The story is about the haunting, but it's also about a man who is already haunted by his own choices in life. Jude Coyne is not really a good guy. He makes bad choices, he hurts people and he's not sure if he can or wants to change. Then he buys a suit that comes with a dead man's ghost. He assumes that it's a joke until disturbing things begin to happen. Jude tries to get rid of the ghost, who is there with a mission.
Heart-Shaped Box is a tightly written, intense ghost story. The pacing is quick and the story never feels bogged down in the details,m even though it gives a good amount of backstory into Jude's life and the story behind the ghost. The story creates and sustains tension and even though the basis is supernatural, the story still feels grounded and believable.
Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, which I knew going in. There's a lot of pressure there, o be compared to his father, and Hill comes off well, perhaps better than his father, who tends to need a heaver hand by his editor. Hill's work is solid and scary and very distinct from his famous father. It's a book that certainly made his parents proud.
Rating: Five stars. This one will leave an impression.