Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

In Horror on May 23, 2010 at 12:31 am

Title: Heart-Shaped Box
Author:  Joe Hill
Genre: Horror
Rating: **/****

I had high hopes for this book being that the premise of a man collecting artifacts of the macabre seems like something sick I would do (if I had the money) & I was looking forward to reading a horror book. It’s been years since my last dose of terror in book-form, but I couldn’t find myself much engaged in this story. It’s about an aging rockstar named Judas Coyne (love the pun) who buys a ghost through an online auction for $1,000. The ghost arrives via a heart-shaped box with an old man’s suit inside.

Well, what Judas & his stripper girlfriend du jour Georgia find out is that this isn’t a harmless addition to the collection, it’s an actual ghost & it’s there on a mission. Now, this is where the story lost me & admittedly, it was very early in the book…the ghost wants to kill Judas & anyone who helps him, because the ghost is the stepfather of one of his past girlfriends Florida (names his women after states, making it easier to discard them). Florida later commits suicide, thus providing the motive for Mr. Ghosty’s revenge.

But…dun, dun, dun, we find out there is more to the story than we imagined & if I said anymore it would surely spoil the plot. It wasn’t my cup of tea, found it a bit dull at times & I was barely interested in the characters. However, I did like how the dogs Angus & Bon were vital to the plot.


This aint no Twilight… The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

In Sci-Fi, Vampire Novels/Series on January 2, 2010 at 5:23 am

The Strain

Title: The Strain (Book One of The Strain Trilogy)

Authors: Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Genre: Horror/Vampire/Thriller

Rating: ***/****


I am happy that I waited until the New Year to finish this book, because it has been a great way to open 2010!  I love vampires, but haven’t read many series or single novels in my time aside from the Southern Vampire Mysteries (AKA Sookie Stackhouse novels/True Blood novels), the Twilight series, & a few of Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles.   Hopefully, I’ll be re-reading those this year to review them, but with twenty-two holds in my library queue & another fourteen books (of various genres) to be read it may be a while.

The book opens with a bizarre incident at a NYC airport, a plane has landed on the tarmac, but has suddenly went offline completely.  There is no radio communication between the pilots, all the window shades are closed, & the lights are off.  The plane is dead!  Considering the tragedy of 9/11, the plethora of airport & government authorities are at a loss; hoping that nothing bad has happened to the passengers & crew.  Well, since we all know this is a horror novel, we’ve already realized that something bad has happened inside the plane.  But what protagonist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC finds isn’t fully understood nor explained by his scientific & medical knowledge.

What is this substance that seems to coat the walls of the plane?  Why are all the passengers dead when no toxic gas is present?  No appearance of a struggle?  What made all the passengers die on board–or who?

What I enjoyed about ‘The Strain’ was that Del Toro & Hogan didn’t paint a simple picture of a vampire invasion of a modern city.   The vampires start out as either humans who survived the flight or eventually, the dead who rise again, but they all end up as essentially humans who are infected with a virus.  Yes, it sounds like a lot like what we’ve seen in the ‘Blade’ series/films, but the authors fully develop the idea along with developing their characters.  These are not two-dimensional people: they have struggles with marriage, raising their children, minority marginalization, classism, & eventually with the doctors, medical ethics.  Plus, the infection is set against the backdrop of tragedies e.g. the holocaust & then post-9/11 NYC.  It shows a message of hope for people to unite after we are attacked.


Read more about ‘The Strain’ trilogy here at the official site: