Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was hard to listen to this book and not make the comparison to Stephen King. Joe Hill has chosen a lot of the same syntax and style as his father, to good effect. I couldn't help but wish, though, that Hill could step out from behind his father's shadow to become his own writer. The world already has one Stephen King.

This story starts with Judas Coyne buying a ghost off an ebay-imitation auction site. He gets exactly what he paid for, and then some. The ghost, it turns out, was marked for him for a reason, and now he has to get rid of it.

The story starts off creepy, but it veers into more thriller and mystery with horror elements. One particular scene stayed with me for days, but then nothing frightening happened for the rest of the book. The hypnotist's ghost is creepy enough, but I didn't find him particularly scary, and that's probably because of Jude's lack of engagement. He faces the problem fearlessly, and so we, the readers, don't get to feel the fear.

I enjoyed the story, overall, but I found the ending weak and too drawn out. I felt like the same ending could've been told in a way that didn't dilute the other elements in the story. It winds down like a literary novel. I can forgive Hill that, this being his freshman novel and all, but I was still disappointed.

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  1. Huh
    I had no idea SK's son was writing...heck, both of his sons.
    I'd just heard of this Joe Hill from a random IMB feed about Locke and Key...which looks very interesting, i might add.

    I do have to say...I hate when an author drops the ball on the fear factor. Feelign the fear is such an integral part of making the story click.

  2. In this sort of story, definitely. I guess I could feel the urgency and sense of what had to be done, and I was worried for the characters that they wouldn't survive. But I signed up for horror, dammit.