Review: Heart-Shaped Box

Heart Shaped BoxHeart Shaped Box

by Joe Hill

This is a book that I might never have picked up if not for one little secret that got “revealed”. Joe Hill, the author, is really the son of Stephen King. Yep, his real name is Joe King. One look at the artist portrait on the back inside cover will assure you of that. The family resemblance is pretty strong. Knowing that, I put this book at the top of my list.

And I couldn’t be any more happy that I did. Heart-Shaped Box is an absolutely amazing book. It reads quickly and easily. And best of all? It’s extremely reminiscent of an early Stephen King work. And I’ve gone on record as saying that the newer King works lack something that the early works had. Joe has picked up on that (undoubtedly from years of hanging out with his dad) and made it his own. In fact, I still harbor a few suspicions that the book was really written by Stephen King about 20 years ago. There are too many new references for that to be true, but it’s that close to the original writing style of the elder King.

The book follows a hard rocker named Judas Coyne. Get it? Judas Coin. Well, I didn’t get it until about half way through the book, but I find it very clever. It seems that Jude has a bit of a reputation as being a dark fellow a little bit like Ozzy. His assistant finds a genuine dead man’s ghost for sale on a “eBay knockoff” auction site. He buys it, and then all hell breaks loose.

The spoilers begin about here, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, you should probably stop reading.

When the ghost arrives in a heart-shaped box, some funny things start to happen and Jude starts seeing the ghost at night. After a little bit of looking into it, he finds out that the person that sold him the ghost was the sister of an old girl-friend that he kicked to the curb and the ghost is her step father out for a little afterlife revenge.

Joe takes us on several twists and turns throughout the book and by the end of it, I had to struggle to put it down and not finish it in one session. I nearly did anyways.

It’s an amazing story and I couldn’t recommend it any more. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next Joe Hill novel. Now, I’ve got a few of his fathers books that I need to read. 😉

You can buy Heart-Shaped Box at Amazon!