I’m still pretty new to Joe Hill, but I really enjoyed reading N0S4A2 last October. I decided I wanted to give more of his books a try, so I picked up Heart-Shaped Box while at the bookstore one day and read it a few months ago. It is a good book that is creepy, but not too creepy, and is full of amazingly macabre, dark storylines that will keep you reading until the very end. Let’s take a look at Heart-Shaped Box!
We meet Judas Coyne, an aging rock star with a knack for collecting creepy and macabre things. His assistant is usually the one who finds these things for him, but sometimes he is sent things by fans or given things by whichever girl he is dating at the time. With this whole knowledge of what Coyne collects, we naturally see his assistant find and buys an awesome “haunted” suit. This suit was supposed to be the possession of a famed hypnotist, and, when you’re like Judas, you can’t pass something like that up. They immediately grab it up and have it shipped ASAP because who wouldn’t want to own a poltergeist? The suit comes in a black, heart-shaped box (oooh, look, the title!) and that’s when things start to get a little strange.
Coyne’s current girlfriend gets poked by a “pin” in the suit, only to find out there isn’t a pin and her finger gets incredibly infected; nothing seems to help it. Then Judas sees an old man hanging out in a chair in the hallway. He decides that it is safe not to look at the old guy because he didn’t know what would happen. He realizes the old guy sitting in the chair is the guy whose suit he bought and starts to get worried. As weirder things start happening, Judas calls the person he bought the suit from and learns some terrifying, unnerving news about the suit and the suits owner.
The story progresses with lots of: a ghost trying to kill people, people running from said ghost, and dogs being totally awesome. Yes, it is predictable, but it is still an interesting and fun read.
This book isn’t quite as scary as I was anticipating, but it was still great. I did find one of the major plot points to be pretty predictable, but Joe Hill is such a good writer that he keeps you reading, even if you’ve guessed a major part. I enjoyed watching the story unfold and seeing the development of the main characters. In fact, I also really enjoyed learning about Coyne, his history, and his thought processes.
As I said, it was pretty predictable, but don’t let that scare you away from it! This story is one of those that, while you can guess what’s coming next, it is still really interesting. I completely enjoy predictable books when the author is so darn good that you just have to stick with it to see how he or she gets to the conclusion. I definitely recommend this for a summer read that isn’t too light and fluffy, but still easy enough that you can get distracted from it if you need to.
Have you read Heart-Shaped Box or any other Joe Hill books? What did you think? Let me know!