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 Heart shaped Box by Joe Hill (with video link)

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Jane
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PostSubject: Heart shaped Box by Joe Hill (with video link)   Sat May 19, 2007 11:12 pm

Rock superstar Judas Coyne (nice play on words there) is in the twilight of a brilliant career, living a somewhat jaded existence that is intermittently and temporarily relieved by his mementos of lost souls. He has quite an interesting collection --- a witch's confession, a gently used noose and some other dreadfuls --- and more money than God. When he receives an email solicitation to participate in an Internet auction on a ghost, he jumps at the chance and, of course, winds up buying it. It's not a particularly engaging concept when initially summarized, but just wait. You'll be hooked by page two anyway!

Coyne is quite an interesting character, with or without a haunt in the closet. He's an emotional abuser, aloof and full of contempt and anger, and seemingly unable to form a relationship with any woman more than half his age. Difficult childhood notwithstanding, his only redeeming social value is that he is extremely fond of Bon and Angus, his German Shepherds. But the ghost he has purchased, and to which he is now irrevocably linked, is much worse than he is, and has a major mad-on for him.

A great deal of the story consists of Coyne and his girlfriend Marybeth --- code-named Georgia in Coyne-speak --- trying to shake off the ghost, with terrifying and unsuccessful results as they race from his home in New York, down to the ghost's origins in Florida's backwoods panhandle. Along the way, it is amazing how Hill --- even as he is terrifying his reader --- slowly transforms his protagonist into something bearing the resemblance of a likable guy, ultimately succeeding in a vignette that is simultaneously frightening and heart-rending.

Rest assured, however, HEART-SHAPED BOX contains much more of the former than the latter. There is one point in the narrative in which Coyne, on the run from the spirit even as he tracks it to its source, checks his home voicemail. I noticed, at about the third message, that I was rocking forward and backward in my chair. If an author's prose sets off automatic tremors in me at this late point in my life, then the author is getting the job done. And Hill does just that, in spades. By the time Coyne confronts his ghost --- actually his ghosts of past and present --- you'll be exhausted. And maybe in love with a Goth woman, too, but that is a whole other side to the novel that you'll have to discover on your own.

HEART-SHAPED BOX is one of those rare works that is career- and genre-defining, all by its lonesome. If Hill never writes another book --- though I have the feeling he will --- he'll be remembered forever for this one. All hail the new King.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDvOwQ_Cnd4
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Hayz
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PostSubject: Re: Heart shaped Box by Joe Hill (with video link)   Sun May 20, 2007 12:45 pm

I really enjoyed this book, very good read and definately will be reading others by him.
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quark
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PostSubject: Re: Heart shaped Box by Joe Hill (with video link)   Wed May 23, 2007 10:09 pm

same here Hayz. a really good read, am looking out for more. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Heart shaped Box by Joe Hill (with video link)   Thu May 24, 2007 1:17 am

Its on my wishlist!
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