This book took me a little longer to read than anthologies typically do because I wanted to savor it. I was really hoping that my enjoyment of Horns
wasn't an isolated incident and that Joe Hill is really as good as that book indicates. He's not just as good as Horns
, though, he's better. He really knows how to get down deep inside you and start the creepy crawlies going up your skin. Even when a story really shouldn't be so scary, even when in the hands of another author you might be able to giggle at the plot. Everything, from the actual presentation of the book (with its cloth cover and deckle edged paper and creepy photo on the front) to the hidden story in the Acknowledgements, to Christopher Golden's introduction and the stories themselves, is wonderful.
I mean, come on. The guy takes a story about an inflatable boy - literally, a boy who is blown up, like a balloon, who has to carefully move through life so as not to pop - and makes you really care about him. In another, you have a teenager turning into an insect, a ghost haunting a movie theater, a child whose only hope to survive his kidnapping is to listen to ghostly voices on a broken telephone... and stories that don't have quite so much horror, like Better Than Home, a love story about a boy and his dad and baseball. It doesn't have to be scary for Joe Hill to make it poignant, to make it fit a collection of creepy stories.
I want to rush right into Heart-Shaped Box