Newest Review: ... This novel certainly lives up to these expectations with its incredible twists and turns throughout. To start with, the reader is intr... more
The dead man's suit
Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill
Member Name: morticiaaddams
Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill
Advantages: exciting, fetching characters, ghost story, rock star theme, unique
Today I'd like to review the novel ,,Heart-Shaped Box" by Joel Hill.
I picked this book up after I saw an interview with Gerard Way, singer of my favourite Band My Chemical Romance. In the interview he was asked what he was reading right now and he mentioned this book. He also said a thing or two about the plot and I was interested straight away! Since the plot sounded exciting and I like to indulge in idol worship a bit by doing and reading what G. Way does, I picked the novel up at Waterstones as soon as I could.
The fact that is wasn't too expensive also helped with deciding on my purchase.
Jude is an aging rockstar a little over fifty,living in a farm-like house. He isn't making much music anymore, but he and his bands used to be the stars of the metal scene. Jude shares his home with is personal assistant Danny and his girlfriend Marybeth, whom he refers to as Georgia. Jude has had quite a few ladies in his life after his wife left him, naming each ofter the state they come from.
When Jude's PA recieves a link to an auction selling a ghost, Jude is intrigued. His fans have always been giving him occult objects as presents and the "ghost" might be a nice addition to his collection. At this pont, Jude does not really believe in the ghost, but tells his PA to purchase it anyway.
After a while, a package arrives. It contains a big, heart-shaped box with an old suit that his supposed to carry the seller's stepfather's ghost. Things stay quite with the exception of Georgia pinching her finger with a needle coming from the suit.
And then, things start to go weird. Jude feels uneasy, the suit is emitting a scary scent and finally, Jude starts to see the ghost that came with the suit. After a while, Jude realizes the ghost is part of the family of Anna, a girl he once had living with him. She had been depressed and shizoid and Jude had to send her back to her family when living with her became unbearable. He back then and recieved the news that Anna had killed herself after she had written him many letters and it seems like the ghost has come to torture Jude for driving Anna into suicide. And to Jude's dismay, the ghost was a mentalist who was terribly good at creeping into people's brains.
Jude was planning to let his girlfriend Georgia go soon - but when staying in the house and being attacked by the ghost becames unbearable, Jude takes her and his dogs on a road trip to get away from the evil spirit.
Things are not what they seem and the trip reveals things Jude would never have dreamed of!
My thoughts on it
I liked the whole old-rockstar-theme to begin with! The novel has surprised me with it's captivating narration and vivid images. I've never read a horror book before so I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I really did. The characters are interesting from the very beginning and you find out exciting and curious things about each of them as the book goes on. It never gets boring, there was not a single part that dragged on.
You're worried for Jude and find a depht in him that you wouldn't think of at first. The same goes for Georgia. At first you feel only a bit of sympathy for the character, but you'll find yourself fearing for them sooner than you think. The occult elements in the book are strong, but not ridiculously so. It is not much discussed how the ghost could be there and how all this happens - Jude and Georgia just accept it at same point and rather busy themselves with thinking up ways to survive.
The story takes many exciting twists and turns that I didn't expect and I think that is what makes it an exciting read!
The violence is strong, but not sickingly soon. But hey, it's a horror novel after all!
I have the paperback edition, whcih was 5.99!
At Amazon.co.uk you can purchase it for £4.55.
I recommend this book to people who like ghost stories and also find the whole rock star thing interesting. It's what gives the book this extra bit of excitement and since I really love music, it made the novel more interesting. The characters are interesting and feel real, their stories are touching and exciting. This was defenitely a great read!
Summary: A captivating read!