LITERCURIOUS AUDIOBOOK REVIEW
|Author/Narrator||Author Joe Hill / Stephen Lang|
|Publisher||Shadow Mountain (Sep 8, 2020)|
|Genre||Horror / Thriller / Suspense|
To learn about Joe Hill, check out our authors spotlight here.
Stephen Lang is an American actor, playwright co-artistic director. He received a Tony Award and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. He is best known for his role in Avatar. He has a long and distinctive film and television career. He has done voice-over work on video games and narrates a wide variety of audiobooks.
Heart-Shaped Box is a paranormal tiptoe though the life of a 50 something rock-star named Jude Coyne; aka Judas. Judas lives a semi-reclusive existence in Piecliff, New York. At the story’s inception, he has a small retinue consisting of his girlfriend Georgia and his loquacious Californian Personal Assistant, Danny.
Judas has a macabre occult and disturbing collection of objet d’art. At Danny’s suggestion, he decides to purchase another item for his assemblage from a popular online bidding site. It is an unusual item; as it is claimed to be a haunted suit. Unknowingly to Judas, the suit belonged to the stepfather of his dead ex-girlfriend. With the arrival of the artifact; a perfect storm of past and present events conspires together to propel Judas into a living nightmare.
The paranormal antagonist is a literal Swiss Army Knife of the supernatural realm. Craddock McDermott was the stepfather of Florida, who committed suicide after her breakup with Judas. The specter uses his life skills to bring hell into the head, heart and soul of Jude Coyne. In an all out blood vendetta from the grave; only the death of Coyne and his helpers will satisfy the lust for revenge. Judas seems ill equipped to defend himself. No matter how far or how fast he runs from McDermott, he can never escape. McDermott is not only behind him, but also in him; in his mind.
Florida’s decline after her breakup with Judas and the impact of subsequent events pulls at the heartstrings with just the right amount of pathos. I found the telephone call from Florida’s sister to be among the most chilling chapters of the book. Easy banter, quickly replaced with unrestrained vitriol and a promise of rightful revenge to follow.
Heart-Shaped Box is another winner from the pen of Joe Hill.
Overtly graphic, unflinchingly morose and disturbingly dark, the characters are perfectly sculpted. “The Devil is in the details,” as they say and this is never truer than when describing Heart-Shaped Box. It is every bit as much of a psychological thriller as a paranormal tale of terror. It is always unpredictable, atmospheric throughout with taut tracts that will haunt you in your dreams.
The narrator Stephen Lang was engaging and performed his role with some élan. He managed to bring a sophistication and an angle to the tale by enhancing the written word and bringing the characters to life.
Listening to Heart-Shaped Box, there is an inevitability and a fatality to the whole thing; a feeling that you are on an out of control roller-coaster in Christmasland. Most perverse of all is; you never want to jump off until the ride is over.
Does Judas manage to prevent the death of those who help or support him? I guess you will have to listen or read for yourself to find out.
The whole package works. Just lay back, listen and let the story take you with the help of a fine up and coming writer and a magnificent narrator. If you love skillfully written tales of horror with a twist why not let Heart-Shaped Box be your next audiobook journey? With Hill’s work, the chills come as standard.
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