Tag Archives: Supernatural Elements

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: The Deep

The Deep

The Deep
By Alma Katsu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780525537908, March 10, 2020, 432pp.

The Short of It:

The lure of the Titanic on that fateful night is what fascinated me and pulled me in. Add some ghosts and a sister ship and you’ve got me.

The Rest of It:

Annie is a survivor of the Titanic. On that fateful night, she dove into the frigid waters to save a baby from a drowning woman’s arms. Recovering from that incident, she spends her days at a hospital. A hospital normally reserved for the mentally ill but she doesn’t exhibit any characteristics of such an illness. She is, however, without anyone to speak for her. Or so they think.

One day she receives a letter from a friend who also survived the Titanic’s sinking, inviting her to become a nurse on its sister ship, the Britannic. The war has been hard and there are many injured young men to tend to. Would she be interested?

As the story unfolds, we spend time on both ships. The before, the after, and how the events of the Britannic play into this story. There is a supernatural element to this tale. I think Katsu is known for this although I’ve never read her work before. You are asked many times to suspend your disbelief. I’m not sure I did, but I did enjoy how the two stories came together.

You may or may not be surprised of the love story contained within these pages. It’s a love triangle of sorts so there’s a little drama there. Enough to hold your interest. Overall, an enjoyable read but nothing that will wow you. The pace was a little slow in the beginning but picked up mid-way through. I can’t compare this book to her other works but I can say that based on this one, I would read her work again.

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