Heart Shaped Box

I still can’t quite make up my mind completely about ‘Locke and Key’ writer Joe Hill’s debut novel.
Coming from an enviable horror heritage, Hill is Stephen King’s son but chose to eschew his famous surname in favour of making a writing career off of his own back. Admirable; but unfortunately he looks just like King so it wasn’t long before the peoples of the internet cottoned on.
Anyway, HSB is the story of ageing rock star Judas Coyne and his girlfriend Marybeth (‘Georgia’). Judas buys a dead man’s suit off the internet to add to his gruesome collection of artifacts, but it is soon revealed that the suit is haunted by its owner. Turns out that the dead man was the step father of Judas’s ex girlfriend Anna and the suit has been sent to him by her sister as an act of revenge for Judas dumping Anna and her subsequent suicide.
Said ghost is a nasty bastard and haunts Jude and Georgia; making them hurt each other and threatening that he will not leave until they are both dead. I won’t spoil the plot too much but needless to say it all gets a lot worse and gory and scary. But I’m not here to spoil the story. Hill’s writing is engaging and beautifully written and un-put-down able in every sense. I even read on the bus despite travel sickness!
I only have one major criticism and that’s clichés. There are a lot. Oh and the strangely written flashback to Georgia in her stripper days felt a bit like a nerd’s wet dream. I never felt particularly involved with the character of Jude and despite what some of the staplines claim (Neil Gaiman’s included) this book is rather forgettable. Other than that though, this is a fairly good first novel. Probably not a timeless classic but well deserving of its New York Times bestseller status. For now, I’m waiting and seeing what else Mr Hill has in store.