Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals…a used hangman’s noose…a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can’t help but reach for his wallet.
I will “sell” my stepfather’s ghost to the highest bidder…
For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man’s suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn’t afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts–of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the band-mates he betrayed. What’s one more?
But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It’s the real thing.
And suddenly the suit’s previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door…seated in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang…standing outside his window…staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting–with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand…
My Kindle library has grown out of control. I sweep up Daily Deals and free offers faster than I can read anything. At this point, I hardly recognize anything on my Kindle. But I always have something to read, and sometimes it’s fun to go into a book completely blind.
So it was that Heart-Shaped Box completely caught me by surprise. I knew that it’s written by Stephen King’s son, and I had a vague awareness that the plot revolved around buying a ghost from eBay. Having seen the trailers for the whimsical (if dark) Horns, based on another book by Joe Hill, I suppose I was expecting something similar. I don’t know. Man buys ghost on-line and they become unexpected friends, having many ghoulish adventures? Fun, dark, whimsy.
My partner was away for the week when I started reading this, so I had our place to myself. We were in the middle of a two-day rain, and the neighbors had just moved out so I felt particularly alone. These were, perhaps, the worst fucking circumstances to start reading this book.