Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Joe Hill's parents

I've got a review of Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box forthcoming which, unless the book falls apart near the end, is likely to be a rave.

I have no intention in writing about anything but the book in my review, yet there's some buzz about who the author's father is, so I'll mention that here to (1) get it out of the way and (2) perhaps attract a few more readers to a book that I'm very much enjoying.

The following is from an article in the Independent (U.K.) about the recent explosion in horror novels (not that all the authors liked being grouped in that genre).

Even Stephen King's son Joe Hill appears to be eschewing the label, despite writing a novel aimed at scaring the bejesus out of readers. The trade buzz surrounding Hill's debut Heart-Shaped Box is such that proofs were being snapped up long before the secret of his parentage slipped out and are now appearing on eBay, something that usually only happens to established stars.

"It's a hot proof," enthuses Michael Rowley, horror aficionado and Waterstone's buyer. "It is not because of whose son he is. It is a very good book and is very interesting as a first novel, a little bit different."

Already a legend has grown around Heart-Shaped Box. Hill kept his parentage secret for 10 years, choosing to be known among the horror cognoscenti as a writer of chilling short stories, as Steve Jones, editor of the Mammoth Book of Horror and Hill's first publisher in the UK, recalls: "I first published his short stories four years ago and had no idea who he was until last year when the story broke. He was such a good writer he stood out anyway."

Jo Fletcher, Hill's editor at Gollancz, also claims not to have known who he was until after she paid "a realistic, not over-the-top" advance for his novel. "We were already getting amazing reactions to the book within the trade before anyone realised who he was," says Fletcher, buzzing at the thought that she may have one of the hits of the year on her hands. "No disrespect to his father, who is an amazing writer, but Joe has the freshness of youth."

Read the entire article. It includes the following list:


Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Gollancz, March) Stephen King's son turns out to be sexier, smarter and cooler than his dad with this tale about a fading death metal star who buys a ghost over the internet.

The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliot (Quercus, Jan) Slacker Jamie finds himself in a circus run by a werewolf who is in an eternal battle with his brother, George. Spins circus stereotypes into a comic tale with a horrific edge.

Already Dead by Charlie Huston (Orbit, Feb) Zombies threaten New York's vampire community, and it's up to one rogue bloodsucker to investigate. Philip Marlow meets Lestat as crime noir turns spooky.

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (Canongate, March) 'Donnie Darko' meets 'Memento' and 'Jaws'. Eric Sanderson wakes up, his memory gone, then starts to receive letters sent by himself before his blackout. He is also being hunted by a conceptual shark. A postmodern spin on horror with a hip, Alex Garland vibe.

The Terror by Dan Simmons (Bantam, Feb) Science fiction writer turns to horror with tale of an 1845 Arctic expedition that goes wrong as an entity picks off the sailors, man by man.

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert (Bantam, April) Contemporary Gothic romantic chiller has Londoner Gabriel Blackstone using his psychic gifts to help his ex-lover.

Darkside by Tom Becker (Scholastic, Jan) Atmospheric tale of London ruled by the offspring of Jack the Ripper. A contender for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, it has 'crossover' written all over it.

--Marshal Zeringue