Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Heart-Shaped Box

BoxHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill


The biggest secret – that – isn’t – really – a – secret in literature is that Joe Hill is really Joe King, son of Stephen. It’s no surprise, then, that he’s writing horror novels of his own. What is a surprise (to me, at least), is that the book is a lot better than I expected it to be.

That’s not to say that the book is without its faults. The beginning is rather sudden, and the ending gets a little drawn out, and Hill/King tends to work a little too hard on tying up all the loose ends, knotting them together with little effort in some places. This is the sort of thing, though, that will improve with time and experience. Heart-Shaped Box is, after all, his first novel.

Hill/King has a good sense of atmosphere and the creepy (as he should, being Son of Stephen), but he also has a natural writing style. It’s not a carbon copy of his father’s style, but the pacing should be familiar to most people. I was most impressed with a chapter near the end of the story, which was three paragraphs long and made up of ten sentences, which perfectly captured the sense of “Life goes on.” It may not have the same effect on people outside of the context of the story, but within it, it’s a brilliant portrayal of time passing.

The story centers on Jude Coyne, a fifty-something rockstar with a collection of Gothic oddities. He purchases a suit over the Internet which is supposed to be haunted, and once it arrives, the ghost does, too, wreaking havoc with his comfortable life (such as it is). It’s an unearthly story of revenge and madness, and an effective one, at that.

Check it out, if you like a good horror story. If it can impress cynical ol’ me, despite its faults, then it must be doing something right.


February 28, 2007 - Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews

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