"I mentioned when I started the RIP Challenge that I don't do horror. I can't watch it on TV and in movies. And I definitely can't read about it (I don't count anything with vampires because those just aren't scary to me). Still, I figured that to get into the spirit of the RIP Challenge itself, I needed to broaden my horizons and pick up something scary. Other bloggers mentioned Heart-Shaped Box, and it somehow found its way into my home. [return][return]It took me a while to read. Almost from the first page, I found that I literally had to put down the book after so many pages because I just couldn't take the tense or the dread anymore. I was never truly scared to the point where I double-checked all locks and windows and couldn't sleep well at night, but I approached the book each and every time with apprehension as I wondered what else was going to be thrown at the reader.[return][return]Mr. Hill tells one scary ghost story. Rather than making Jude and the other characters the caricatures that you so often find in horror films, the reader sympathizes with them and roots for them. They grow and develop beyond the aging rock star and his much younger fangirl girlfriend. There was a bit of a mystery to solve that, to me, was unexpected. In addition, there was just a touch of romance and love that was again unexpected and touching in its simplicity.[return][return]Combined together, it makes for a compelling story. Craddock is the perfect evil ghost. The fantasy is not overdone, but only adds to the overall story. While it isn't a genre that I would normally pick up without some prompting, I would not hesitate to pick up another book by Mr. Hill. For someone who doesn't like horror, this is the highest complement I can bestow.[return][return]And with that, I have officially completed the RIP Challenge IV. However, because I'm having so much fun reading spooky stories, I'm going to keep going and see how many of those on my TBR pile I can cross off while adding to my challenge tally!"