TWoP Fan's CBR-III Review #15 – Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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.

TWoP Fan's CBR-III Review #14 – Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline

The premise of this book is intriguing. Two identical sisters, one a lawyer and one a con artist, who share a deep love despite their differences, have a fight and the con artist tries to take over her sister's life. Interesting, right? Well, it could have been.

Bennie Rosato is the lawyer, the good sister. She gets buried in a box somewhere when her sister decides to take over her life. Apparently her sister evil enough to let her die of suffocation, but not evil enough to just shoot her. Which would really be the more humane thing, but what do I know?

Alice, the evil sister, figures out that her thrifty sister has a ton of cash stashed and plans to beat a murder rap by stealing her sister's cash and hightailing it to the Bahamas.

The reader is expected to ignore the contrived situations and the characters that are barely there. The descriptions 'the good one' and 'the bad one' are all we get from the author. A needy colleague and the appearance of an ex-boyfriend are the boring twists giving Alice trouble stealing her sister's fortune. If the characters were more developed and interesting, it might matter more if they survive. As it was, I thought it would be a nice twist to see the evil sister go to the Bahamas. I'll leave you to figure out if I got my wish.

Rating: Boring and contrived, with flat characters. A few moments that would have been intense with characters to be invested in.