Sunday, October 4, 2009

Heart-Shaped Box--Joe Hill

Genre: Horror
Year Published: 2007
Pages: 354
Rating: 4/5

Jude had a private collection.

I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time now, so the night I signed up for this year's R.I.P. Reading Challenge I pulled it off the shelf. Less than two days later, I have finished it. This book was hard to put down. The story flowed well and was captivating, suspenseful and just creepy enough to keep me 100% invested in its pages.

This is a rock-and-roll horror story. Jude is a former metal/goth band frontman with a collection of occult objects and nubile goth 20-somethings. When he sees a ghost for sale on an internet auction site he doesn't think twice before acquiring it. Unfortunately, he has unwittingly walked into a trap--the ghost is his former lover's step-father, bent on revenge after his stepdaughter's suicide. From this point forward, Jude and his newest goth girl, Georgia, have to avoid the ghost long enough to stay alive, piece together the truth of why he is there, and figure out how to send him back from whence he came. There's a lotta good stuff here. The characters are believeable and lovable. The plot flows quickly and suspensefully. The rock and roll references are multiple and fun for a rocker girl like me. I was engaged almost instantly and found it hard to stop reading.

I did have some issues with the novel. Georgia's character in the beginning seems completely different than who she was in the end, and the change doesn't mesh well in my mind. Parts of the story stretch believability beyond what I would prefer, and some detail seems unnecessary. And in some ways it almost flows too quickly from beginning to end. But these are small complaints, and I really enjoyed and would recommend this book.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I constantly compared Hill's writing to that of his famous father, Stephen King. It is somewhat uncanny how much this resembles a King novel, but without the extreme detail and plot-weavings that King manages. Hill obviously inherited a love of music from his father (I loved that the book sections were named after rock songs: Black Dog, Hurt, etc.) as well. The frankness in the characters is as reminiscent of King as the subject matter. But famous father or not, Hill has proven himself to me as an author in his own right, and I look forward to reading more of his work.

Date Read: 9/30/09
Book a week # 43
Challenges: RIP IV

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