Title: Heart-Shaped Box
Author: Joe Hill
Page Count/Review Word Count: 420
I went into this book expecting to enjoy it to a certain extent, but it took me by surprise with how good it was. My only real criticism for it would be that it got off to such a strong start that it was difficult for Hill to keep the momentum going. The end almost felt like an anticlimax, but only because the antagonist in this book seems so sinister, so unstoppable.
Heart-Shaped Box is basically about an ageing rocker who buys a ghost online and then gets taken by surprise when the ghost turns out to be real. It’s one of the best ghost stories that I’ve read for a while and it was enough to make me know that I wanted to read the rest 0f Hill’s back catalogue. I was particularly freaked out by the crosses that appeared over the ghost’s eyes, which will make sense to you if you’ve read this one and make me sound kind of weird if not.
Hill’s writing style was super smooth and super absorbing and so even when it felt as though the momentum was slowing down a little bit, it was never a chore to actually read it. I also liked the way that the main character was an ageing rocker and thought that even though I’ve seen that done a few times before, Hill did a great job of it. All of the characters felt believable, not only in the ways that they acted but also in the ways that they thought, and I almost felt like I recognised a few people from real life.
I picked this book up on a whim because I saw it in a charity shop and I’d heard good things about Hill. Having read this book, I realise that I’ve been missing out and that I should have been following his work. It’s a mistake that I’m looking to rectify, probably with NOS4R2 because that’s actually the book of his that I’ve heard the most about.
Either way, if you’re a fan of horror novels, ghost stories and the supernatural then this is the book for you, although I’d suggest reading it with the lights on. I don’t get scared by books that often, but this one definitely had that creep factor. I can imagine re-reading it in a couple of years or so and I bet the audio book is good, too.