I'm pretty sure I spent about an hour at my local bookstore wandering around not sure of what I felt like reading. I ended up in the horror section and scanned through the Joe Hill titles because hey NOS4A2 and Horns were pretty great. Let's give him another try. And thus I picked up his first book Heart-Shaped Box.
Heart-Shaped Box is a ghost story. Judas Coyne is a retired death-metal rock star with an interest in the macabre. That makes sense, right? What else would you expect a retired death-metal star to do but collect stuff like a hangman's noose or a snuff film? His hobby is well-known enough that fans send him these things, so when someone reaches out to tell him they have a heart-shaped box that contains an old man's suit and the restless spirit of said old man, well sure, he jumps on that. He doesn't really believe in the supernatural so he's not particularly worried about this ghost. Which is too bad for him. And for his sort-of girlfriend/chick a fraction of his age that he's been having sex with, Georgia. Georgia isn't her actual name, but instead the state she's from because that's how he names these ladies.
See, it wasn't a coincidence someone reached out to him about this box and suit and spirit. It's from the family of a former lover, Florida, who killed herself not too long after he kicked her to the curb. Florida's sister sent the spirit of their father after Jude for what he did. And it doesn't matter if Jude doesn't believe in ghosts because the ghost can still do plenty of damage to him and everyone in his life.
I liked this story. It was scary and violent and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. What could Jude and Georgia do to get away from this ghost? Other than let the ghost win, which means Jude is dead. Not a great option. So if scary and violent is not your thing, skip this one.
It's also not my favorite Hill (that would be NOS4A2) but it was still a good one and it certainly creeped me out. Those ghost eye scribbles...
Anyway, gif rating:
Title quote from page 152
Hill, Joe. Heart-Shaped Box. Harper, 2007.