Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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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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My Favorite Scary Books

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Halloween is right around the corner and I find these Fall months the perfect time to settle in with scary, thrilling books. I am definitely a fan of the horror genre both in films and in literature. I recently re-read Heart-Shaped Boxfor the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon and I read Rebecca for Fraterfest 2018 . (reviews coming soon)

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite scary books, here they are in no particular order…

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 1. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
This whole list could be Stephen King novels couldn’t it though? It took me a while to finally be brave enough to read Pet Sematary . I’ve read it twice so far and it is my favorite King novel. The film is good too and I am looking forward to the remake. Not only is this one terrifying but it is very sad, like most King novels tend to be.

 

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2. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems
I only read Poe during the Fall. It is a little reading tradition I have. I will grab my copy of Complete Tales and Poems and I will read a few stories or poems. Poe had a flair for the dramatic and I enjoy his gloomy and beautiful writing….The Tell Tale Heart, The Raven and Annabel Lee are among my favorites. This book is a great for any Poe fan.

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Needful Things by Stephen King

needfulsource: purchased
title: Needful Things
author: Stephen King
genre: classic horror
published: 1991
pages: 790
first line: In a small town, the opening of a new store is big news.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:

Master storyteller Stephen King presents the classic #1 New York Times bestseller about a mysterious store than can sell you whatever you desire—but not without exacting a terrible price in return.

“There are two prices for this. Half…and half. One half is cash. The other is a deed. Do you understand?”

The town of Castle Rock, Maine has seen its fair share of oddities over the years, but nothing is a peculiar as the little curio shop that’s just opened for business. Its mysterious proprietor, Leland Gaunt, seems to have something for everyone out on display at Needful Things…interesting items that run the gamut from worthless to priceless. Nothing has a price tag in this place, but everything is certainly for sale. The heart’s desire for any resident of Castle Rock can easily be found among the curiosities…in exchange for a little money and—at the specific request of Leland Gaunt—a whole lot of menace against their fellow neighbors. Everyone in town seems willing to make a deal at Needful Things, but the devil is in the details. And no one takes heed of the little sign hanging on the wall: Caveat emptor. In other words, let the buyer beware…

my thoughts:

Needful Things was a re-read and is a toughie to review because it is such a long book with so many characters and events. It is hard to believe my copy is over 20 years old.

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In this classic, King takes us to Castle Rock and sets up the scene quite nicely. I love that about his writing, he takes his time introducing his characters and giving us a feel for them. There is a new shop in the small town of Castle Rock called Needful Things and the townspeople are very curious about it. The owner is a man named Leland Gaunt who seems to mesmerize his customers. When you walk into this store you find the perfect item for yourself that you didn’t even know you were looking for until you lay your eyes on it. Everything is for sale but everything comes at a steep price. It is akin to making a deal with the devil. The customers leave with the perfect item but not quite remembering how they promised Leland Gaunt what they would pay for it.

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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source: purchased
title: Pet Sematary
author: Stephen King/ Twitter
genre: horror/classic
published: November 14, 1983
pages: 562
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:

“Sometimes dead is better….”

When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son—and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.

But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth—more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.

my thoughts:
I breezed through the 562 pages of Pet Sematary in just a little over a week which is saying alot for me since I tend to be a slow reader but this is why I love Stephen King. He grabs hold of the reader and will not let go. When he is good, he is amazing. This was a re-read for me and it was fantastically creepy and terrifying the second time around. King tends to be an author that I love to re-read. I have revisited several of my favorites by him. There is something about going back to a book knowing it will still be good.

As the story starts young doctor Louis Creed is made director of the University of Maine’s campus health service and he moves his family to Ludlow for the job. His wife Rachel and their two little ones Ellie and Gage settle into the family’s new home which is located near a busy road.
On Louis’s first day at work there is a tragic accident where student Victor Pascow is mortally wounded while out running. He dies while Louis is the only person in the room with him and his final words are a warning about the Pet Sematary located across the street from Louis’s new house.

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The Dead Zone by Stephen King

deadzone

source: purchased
title: The Dead Zone
author: Stephen King
genre: horror/thriller
published: 1979
pages: 402
first line: By the time he graduated from college, John Smith had forgotten all about the bad fall he took on the ice that January day in 1953.
rated: 3 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Stephen King’s #1 New York Times bestseller about a reluctant clairvoyant who must weigh his options when he suddenly sees the terrible future awaiting mankind.

“There was only blackness and that universal emptiness… Cold limbo. Johnny Smith stayed there a long, long time.”

When Johnny Smith was six-years-old, head trauma caused by a bad ice-skating accident left him with a nasty bruise on his forehead and, from time to time, those hunches…infrequent but accurate snippets of things to come. But it isn’t until Johnny’s a grown man—now having survived a horrifying auto injury that plunged him into a coma lasting four-and-a-half years—that his special abilities really push to the fore. Johnny Smith comes back from the void with an extraordinary gift that becomes his life’s curse…presenting visions of what was and what will be for the innocent and guilty alike. But when he encounters a ruthlessly ambitious and amoral man who promises a terrifying fate for all humanity, Johnny must find a way to prevent a harrowing predestination from becoming reality.

my thoughts:
I randomly decided to re-read The Dead Zone not too long ago. I just plucked it from my bookshelves one morning before heading off to work after I finished reading a Neil Gaiman book the night before.

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