Drink to the Dead

Yesterday I received a peculiar package.  It was from thriftbooks.com, a site I’d not heard of until that very moment, and it contained, as you would expect, a book.  That book is a hardcover copy of “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill – an excellent piece of modern horror, and one I’d recommend to just about anyone, but especially to those pining for something better in that particular genre.   His short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, is also incredibly excellent.

Right.  There’s my plug for the day.  Now on with what happened . . .

There’s this book.  Thing is, I didn’t order it.  I double checked my accounts to make sure it wasn’t a case of fraud (and, even if it was, what a weird incident of fraud – since when would a scammer or phisher swipe my info to send me a book, y’know?).  Nope, no money missing.  Someone must’ve sent it to me.

So I’m here to ask you:  did one of you purchase this book and have it sent to me?  If so, thank you.  If not, well, continue reading on so you can laugh at my paranoia.

I began by comparing the edition I have with the one in the mail.  They’re both hardcover, but with some stark differences.  For starters, this new copy’s jacket is printed on glossy paper (my copy is on matte), it’s smaller in size (about the size of a trade paperback), and is missing various monograms from the publisher.  It’s also missing the Library of Congress cataloging data and the edition number.   On a whim, I’d say it’s an advance reader copy – the kind sent out months prior to publication for the sake of reviews.  Usually those copies are also pre-approved galley proofs, and they’re marked as such.  This one is not.

On the other hand, it also has the markings of being a bootleg of sorts, though why someone would want to bootleg a novel (and go to such expensive pains to do so) is beyond me.  Bear in mind that this possibility is way out in left field – so far out that it’s impractical and highly improbable, but you never know.

At first I was confused, but that quickly transformed to being creeped out.  If you’ve read the novel, you can probably see the connection; if you haven’t, I’ll throw you a bone.  The book’s about an aging rock star who buys the suit of a dead man on the internet with the promise that his ghost will come it.  It arrives in a black, heart-shaped box and, with it, his ghost which proceeds to try and kill him out of revenge for events I won’t reveal.  Seriously, it’s a great novel, written by Stephen King’s son, and I’m happy to report Mr. Hill is a much better writer than his father.  So, now you can see the connection I made here.  Who would send me this book?  Being an internet dweller, I’ve made my share of enemies over the years.  A number of people run through my mind, but honestly, why this?  A message?  A warning?

Or, as everyone else I’ve told has suggested, maybe it’s just a random act of kindness.  Which is why I prefaced this by saying thanks.  But, if someone doesn’t step forward and claim this act of kindness, I’m going to send it back, as I feel weird about accepting anonymous gifts – especially ones about pissed off spirits coming back to kill others.

In other news, you’ve probably noticed the site’s loading a lot faster.  You can thank the scripting prowess of my loving wife.  Parts of the site will be appearing and disappearing in the coming days due to small updates.  The look may not change, but stuff under the hood is definitely being tuned up.

Until next time,


3 thoughts on “Drink to the Dead

  1. I’ll agree, that’s definitely weird, but I think the book has more value in your possession as a story in and of itself, than it does returned to sender. That’s just me, and of course being a man of science and little (or no) faith, I don’t believe in attaching bad mojo to a book. If I were a man of faith, there would be a tremendous amount of mojo, both good and bad attached to *that* book (you know the one I mean), however that’s another story entirely.

    Your opinion of the matters, of course, may differ.

    I’ll be curious if anyone steps forward to claim it. Random acts of anonymous kindness have a wont to stay as such; sometimes anonymous givers for reasons of good, wish to stay that way. There’s a saying that has much to do with gift horses, and mouths, and how not to regard them.

    (And for the record, it had nothing to do with me, but if it did (and it didn’t) I wouldn’t say a thing)

  2. I’d say just pass it onward to someone you think would like it, especially since you already have a copy. (You know, someone you wouldn’t feel too guilty about if the evil presence in the book tries to kill ’em)
    Sounds like a cool story to me, though, and I’ll have to read it sometime. I’m a bookstore employee now, and get to use the store as my own personal library. Bitchin, eh?

  3. Nope, not me, though I recommend the book to anyone still not convinced it’s great (:

    I agree with Steve, keep it for the idea associated with it if not the book itself.

Comments are closed.