'll spend in a lifetime. But Jude is a man on a mission. To overcome his beginnings and wipe the memory of his abusive father from his life. What he learns from what happens to him, during what proves to be the fight of his life, is that he's just like dear old Dad.

When his assistant Danny tells him there's a ghost up for sale on an auction site, Jude has Danny make the bid. As part of his stage persona, Jude collects the arcane and profane. A snuff film, nazi swaztikas and Satanic bibles sent to him by adoring fans. He's had it all, done it all, but nothing prepares him for the shocks awaiting him inside the heart shaped box. For this seemingly innocuous buy leads Jude down the night roads that have always waited for him.

The road is littered with corpses, terror and sadness, as Jude and Georgia, his current lady, match wits with a grim ghost with secrets of his own. If you've been hungering for a good old fashioned seat of your pants scare, then pick up Heart Shaped Box. The action starts very quickly and never let's go until the bittersweet end. Ultimately Jude must face the demons that colored all his adult life, before he can conquer the vengeful specter who is bent on destroying Jude and all he loves.

This is the best writing I've seen, since the master himself made his debut so many years ago. It's vintage King at his best. Don't miss it. Like me, you'll be wanting more from Joe Hill.