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'Buy my stepfather's ghost' read the e-mail.
So Jude did.
He bought it, in the shape of the dead man's suit, delivered in a heart-shaped box, because he wanted it: because his fans ate up that kind of story. It was perfect for his collection: the genuine skulls and the bones, the real honest-to-God snuff movie, the occult books and all the rest of the paraphanalia that goes along with his kind of hard/goth rock.
But the rest of his collection doesn't make the house feel cold. The bones don't make the dogs bark; the movie doesn't make Jude feel as if he's being watched. And none of the artefacts bring a vengeful old ghost with black scribbles over his eyes out of the shadows to chase Jude out of his home, and make him run for his life ...
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.