This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

I decided to pick this novel up based on its being awarded the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel in 2007 (better late than never, right?).

When I picked this up at the library, it was thick paperback. It reminded me of all the books I read in my teenaged days: thick, small print, paperback novels full of horror: my genre of choice then. I could smell the smell of paperbacks in the small bookstores I would venture into, floating aisle to aisle, looking for a great book to engulf my psyche.

Overall, it was a very entertaining book. I didn't get scared. But I did get into it a bit towards the end.

I don't know if with age, I have grown tired of these types of books, or if they are different than what I read as a teenager. I truly believe it's the former since this book, IMO, would have been well-loved while reading in my younger days.

And although it was enjoyable, it was not believable...even for a scary book. I know, i's a work of fiction, but I need a little more blur with reality and I couldn't get that from it.

Jude Coyne is an aging rock star who has very shallow relationships with people, especially women. Currently, he has a young fan that he calls "Georgia" as his mate...based on the state she came from. Before her, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama...

He is also a collector of morbid oddities: a noose used to hang a man in England, a snuff film, all kinds of similar items sent from fans.

But his assistant finds a ghost for sale on eBay and they pay the Buy It Now price of $2K for said ghost.

The ghost arrives in the form of the dead man's suit, wrapped in a heart-shaped box. And then, the haunting begins. Almost immediately, the ghost appears and it becomes apparent that the ghost will not leave until Jude Coyne and Georgia are taken with him.

Reading about Jude's transformation from shallow rock star to what happens in the novel is really good. Georgia" becoming "Marybeth" is also really good. The interaction between the ghost, Craddock, and Jude and Marybeth, eh, lukewarm. Wasn't scary for me vs. just 'special effects' (via words) and gore.

Still, an enjoyable novel but hoping to find one that will scare the bejeezuz out of me.

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