book review, horror

31 Days of Horror: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

A middle aged rock star’s interest in the macabre back fires in this chilling debut from Joe Hill.

Hard rock goth musician, Judas Coyne, likes to collect occult items, but when he purchases a haunted suit that’s really haunted, he gets launched on a dark, dangerous path that makes him confront a past he never wanted to revisit.

This horror novel really scared me. I’ve been a horror fan since two years old, and I can count on one hand the books and movies that have truly scared me. I don’t mean that pleasant tingle of fear across your skin, or that creepy feeling of being watched that makes you walk a bit faster. I’m talking about lights on, sweating, I can’t be alone right now fear.

One of my recurring nightmares revolves around watching a movie, except I experience everything that happens in the movie. What horrors I must endure changes, but in a Jumanji like scenario, the only way I can escape is to watch the movie all the way through until the end. Reading this book produced a similar feeling to this nightmare. The only way I could escape being haunted by Craddock McDermott, the ghost in the book, was to finish the novel and lock him safely back inside.

Jude, the protagonist, starts off as a man hard to like. He’s perverse, lewd and self indulgent. He uses people and casts them aside without a second thought. His only redeeming feature is his love for his two beautiful German Shepherd dogs (mmm… no wonder I love this novel).

However, nothing in this novel is exactly what it seems. Jude’s random purchase of a haunted suit, a vengeful ghost, even Jude himself. Dig a little deeper, peel back the layers, and the truth is different to what is first presented.

This is a very dark book. Both physical and sexual abuse feature predominantly in this novel. Craddock is a vicious, nasty ghost. Darkness and depravity pursue the characters, seeking to devour them.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Scars can be healed, where there is life there is hope, and sins can be forgiven when the sinner is repentant. Also, did I mention the German Shepherd?

I award Heart Shaped Box

12 thoughts on “31 Days of Horror: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill”

  1. I really enjoyed this book too. It is a tense, engrossing read, and I do love stories with strong redemptive plots, especially in a horror setting! And of course any dog, especially German Shepherds, makes a book a sure winner! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everybody loves this book. It was only 3.5-4.0 stars for me. Same with another popular book, A Head Full of Ghosts. I found both books to be surface stories, two-dimensional. Yes, I know we get inside characters’ heads, but the stories were more like watching a movie to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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