by Joe Hill

Reviewer Rating:


Heart-Shaped Box gets off to a roaring start.  Protagonist Judas Coyne, a 54-year-old semi-retired leader of a metal band, buys a suit online that supposedly comes with the ghost of the man who wore it.  The suit's in his hands by page 15 and the ghost is already on the scene in another ten pages or so.  The first fifty pages or so of Heart-Shaped Box were excellent.  We've got a creepy ghost with scribbles over his eyes, dogs that are going nuts because they can see things people can't, the suit's moving itself all around the house, everybody's freaking out.  Unfortunately, there's another 300+ pages to go, and the pace just can't sustain itself.  Judas and his girlfriend are driven out of his house and take to the road in an attempt to get away from the ghost, and then the book just starts dragging.

Author Joe Hill does a nice job with fleshing out his characters and the writing's solid, but the pacing really could've used some work.  I'd certainly consider reading other titles by him (including his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, where I suspect the stories may have more meat and less filler), and fans of horror/thriller/suspense might enjoy this, but be ready to get all the scares out early.

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