Friday, March 29, 2013

Artful Readers Club March - Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

It's the last Friday of the month again - and that means it's book club time :)

This month I read Heart Shaped Box by Stephen King's son (although I didn't know that when I bought it), Joe Hill:

I'll start my review with a question - if a horror book doesn't leave you utterly terrified, has it failed?

Because if so, then I'm afraid this book didn't quite hit the mark.

It started off deliciously creepy - to the extent that I couldn't read it in bed at night just before sleep for fear of nightmares - but then there came a point, less than half way in to the story, where it just stopped being scary.

It was still an entertaining read though, and I really enjoyed it, but was just a teensy bit disappointed it didn't leave me a gibbering wreck :)

Author Joe Hill
So - what's it about?  It's a good old fashioned ghost story - revolving around Ozzy-style ageing rock star Judas Coyne, and the spirit of an old man that he bought on an internet auction site.

The bulk of the story sees Coyne, his young goth girlfriend, and his two dogs fleeing across country from the vengeful spook, who has some personal scores to settle from beyond the grave.

That just about sums it up really - it's nothing ground breaking or complex - but it's an enjoyable romp of a read and despite being over 400 pages long (and me being scared to read it in bed at first :) which is where I generally do 99% of my reading ...) I got through it in no time.

And it really does remind me of early Stephen King, it took me right back to my teenage years when his books were all I read, I guess the writing style must be hereditary!

My journal page this month is based on the ghost of the old man in the book - he is described as having black scribbles dancing in front of his eyes, like someone was crossing them out with a Sharpie ..... spooooooky....

(tintype image by Michael Shindler)
In the book, the lead character first finds the ghost sitting quietly in a chair on the landing outside his bedroom.  This bit of the book really did give me the shivers, and for a few days I was scared every time I emerged from my bedroom in case I found him sat there, with his scribbles for eyes.

Shudder :)

I'll hopefully see you back here next month, when I'll be reviewing and "arting up" Pursuit of Liberty by Glenn Petrucci

PS I actually scheduled this post yonks ago, and in the meantime Rhomany, a fellow ARC-er, has read and reviewed the same book, so for an another opinion on it - see here


Sue said...

FAbulous page to illustrate the book....and you say some of my stuff scares you? Pretty scary yourself:-)

Jez said...

Terrific review and artwork Sarah. In fact both of them so good that I can't do you justice. Just your review sends shivers all over me, and I'm afraid my dreams (and night-time visits to the bathroom) will be invaded. I'm such a scaredy-chicken.
That artwork is so powerful I could only glance at it and move on down the page ...... and yet those eyes are still looking at me. And it's only 10 a.m.
So a success on both angles of the challenge.
It must be hard to follow in a parent's footsteps and be compared, but perhaps Hill will develop in time.

ForgedinPaper said...

Funnily enough I was checking the landing when I came out my bedroom for a while as well. I did enjoy reading it.
Great page. Is that the Andy Skinner stencil?

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Sarah, I always enjoy your take on books, and, of course, your art. You seem to have a way with inspiration.

I so enjoyed this collage and, of course, your take on this book.

San @ Made in Hem said...

I'm reading this one right now, just in between my ARC-books. I too have a hard time reading it in bed... But still the book keeps calling to read on!
Your Art is terrific! The same image I have in my head from the ghost... Spooky!!! ♥

Janet said...

Those eyes! Brilliant collage and very scary. Enjoyed reading your review and admire folk who can read scary stuff. I can't, I get nightmares. I find life is scary enough for me.

Janet xx

abby j said...

GREAT piece of representitive art...sounds like the book is spooky enough for me!! :)

Carmen Wing said...

I get like that with scary books - and yet this one still intrigues me.

Your art work is amazing and definitely, decidedly creepy.

manomij said...

Fantastic review I loved Stephen King too he was my favorite when I was a youngster so I guess this book is going to be right up my street! I love the scary art that you made inspired by it. You made me want to read another book!

Magaly Guerrero said...

Maybe you just don't scare easy. Because your wonderful artwork sure looks eerie...

And isn't Joe the picture of his dad?

Darcy Marshall said...

Great review, I really am going to have to read this one, sounds like i would love it. Fab artwork, just seeing that face with the scribbly eyes is spooky enough lol

Gina said...

Wonderful review :D Haven't read any Stephen King myself so would probably have less expectations than you had, but I too would have been frustrated at the "downhill" path of the horror. Call me old-fashioned, but I like a story to build to the end not start with a bang and fizzle out.
As to your art it,,,very creepy :D XXX

Šolanje na domu-Waldorf said...

I don't read horror so I don't know. I don't usually judge the book by it's representation of the genre. But if you have certain expectations and they are not met then it has definitely failed. I totally love your creepy journal page. :)

Clare with paint in her hair said...

I dont like horror in anything so I dont think I could read it if the first part is scary LOL. Love your review and your artwork is fabulous!

Leialoha said...

Fantastic...really creepy/spooky art...I do like a bit of scare from time to time so when that time comes I'll definitely grab this one. Great review.

Jen said...

Not a horror story fan, real wimp. Thought your artwork super though. Real movement in your background and the scribbled eyes very spooky.
Jen x

Jenny said...

Wonderful artwork Sarah... it definitely has an element of horror to it.... doesn't sound like a book I could cope even with the less scary half... creepiness... nightmares... I'm getting shivers just thinking about it :)

Jenny ♥

Shirley said...

The book is obviously not for anyone of a nervous disposition and your art creates a smilar feeling. Really creepy and spooky but brilliant. Love it. X

Virginia said...

Oh you brave woman - scary stories - mmm not for me LOL, love the artwork (as always). Great review but don't think I'll be reading it myself

SusieJ said...

Eek! Horror is the one genre that I really, really don't read...I frighten too well done you for reading this.
Love the review and the art work is suitably scary!
Hugs xx

Catie Cuddles said...

Must admit I haven't read horror books since I was a teenager either when all I read were Stephen King and James Herbert! Maybe I ought to revisit some?
Love your artwork though ... Brilliantly evoking!