Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill

(hb; 2007)

From the inside flap:

“Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals… a used hangman’s noose… a snuff film. An aging death-metal god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can’t help but reach for his wallet…

“For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man’s suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn’t afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts – of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What’s one more?

“But what the UPS man delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It’s the real thing.

“And suddenly the suit’s previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door… seated in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang… standing outside his window… staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting –with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand…”


Stunning debut novel, one that doesn’t redefine the boundaries of mainstream horror fiction, but possesses a nerve-rending uneasiness – of ghosts both real and born of past traumas – that grabbed me and made me loath to set the book down until I’d finished it. Can’t recommend this one enough – Hill is a writer to watch for

The resulting film is set for release in the near future.

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