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

by Joe Hill (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,839None1,340 (3.76)304
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 owned, Have Read
Rating:**1/2
Tags:a: book, a: novel, fiction, genre: supernatural, genre: horror, 21st Century, written: 2011, {read: 2013}, {L:H33}, {cover: LT}

Work details

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)

2007 (27) 2008 (28) audiobook (24) ebook (30) fiction (393) first edition (20) ghost stories (66) ghosts (254) hardcover (24) hauntings (32) horror (730) Joe Hill (27) Kindle (21) library (19) musicians (28) mystery (45) novel (44) own (28) paranormal (30) read (75) read in 2007 (26) read in 2008 (37) revenge (31) signed (33) suicide (20) supernatural (89) suspense (64) thriller (82) to-read (78) unread (29)
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English (232)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (243)
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
A dark intriguing novel about an aging rock star that has to deal with the repercussions of purchasing a ghost with a vendetta.

Heart Shaped Box is a story with rich descriptive prose. In the beginning I felt the prose was a bit convoluted and it took me a quarter of the book to get used to the author’s style. The detailed prose controlled the pacing of the story allowing a deeper sensory immersion. I felt an odd disconnection with the main character perhaps because he was in his head most of the time with very little dialogue. I ended up caring more for his dogs and the secondary characters. All the characters had interesting back stories that I enjoyed reading about. The horror elements were heavy in the beginning bordering on surreal then dulled to interweave with the more mundane atrocities humans are capable of. The vivid details and symbolism left a strong impression. Overall, I enjoyed the story and was surprised by the pleasant ending. ( )
  eloquent_codex | Apr 14, 2014 |
Took a while for me to get into it - and he writes a hell of a lot like his dad - and there seemed to be a lot of driving around... but eventually it all comes together and by the end I was pretty glad I stayed with it. It certainly got better and more engrossing as the story progressed. The lead character, Judas, an ex-metal band lead singer and guitarist in his fifties, buys a 'ghost' on line in a heart-shaped box to go with his kooky and disturbing collection of memorabilia (that kind of goes with his job). But when the ghost turns out to be real, and he finds he was persuaded to buy it as part of a twisted revenge plot, he has to find a way to stop the ghost from killing everyone he holds dear - including himself. ( )
  Dalziel | Mar 30, 2014 |
A good book in parts, full of interesting characters. There were bits that seemed to lag, but overall it was well written and flowed well. Not really my usual cup of tea what with ghosts and malevolent spirits, but I enjoyed the main character Judas Coyne, which was quite different from your usual fictional character, being a rock star with all the trappings of life that this brings. I found myself feeling for Judas and Marybeth by the end and hoping that they would be ok.

I may well look to more works by this author. ( )
  fothpaul | Mar 24, 2014 |
One of the best books that I have read in a LONG time. It takes you places you didn't think you were going and turns somewhere else just when you've figured out where you are. For those with a penchant for suspense/horror/supernatural novels, this is a MUST read.

Joe Hill is actually Stephen King's son ... but this book is all his own. Definitely a force in his own right. Lovelovelove. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
This is the first Joe Hill book I've read, and I had great expectations for a nice dip in a horror story. I'm afraid it let me down a bit. Initially, despite a suit that comes with its own malevolent ghost, it is not very horrifying, just kind of nasty and disgusting. I really don't want to read about snuff films or misogynistic, washed-up rock stars.

Of course, there was a quest, and the story became more interesting as did the characters. In the end, it was fairly entertaining, more gore than horror, and a decent but not especially memorable horror story. ( )
1 vote TooBusyReading | Feb 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 232 (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.
 
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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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:24 -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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