Tag Archives: Horror

Review: Heart-Shaped Box

Heart Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box
By Joe Hill
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061944895, 2009, 400pp.

The Short of It:

This is a classic ghost story with all the horror elements you’d expect from Hill, without it being too graphic.

The Rest of It:

Judas Coyne is a fifty-something ex-rocker who has a taste for the macabre. He collects things that most people wouldn’t, which is how he comes to possess a suit that comes with a ghost. As Jude (short for Judas) learns, this ghost is not just any ghost and he means business.

This is the story of Jude and his girlfriend Marybeth, also known as Georgia. When this suit arrives in a heart-shaped box, Jude is intrigued. He has no idea what to expect but he doesn’t have to wait long to find out. The suit is accompanied by a ghost named Craddock and what begins as mild curiosity turns into a fight for their lives as Craddock takes them down the “night road” and continues to display glimpses of their future to them. A future where Jude murders the ones he loves.

This was a fantastic read and it’s been on my to-read shelve for YEARS. Not sure why I waited so long to get to it but I wish I had gotten to it sooner. Joe Hill. He’s Stephen King’s kid in case you don’t know but he definitely has his own sense of style when it comes to storytelling and from the very first page I was riveted and had to know the outcome of these two characters.

If I had to find any fault with it at all, I would say that as soon as the ghost makes his appearance, the one thing that made me curious about the book in the first place went out the window. All the macabre stuff that he collected over the years was never mentioned again. Someone with a penchant for that sort of thing would perhaps use it to his advantage? I was expecting it to become part of the story but that never happened.

I really enjoyed the character of Marybeth (Georgia). She was sweet but with a hard edge. I could not help but root for her. Hill did a good job of writing her as strong, but also vulnerable. She brought just the right mix of danger plus loyalty to the story.

Now for the fear factor. A reader on Facebook advised me to read it during the day, that it could get pretty intense. It was intense at times but like a “race to the finish” intense. All of the horror elements were appropriately creepy but I didn’t feel that Hill tossed anything in there for shock value alone. I really enjoyed it.

I read this for the R.I.P Challenge.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Bunny

Bunny

Bunny
By Mona Awad
Viking, 9780525559733, June 2019, 320pp.

The Short of It:

Considered a dark comedy but I failed to see the humor.

The Rest of It:

I won’t pretend to know exactly what went on in this story because it could probably be interpreted many different ways. In fact, I’m sure the majority of it went right over my head. Not because I couldn’t lean in and decipher what exactly was taking place, but because I wasn’t motivated to do so. At all.

Samantha Heather Mackey is working on her MFA at a prestigious New England university. She’s part of a writing cohort that includes a group of girls who think alike, dress alike, and apparently, write alike. Think Heathers meets Mean Girls. There’s a lot of pink and shallowness but then there’s this writing program and the fact that they do seem to possess writing talent, which seems out of place. They refer to each other as “Bunny”. Thanks, Bunny. That was great, Bunny. You know what’s best, Bunny.

Samantha hates them, but also wants to be like them. There’s the problem.

As they begin to work together as a cohort, certain things come to light rather quickly. They have special parties that involve rabbits. These parties also involve imaginary creations of their doing. It’s like they “write” them into existence but with witchery and a lot of alcohol and drugs.

Are these things actually happening or is this a product of Samantha’s imagination? What you need to know is that there is a lot of darkness here. I saw some reviews that categorized it as a horror novel but others say dark comedy. There is nothing funny here and if you have a soft spot for furry, little rabbits this story won’t sit well with you. It’s disturbing and weird.

I like to think that what goes on in this novel IS a product of Samantha’s mad skills as a writer but I’m not so sure. It has a very Naked Lunch feel to it and the visuals are just so disturbing and nightmarish.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.