Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals . . . a used hangman's noose . . . a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.
I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder. . . .
For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts—of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more?
But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.
And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door . . . seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang . . . standing outside his window . . . staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting—with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand. . . .
A multiple-award winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a blood-chilling roller-coaster ride of a novel, a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.
Stoker-winner Hill features a particularly merciless ghost in his\t\t powerful first novel. Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios\t\t for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online\t\t auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does\t\t Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of\t\t one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant\t\t spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide.\t\t Judas isn't quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes\t\t them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a\t\t fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations.\t\t Hill (20th Century Ghosts) gives his\t\t characters believably complex emotional lives that help to anchor the\t\t supernatural in psychological reality and prove that (as one character\t\t observes) "horror was rooted in sympathy." His subtle and skillful treatment of\t\t horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps\t\t make this a truly memorable debut.