The quick one word review for this book: GAAAAAAAAAH.Which is to say that the horror of Heart-Shaped Box and its details are done extremely effectively. It’s very hard to pull off such an evocative reaction on a debut novel, but Joe Hill pulls it off here. It’s creepy, ambiguous, and has a clearly terrifying villain. Also, so much of the horror aspect isn’t focused on how many kills and how gory things get, but rather reflects the dark side of humanity. It’s one of those books that facilitates leaving the lights on at night. And while the reveal does feel a little obvious, especially if you really catch on to it, it doesn’t lessen the impact of the book.I like that Jude’s complicated and is actually a bit of a prick. But not so much of a prick that you think he deserves what’s coming to him. He’s definitely someone with a past, has acknowledged that he’s made mistakes but doesn’t feel like he needs to harp about them—instead, Jude’s ready to accept his fate. He just doesn’t want anyone else being dragged down with him. You really do get the feeling that he did care about Anna and does love Marybeth, but given his past it’s hard to connect with them. The only thing I really wish that was built on was Jude’s family history, seeing as how much it plays into the climax. Marybeth, btw, is awesome. I love that she doesn’t put up with Jude’s crap, but is willing to help him out and figure out what really happened with Anna.And then there’s our villains. Oh dear God. Craddock’s description is creepy to begin with, the tall, lanky gentleman ghost with a razor. WHO WILL NOT STOP AT ANYTHING. Gaaah. While it feels a bit like of a cop-out to have his daughter, Jessica, reveal her intentions and reasons for sending Craddock to Jude, when you figure out what’s been really going on, it moves into the realm of completely disturbing. (This is my only warning for the book: do not read it if you’ve been sexually abused, because it’s triggering.) It’s one thing to think “Okay, Jessica’s upset because her sister’s dead, maybe things will turn out okay.” NO. Well, they do in the end, but not completely. And the horrifying about these two is that what they’re doing is very real, and sadly does happen all too often in real life. The ending does come out of left field a little, especially with Jude’s insistence that they have to return to his family house in Louisiana. That said though, this is one of the most intense books I’ve read. It’s very creepy, unsettling, disturbing—it hits all of the right horror notes. Highly recommended (aside from the aforementioned reasons), definitely check this one out.