Welcome, welcome, welcome! Step right up, one and all, all and one. I bring to you today review #1 from the list of the 50 Scariest Books of All Time!
Heart-Shaped Box – by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, but don’t think he became a favorite among horror fans because of his father. He went for years publishing without letting anyone know who he was. In fact, if anyone commented on his website that he had a striking similarity to Mr. King, he politely asked that the comment be removed. So for years he made a name for himself as a horror writer, without his father’s rather remarkable shadow looming over him. The cat was let out of the bag though, but he’s OK with that, he’d already established himself without being accused of having his father’s help.
Don’t look a bit alike, do they?
Heart-Shaped Box is the story of aging rocker Jude, who has a fascination with the macabre. One day he finds someone selling a soul online. All he has to do is buy the dead-man’s suit, and his soul is Jude’s to keep! Jude couldn’t pass that up!
Once the box arrives, he, his girlfriend Georgia and his assistant Danny realize buying a dead-man’s soul wasn’t as funny as they previously thought it would be. Turns out the soul is out for revenge, and when he says he’s going to kill anyone who associates with Jude, as well as Jude himself, he means it.
Most horror doesn’t really scare me – but this novel did. I’ve been riddled with insomnia for about a month now, and it began right as I was reading this book. Coincidence? Who know…but this book certainly did keep me up at night. The premise is a bit goofy, sure – buy a dead man’s suit on an eBay like site, and become haunted by his spirit. But the story is so compelling and so down right creepy that you can look past the premise to really enjoy the story.
The characters are rich and deep as well. Jude is this aging rocker who may still be popular, but his prime was in the past. He’s divorced as well, and doesn’t keep the company of any woman remotely near his own age. His women are all in their 20’s, and he never refers to them by name but rather by the state they are from. At first you think – what’s up with this gross old man and his cute 20-somethings? But he’s so real and so rich as a character, you begin to learn not only about him but Georgia as well and you truly find yourself caring for them.
I really loved this book. It’s the first of Hill’s novels that I’ve read, but will not be the last. Don’t go pick this up because the guy is Stephen King’s son – pick it up because it’s an amazing horror story.
50 Scariest Books of All Time (1 down, 49 to go)
- It – Stephen King
- Piercing – Ryu Murakami
- The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
- Ghost Story – Peter Straub
- American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
- Hell House – Richard Matheson
- Dracula – Bram Stoker
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
- The Best of H.P. Lovecraft – H.P. Lovecraft
- The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
- House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
- The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
- The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
- Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
- The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
- The Trial – Frankz Kafka
- Books of Blood – Clive Barker
- Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill
- Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons
- The Complete Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
- Dawn – Octavia Butler
- We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
- The Girl Next Door – Jack Ketchum
- The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski
- The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
- The Cipher – Kathe Koja
- Lord of the Flies – William Golding
- The Ruins – Scott Smith
- Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – M. R. James
- Naomi’s Room – Jonathan Aycliffe
- The Ritual – Adam Nevill
- Johnny Got His Gun – Dalton Trumbo
- Incarnate – Ramsey Campbell
- The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
- The Great God Pan – Arthur Machen
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Schwartz
- The October Country – Ray Bradbury
- White is for Witching – Helen Oyeyemi
- Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – Harlan Ellison
- The Collector – John Fowles
- The Store – Bently Little
- Penpal – Dathan Auerbach
- In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
- Swan Song – Robert R. McCammon
- The Wolfen – Whitley Strieber
- The Hot Zone – Richard Preston
- The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
- 1984 – George Orwell