Heart Shaped Box

So, I just recently read "Heart Shaped Box" by Joe Hill, and I must say that I am still reeling from the experience. In case you don't know, Joe Hill is Stephen King's son, and it was with much apprehension that I picked up this book. As somewhat of a lukewarm Stephen King fan, I was worried that Joe Hill's book would provide the same sort of slow moving, late to excite plot that I often find King's books to have. However, I was greatly (and thankfully) mistaken. This book was phenomenal.

Basically, I will try to sum up the plot as quickly as possible - the main character Jude (a former rock star who toured with the likes of Trent Reznor) is a collector of all things strange and occult - skulls of convicted witches, books that hold the spells of all the great voodoo doctors, etc. So, when he sees a soul for sale on the Internet in the form of a suit enclosed in a heart shaped box he quickly jumps to buy it. However, the spirit that the suit holds is an angry one - the stepfather of one of Jude's gothic groupies who committed suicide after he ended their relationship - and this ghost is out to get even. What follows is a plot full of horror, excitement, and journeys into the world beyond this life. Although this is an overused review phrase, I literally could not put the book down.

As a horror film fan, I love seeing how a filmmaker can create terrifying images for the viewer. However, as a writer, there is something about reading a book and creating my own images - ones that are the product of my own imagination - that frightens me even more. Joe Hill's words and descriptions provide the fodder for such images, while his ability to create believable characters keeps you invested in the lives of Jude and all the people who get affected by his macabre purchase. My only gripe with this book was that it was too damn enthralling, allowing me to spend only two measly days with its brilliance. My request of the writer: please keep writing.

If you want to learn more about Joe Hill, Heart Shaped Box, his other works of fiction or even his comics, visit his website at joehillfiction.com.

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