Monday, May 31, 2010

Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel
I read a review of Heart-Shaped Box when it came out in 2007, thought it sounded interesting, and promptly forgot about it.  I was pleased to find the paperback edition in one of the two used bookstores within driving distance, the one that is so tiny browsing is almost impossible if there are any other customers.

In the novel, an aging rocker with a taste for the macabre and the unlikely stage name of Judas Coyne buys a purported ghost in a box from an online auction site.  He soon realizes that he's being targeted by vengeful relatives of his ex-girlfriend, who committed suicide, and that the ghost is real.  The rest of the novel depicts Coyne, along with his current girlfriend and faithful dogs, attempting to escape the vengeful ghost.

Heart-Shaped Box is an action-packed, inventive novel that is difficult to put down, as the hunted humans travel the south looking for a way to banish their pursuer.  There are some extremely scary sequences, and some of the best are some of the more subtle, such as when the ghost first appears in Coyne's darkened hallway.  Along with the horror, Hill writes with a great deal of humor and poignancy, as Coyne is forced to examine his life and relationships past and present, as he struggles to avoid losing them.  

My only (minor) quibbles are that the frantic pace of the action sometimes takes away from the horror, and that sometimes villains are more frightening when they're portrayed with dimensions, not just evil and crazy.  Still, this is an engrossing, well-written, and scary read.

No comments:

Post a Comment