Author: Joe Hill
Publisher: William Morrow
Number of Pages: 374
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, E-Book, Audio
Rating Scale: 4Q, 5P
Links to Author’s Website and Interviews
Links to Reviews
Buying a ghost over the internet, where’s the harm in that?
The book begins with Judas, a former rock star who has an interest in occult items. His assistant finds a listing online to purchase a ghost. Judas jumps at the chance and buys a suit that the ghost is supposed to be attached to. When the suit arrives, it comes in a heart-shaped box, and Judas almost immediately begins to realize his mistake. Strange things begin to happen, such as his girlfriend, Georgia, getting pricked while touching the suit. Judas also begins to see ghost, whom he realizes is intent on making him kill himself and those around him.
I thought this was a really solid horror novel. I wasn’t sure in the beginning, as I don’t usually gravitate toward unlikeable protagonists. However, I was pleased with the direction of Judas’ character. I loved the fact that this was a redemption novel for him and that it was as much about him overcoming his demons as it was about the ghost. I was also pleasantly surprised by the character of Georgia. From the beginning, I had her pegged as an annoying character who would meet their doom fairly quickly. However, I really enjoyed seeing how many layers she really had. She quickly became my favorite character in the book. The only issue I had with the novel is that I felt some of the scenes in the middle dragged a bit. However, I think this might have to do with the fact that I was eager to learn exactly what the motivation was behind the ghost’s malevolence.
Atmospheric, creepy, character-driven
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Saint Odd by Dean Koontz
Awards & Lists
Bram Stoker Awards: Best First Novel
Locus Awards: First Novel
The Reading List (RUSA): 2008
Thriller Awards (International Thriller Writers): Best First Novel
- Discuss Judas’ relationship with his father.
- Discuss Judas’ character development over the course of the novel.
Justification of Selection
This was the pick for the horror discussion group. At first, I was a little wary because I usually dislike reading books with an unlikable protagonist, but I was happily surprised by the main character, Judas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would definitely read other books by Joe Hill.