A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Buyer beware

This was recently offered for a cheap price on the Kindle, so I gave it a whirl. Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box is a scary, clever tale about an aging rock star named Jude who buys an actual ghost on an online auction site (the guy collects weird stuff), and soon discovers that he was manipulated into buying the ghost, which turns out to be not only real but quite malevolent, by someone who wants to get back at him for a past slight. Well, more than a slight, in the eyes of the sender.

Like I said, the book's clever. The initial revelations about the ghost and why it was sent were compelling and satisfying, but then we're given a second wave of revelations that add even more complexity and drama to the situation. Scary set pieces (reminding me a little of the kinds of things one sees in Japanese horror movies) and a nice dynamic between Jude and his girlfriend, who works with him to battle the ghost, nicely round things out.

Once could quibble and point out that the reason and motivation for every single supernatural event in the book is ultimately and completely explained from three different angles, instead of keeping a little mystery, ambiguity, and a "world of the unknown" flavor in place (we're talking about ghosts, after all). But again, that's a quibble; I guess I'd rather have too much explanation than not enough.

Anyway, Heart-Shaped Box is a solid little book, and I'll certainly check out some of Mr. Hill's other titles... even though he denied us regular online consumers a scene where Jude sits down and bangs out a review and star rating for his online ghost purchase! What a missed opportunity!

I just checked, and Heart-Shaped Box is still available on Kindle for the same $1.99 price that I paid for it.