In HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill, aging heavy metal rocker Judas Coyne, for whom music was a way to exorcise the rage of his abusive childhood, now lives in calm, ambling semi-retirement on a remote farm in New York State, where he manages his money with the help of personal assistant Danny, engages in serial monogamy with a string of young Goth girlfriends he nicknames after the state they’re from, and collects oddities, even a snuff film. When the opportunity to buy a real ghost online (with ownership attained by buying the dead old man’s suit) arrives via an eBay-type site, he grabs it.
The suit arrives in a heart-shaped box.
So does the ghost.
And this purchase wasn’t random. It was a set up. Because this ghost has a very deep, personal score to settle with Jude.
HEART-SHAPED BOX reinvented the ghost story for me. It’s great horror. Hill gets virtually everything right as a writer, but his real talent in this book is creating larger-than-life characters. The ghost is simply one of the most menacing, evil and loathsome villains I’ve seen in horror fiction. Recommended.