Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

heart
source: purchased
title: Heart-Shaped Box
author:  Joe Hill
published: 2007
genre: horror
pages: 366
first line: Jude had a private collection.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit….

my thoughts:

I re-read Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill this past October. The protagonist Judas Coyne is a 54-year-old rock-star who lives with is assistant and his current 20 something year old goth girlfriend Georgia.

Judas enjoys collecting macabre items, he has a snuff film and a hand written letter from a woman killed for witchcraft during old witch trials among other things. One day his assistant tells him he received an email offer to buy a ghost online. The ghost comes attached to a dead man’s suit. Judas cannot resist and he buys it for his collection. The suit and ghost arrive to his home inside a black heart-shaped box. When Georgia goes to touch the suit she is pricked with what they assume has to be a pin. Not long after Judas starts seeing a man’s ghost in his home and Georgia’s pin prick starts to get badly infected. When Judas decides to call the suit’s previous owner, a woman named Jessica, she tells him the real history behind the suit and it involves someone from Judas’ past. He then becomes frantic trying to rid himself of this ghost before it is too late.

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Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

trig

source: free review copy via Harper Collins
title: Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
author: Neil Gaiman
genre: short story/fantasy
pages: 368
published: October 27, 2015
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion…

my thoughts:
The folks over at Harper Collins kindly sent me an ARC of Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances back in January of 2015 and look how long it has taken me to read it.

I liked the introduction by the author and after reading each story, I’d go back and read his comments on each which was a nice touch. I savored each of these stories with a few poems thrown in. What I like about short stories is that there is not too much commitment. You can read one or two a day and feel a little sense of accomplishment at the end of each one.

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Joyland (Hard Case Crime) by Stephen King

joyland
source: purchased
title: Joyland
author: Stephen King
genre: crime/mystery/thriller
published: June 2013
pages: 288
rated: 3 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.” – Stephen King

My Thoughts:
I read Joyland a few months ago and being that King is one of my favorite authors, I thought this would be the perfect ‘kick-off’ review post for my new blog.

Joyland is hard case crime mainly set in an North Carolina amusement park in the early 1970’s. The protagonist is college student Devin Jones who lives with his father, his mother passed from cancer a few years ago. Devin takes a part-time summer job at Joyland in order to make some extra cash, but ends up staying full-time in order to forget the girl who broke his heart.

Devin learns the amusement part lingo, dresses up as the mascot and finds that he enjoys actually working at Joyland. This is an enchanted world for Devin, one where he feels he fits right into but the amusement park has a dark secret. A woman was murdered in a ride called Horror House and her ghost is said to haunt the ride. The murderer was never found but the woman who was killed can sometimes be seen during the ride at night.
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