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Heart-Shaped Box    by Joe Hill Amazon.com order for
Heart-Shaped Box
by Joe Hill
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

One thing I admire greatly about Joe Hill King, son of famed author Stephen King, is that he didn't get a leg up from his father, but rather earned his success through his own writing. Having won a Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection with 20th Century Ghosts, he returns with Heart-Shaped Box.

Our main character, Judas Coyne, is a famous guitarist from a band that was once up there with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. But since the sudden deaths of two band members, the guitarist is a successful solo artist whose eccentricities range into the banal. His favorite is to collect the most unusual items and trinkets the weirder the better! So when Jude sees a ghost for sale on an auction site, he chooses the buy it now option. The single mother seller is very happy to get rid of the ghost of her grandfather, and Jude now has his very own haunt.

The package arrives in a large black heart-shaped box, inside of which he finds an ancient but impeccable suit. Judas closes the box and soon forgets about it. Then the haunting begins. There are strange noises and soon the ghost is seen, walking around. Things take a turn for the worse, when the ghost comes after Judas and his friends. Sadly, when it is revealed where this ghost has come from - and its weak connection to Jude - the story goes downhill.

Nevertheless there is a darkness and depth to this novel that reveals a talented writer with a strong future ahead of him. Like Carrie, this is not the strongest debut, but with the talent in Hill's genes, we can expect many more great and terrifying tales from him.

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