By Will Boisvert
February 09, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Heart-Shaped Box

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In Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, aging rocker Judas Coyne collects the usual macabre accoutrements of a heavy metal demigod: an occult library, a snuff film, and pale young Goth groupies to despoil and discard. When he smirkily buys a ghost in an online auction, he encounters something far darker than his own black-leather-and-Doc Martens nihilism: the vengeful spirit of a deceased ex-girlfriend’s stepdad, hypnotically goading him to murder and suicide. Erupting out of mundane surroundings, the shocks in Hill’s riveting debut novel can be lurid and blood-drenched, or as quietly chilling as a casual phone call from an old, dead friend.

Heart-Shaped Box

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