Saturday, December 08, 2007

Best of 2007: Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts

It's the end of the year, and it's time to reflect on the best books of 2007. Several of our staff members have made their selections - feel free to tell us your favorite book published in 2007 by clicking on the comments link below. Read on for fellow blogger David's recommendations.

Fans of horror and dark fantasy in 2007 saw not one, but two books published by newcomer Joe Hill that earn him my recommendation for the “Best of 2007”.

His novel, Heart-shaped Box concerns an aging rock star with a penchant for collecting macabre items. When Jude Coyne buys a dead man’s suit off an internet auction site, the titular heart-shaped box also provides Jude with a vengeful ghost out to extract revenge for his past sins. The resultant struggles of Jude staving off the ghost’s worst intentions while coming to terms with his past behavior offers a compellingly creepy story.

Hill’s second book of 2007 is his Bram Stoker Award [Horror Writers Association] winning collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts. First published in Britain in 2005, the collection itself, as well as one of the stories “Best New Horror”, won Bram Stoker awards for that year. From the misadventures of a horror writer to a human locust; from an inflatable boy to a schizophrenic builder of elaborate basement cardboard box mazes who helps out his older brother and a movie loving ghost that haunts a movie theater, 20th Century Ghosts provides a number of eerie, spooky treats to read. Any story collection that elicits an audible “oh no” or two from me when I didn’t see the tale’s twist coming earns the highest praise that I can give to a storyteller.

Joe Hill has set high marks with his initial one-two punch from his first two books. I suspect he is a writer to keep an eye on, given his subject matter, perhaps two eyes would be safer!

He has a website at and while I thought that I’d let him stand on his own, did you know that Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King? Case of the apple not falling far from the tree!

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