The Heart-Shaped Box is a supernatural debut horror novel by Joe Hill, pseudonym for Joseph Hillstrom King, son of Stephen King. It tells the story of an aging death metal musician, Jude, with a taste for the macabre. When the he receives an opportunity to purchase a haunted suit, complete with ghost, he leaps at the chance. Jude soon discovers the ghost is quite real and he has a score to settle. As with most horror novels, this too is a story of redemption. Jude never doubts that he can rid himself of the ghost, if he can only stay alive long enough to figure out how.
Hill writes a fast paced, action based novel. It is a very visual book, almost cinematic in scope. At times I find that takes away from the creepiness of the story but it is a fine line in presenting the reader with an image detailed enough to be scary but that still allows for personal fears to sneak in and up the heebie jeebie factor. For the most part Hill doesn’t cross that line too often. The back story in neatly woven into the narrative ably aiding the reader in his sympathy for the characters. However like his father, Hill is flummoxed by endings. What begins as a strong story, complicated story is quickly and too neatly tied up. Quite frankly as the reader, one wonders if the ending was stolen from a toddlers fairy tale.
However I enjoyed it and I only got up to lock the door once. Apparently in my head, ghosts can’t operate locks.