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Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
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Heart-Shaped Box (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Joe Hill

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,3792731,126 (3.75)328
Member:civitas
Title:Heart-Shaped Box
Authors:Joe Hill (Author)
Info:Morrow (2007), Edition: Number Line: 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0, Paperback
Collections:Your library, books, have read, do
Rating:**1/2
Tags:.edition, =book, a: novel, fiction, genre: supernatural, genre: horror, century: 21st, written: 2011, _read: 2013, _cover (lt), _Lh???, •remove, =binding (tpb)

Work details

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)

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» See also 328 mentions

English (262)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Romanian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (273)
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
Couldn't put it down. And I loved all of the musical references. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
The story was unique and could have been very scary. It wasn't though, I idea was there but I did not feel the fear. Mr.Hill did not covey the feelings of terror that should have been attached to the characters. It just fell flat. I rated it higher that it deserved because of the uniqueness of the story. I would like to see it written by a more seasoned author. ( )
  TheYodamom | Jan 29, 2016 |
Jude is a 50 year old plus retired metal musician whose music still is loved by the teen and pre-teen crowd. In turn, he loves them. A lot. And each one for a brief period of time. He seems to focus on those who have been hurt, perhaps by parents, perhaps by society in general. Eventually somewhere in the relationship the girls bore him. He sends them away, but he made a mistake with Anna (aka Florida). She killed herself and Sister Jessica blames Jude. She decides that there must be revenge; Jude must pay with his life. The instrument for vengeance will be the father of Anna and Jessie. But he is dead. No problem, Jessie will just send her father’s ghost to Jude; a wrathful father will, for revenge, take Jude’s life.

When the ghost first appears, Jude is with his latest girl, Marybeth (aka Georgia). She feels an imminent separation is coming, although she is still in love. She becomes an important ally of Jude’s in the fight with the ghost. Other important allies are grandma Bammy, a couple of dogs, and Jude’s comatose father. Father Craddock (the vengeful ghost) is not the only ghost popping in and out of the sensibilities of Jude and Georgia. There is also Anna, Craddock’s daughter who committed suicide. There is a lot of shifting realities between inhabitants of the dead and the living. The shifting is sometimes aided and sometimes inhibited by music.

This is a very fast moving story that demands reader attention. When there are so many strange and weird things happening at the same time, I tend to read faster. That is not something to do with this book. There are many important clues and seemingly off-hand comments that are not hidden in the story, but they seem to occur in the middle of fast action segments. It was easy for me to miss them and I found myself going back to make some connections. And then there is the humor which I found mostly in dialogues. It was quite, and well, understated and dry, or even droll. I frequently stopped just to appreciate some of the humor.

After finishing this book, I read the preview pages for other Joe Hill books. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were not just clones of Heart Shaped Box. This led me to the author pages and more Joe Hill books. I recommend this for the genre “weird.” ( )
  ajarn7086 | Jan 27, 2016 |
Jude is a rockstar, he's also a bit of a man skank. He's on who know what number woman in his life, when a ghost from his past comes back to haunt him.

I found this book alright. It wasn't my favorite. It honestly took me forever to get through it. I rushed through the last part of it just to finish it. I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone. :/ ( )
  alwelker | Jan 25, 2016 |
Jude is a rockstar, he's also a bit of a man skank. He's on who know what number woman in his life, when a ghost from his past comes back to haunt him.

I found this book alright. It wasn't my favorite. It honestly took me forever to get through it. I rushed through the last part of it just to finish it. I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone. :/ ( )
  alwelker | Jan 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
"Heart-Shaped Box" truly deserves the superlatives heaped upon it by the publicists who smoothed the path of this first novel's advent.
 
Simply put, this is the best debut novel I have read in years.
 
Hill masterfully keeps the action moving and the drama escalating, giving readers just enough revelations to keep them on board this Southern train of a ghost story.
 
While I would not go so far as to hand Joe Hill his father's crown just yet, this debut is a promising start. It's safe to say a new contender for the throne has arrived.
 
Heart-Shaped Box isn't about appeasing fathers, and learning to love them, and seeing that they, too, are human beings and not monsters. It's not about that at all. It's about knowing your father, and finding him, and then killing him. That's what the best artists do.
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hill, Joeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Belt, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolstad, HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Müller, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mortensen, Hans PalleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosier, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sierra, Julio A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
How may the dead have destinations?

—Alan Moore, Voice of the Fire
Dedication
For my dad, one of the good ones
First words
Jude had a private collection.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios, so he doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Jude discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide. Judas and his girlfriend take to the road in an attempt to run from the ghost and to find a way to stop it.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061147931, Hardcover)

Do you sleep with the light on? Are you in the habit of checking your doors and windows before you go to bed? Maybe even checking under your bed? If you are about to crack open Joe Hill's chilling thriller Heart-Shaped Box, you might want to rethink your nighttime habits--Hill's story about an aging rock star (with a penchant for macabre artifacts) who buys a haunted suit online will scare you silly. But don't take our word for it. We asked bestselling authors (and masters of dark terror tales themselves) Scott Smith, and Harlan Coben to read Heart-Shaped Box and give us their take. Check out their reviews below, and you might want to pick up a nightlight while you're at it. --Daphne Durham
Guest Reviewer: Scott Smith

In 1993, Scott Smith wowed readers with his stunning debut thriller, A Simple Plan. Thirteen years later, he spooked us again with The Ruins, a horror-thriller about four Americans traveling in Mexico who stumble across a nightmare in the jungle.

The set-up for Joe Hill's novel, Heart-Shaped Box, is appealingly simple. Jude Coyne, an aging rock star, buys himself a dead man's suit. He acquires it online, lured by the promise that the dead man's ghost will be included in his purchase. Jude thinks this is a joke, of course. He also assumes the seller is a stranger. We soon discover that he's wrong on both counts, however, and from this point on the story moves with an exhilarating urgency. Jude wants the ghost gone; the ghost wants Jude dead. We watch, chapter-by-chapter, as they battle for survival. "Watch" is the appropriate word, too, because this is an extremely visual book. Hill's prose is lean and precise, and he renders Jude's world with impressive confidence. It feels solid, every detail both correct and fresh. And this physicality provides a firm platform for the book's otherworldly happenings, which seem all the more frightening for being so securely grounded.

Hill has a flawless sense of pacing. His narrative never flags, nor does it ever move so quickly as to outrun itself. And one can sense his literary ambition pushing at the margins of the genre. There are times when his writing, for all its spare efficiency, seems to jump away from him, stopping one small step short of poetry. An e-mail to Jude from the ghost (trust me, it's not as absurd as it sounds) could even pass for something ee cummings might've written, in an especially morbid mood. And toward the end of the book, when Hill describes a trip down death's "night road" in a '65 Mustang, the passage has a startlingly lyrical beauty.

The story's horror ultimately has as much to do with Jude Coyne's past--his mistakes, abandonments and betrayals--as with anything supernatural. Jude has caused a lot of pain over the years, moving through life with a carelessness that verges on the callous. His battle with the ghost brings this behavior into sharp relief, forcing him to reflect upon his own capacity for cruelty. This dawning self-awareness leavens the book's bleakness and gore (and it is delightfully gory in places) with an unexpected sweetness. Despite our initial impression, Jude is gradually revealed--both to himself and the reader--as an essentially decent, even kind man. It's this kindness, this fledgling ability to love and be loved, that will ultimately be of crucial consequence in his death struggle with the ghost. And it's what makes Hill's debut not only well-written and terrifying, but also--as it draws to its close--surprisingly moving. So go ahead, take a chance, and open his Heart-Shaped Box. I think you’ll be happy you did. --Scott Smith


Guest Reviewer: Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is the author of the beloved Myron Bolitar series about a wisecracking sports agent, as well as stunning stand-alone novels like The Innocent and his breakout thriller Tell No One. His new novel The Woods releases on April 17, 2007.

You, dear reader, are obviously somewhat versed in making online purchases, so today, immediately after you click on the yellow "Add to Shopping Cart" on the top right hand corner of this page, why not do an online search and buy something totally unique?

Like, say, a vengeful ghost.

That is what rock-star Judas Coyne does, thinking it will be a laugh, fun for his "sick-o" collection of such things. It seems a random buy, but Judas soon learns that it is anything but. This particular ghost is one Craddock McDermott, step-father to recent suicide victim and boy, is he cranky. He demands revenge for his step-daughter’s death, which he blames on Judas’s shabby treatment of her.

Or is he after something else?

There are Amazon readers who will give you a better plot summary. Don't read them too closely because Joe Hill provides plenty of fun surprises. Heart-Shaped Box is a true spine-tingler. I don’t use that hyphenated word much anymore. We have seen and read it all, haven't we? But right away, in the first chapter, there was a subtle line that made the hairs on the back of my neck go up in a way I haven't experienced since I first discovered great horror as a teenager.

Hill writes with a sure hand. The prose is compelling. Like most memorable tales of horror, this book is more about redemption than scary moments--though Heart-Shaped Box has plenty of scares. They are visceral, shocking and very well done. The characters are flawed and real. The father-son relationship adds texture and surprising poignancy.

So here's the thing. My guess is, you won’t find a ghost to buy online, but if you read the Heart-Shaped Box, you will be getting something that will haunt you and startle you and stay with you and yes, visit you in your dreams.

Sleep well, dear reader. --Harlan Coben


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A collector of obscure and macabre artifacts, unscrupulous metal band musician Judas Coyne is unable to resist purchasing a ghost over the Internet, which turns out to be the vengeful spirit of his late girlfriend's stepfather.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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