|Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
This is one that I have wanted to read for a long time, it shows up again and again on the "must read" lists for horror and has been recommended by Stephen King (who, despite my issues with his writing style, I must admit, has excellent taste in scary stories.) So when I got a credit from Barnes and Noble (who are these people who keep getting me money in e-book settlements? I owe you coffee.) I figured why not splurge and buy a full priced horror novel for the Halloween season?
I had previously read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (which you would know about if I hadn't become so sick and unable to blog for a while there.) and so I knew he was pretty on track for being scary. The most notable difference between the two books, however, was how quickly the action picked up in this one. He really took no time at all haunting the shit out of the main character. And from the first appearance of that dark entity I was hooked, I had to know how this was going to play out for Judas. (Three words for you: Scribbled. Out. Eyes.)
The book was so compelling because the haunting is just relentless. There is almost no way to avoid the ghost in this one, and that makes it so much creepier because the author doesn't give you an automatic "home base" where you can feel safe, as the reader. Instead, you really do have to follow through to the end of the book to figure out how to save your own skin should this happen to you (read: if you were to buy a haunted suit specifically to own the ghost haunting it. I mean, you could, you know, just not do that and save yourself the trouble. But if you do...) There are almost no rules holding this ghost back- when you're awake, when you're asleep, in the day or the night, at home or away, the only thing he is tethered to is Judas, and that means Judas is fucked.
It was a tad slow at times, but then I would turn around and realize I had been reading for 2 hours without blinking and that at some point the action had picked back up again. Sometimes I think its's better that way, just because when I had to convince myself to go the fuck to sleep at 2 AM I wasn't being harassed into continuing by some cliffhanger at the end of a chapter. On the other hand I was also finding myself distracted by the TV more easily than some books. By the end, however, there was no tearing my Kindle away from me.
And be aware, this is more than just your standard "boy buys haunted item, boy gets haunted, boy regrets buying item, boy tries to get away from ghost" kind of story. There are plot twists galore thrown in there that definitely keep this from turning into a stale old ghost story.
Anyone who is a horror or suspense fan, I agree with every other list on Earth: this is a MUST read!