Tag Archives: William Morrow & Co.

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 Guest List

The Guest List

The Guest List
By Lucy Foley
William Morrow, 9780062868930, June 2020, 320pp.

The Short of It:

The cast of characters have arrived for a wedding on a remote island. What should be a celebratory event turns out to be a deadly affair.

The Rest of It:

Will and Jules are two, beautiful people. Happily successful in everything they do, they are the “it” couple and an invite to their wedding is not something the average person would ignore. Made up of old school chums, fellow colleagues and of course, the families of the bride and groom, the guest list is quite the to-do.

But Will and Jules are rather self-possessed and annoying. Jules has one bridesmaid, her younger sister who shows up to the wedding a bit of a mess. Will’s groomsmen are all extremely immature and juvenile but clearly there is some unfinished business between some of these characters and a big secret which could ruin the entire wedding.

I do enjoy a good story where the characters find themselves isolated with nowhere to hide. That sense of forced confinement really adds to the suspense and that is absolutely the case here. I didn’t see the big reveal coming until it was right in front of me. It was a good and proper ending for this story.

The setup is very similar to Foley’s earlier book, The Hunting Party. In that book, they arrive for a New Year’s Eve party, held at a fancy hunting lodge. The players in that book, share some similarity with those in The Guest List. That story takes place on secluded grounds, as does The Guest List. I feel that The Guest List possessed a bit more oomph in the area of suspense though and its reveal packed a more powerful punch. I was definitely more interested in these characters than the ones in The Hunting Party.

If this is a formula that Foley uses to write her books, then it’s a good one because both books are pretty entertaining and have done pretty well for themselves. Out of the two books, I’d recommend The Guest List for its setting.

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