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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
4,0432521,259 (3.75)316
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, do: weed
Rating:**1/2
Tags:a: book, a: novel, fiction, genre: supernatural, genre: horror, 21st Century, written: 2011, {read: 2013}, {cover: LT}, {L:H???}

Work details

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)

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» See also 316 mentions

English (240)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  Romanian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (252)
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
A really good haunting story. Characters are alright and the settings are good, but the ghosts are the draw. Explained well and given quite a bit of depth. ( )
  adam.d.woodard | Feb 23, 2015 |
Heart Shaped Box (2007)

by Joe Hill

9 audio discs

contemporary fiction, horror, paranormal

-------

This was a token effort to step out of my reading box.
Horror is not a genre I usually choose.

Well narrated, creepy....
Very descriptive...Very easy to visually interpret the story.

If it wasn't made into a movie...it should have been

The narration was good and in Stephen King type fashion, a few LA LA LA's
(if you've listened to his books narrated, you know what I mean)
sent a chill up my spine.

★ ★ ★ ★
( )
  pennsylady | Jan 14, 2015 |
Can you buy a ghost? Would you want to? Judas Coin, rock and roll singer not only wants to, but does in this novel. He buys it by purchasing online the suit of a dead man, and it comes to his door in a heart-shaped box.

But what happens with the ghost is more than he bargained for. As it turns out, this is the ghost of his ex-girlfriend's step father. He learns too late that his ex (who he sent away when she got too 'crazy') has killed herself, and that this ghost is sent to haunt him until he, too, dies.

Of course there is more to it than that....

It was an interesting read, but there are some holes. ( )
  csweder | Jan 8, 2015 |
It's been a while since I took on a horror novel and I realized how much I missed this kind if horror when I immersed myself in this one. I had actually started this a while back but stopped because it creeped me out as bedtime reading. I'm glad I decided to tackle it again. I quickly got hooked and I enjoyed the fast-paced novel very much. I'm looking forward to reading Joe Hill's other works! ( )
  thioviolight | Oct 30, 2014 |
Joe Hill’s first novel is an enjoyable enough—if at times uneven—diversion. He builds upon a clever premise (What would happen if you bought a ghost on the Internet?) and fashions a tale about an aging rocker—Jude, the main character—who achieves redemption by avenging the evil misdeeds of the ghost he “buys.”

The tale features many aspects of the classic hero myth, with Jude as our unlikely champion. When he is first visited by the ghost, he is reluctant to battle it but eventually embarks upon a journey in order to defeat it. That journey outward leads him home and is, of course, actually a journey inward, for—by redeeming the evil misdeeds of the ghost—he ultimately redeems himself. He encounters damsels in distress and receives supernatural assistance via the spirit animals of his two pet dogs (Angus and Bon—yes, references to AC/DC). There’s even an element of the Oedipus myth thrown in for good measure.

In all, “Heart-Shaped Box” is a fun read and eclipses the by-the-numbers formula of many a ghost story. My hope is that this novel is a mere appetizer for heartier subsequent novels. ( )
  jimrgill | Sep 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 240 (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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