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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
4,3972781,116 (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 (265)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Romanian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (275)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
Joe Hill's first book, a story of an aging rocker who buys online a haunted suit. It is a great premise, and Joe Hill is a strong enough writer to keep this idea moving to the last page. This is a solid ghost story with lots to keep you up at night and a few twists as well. The goal of this book is to scare you with horror first and build its mythology as an aside. For this reason, I wish there was a little more explanation about the ghost's creation. I know why the ghost formed, the ghost's identity, etc., but I don't know enough about how the ghost came to be. I say this especially as a reader of his other works, such as Locke and Key and NOS4A2, which have very detailed and explicit mythologies to support their ghost stories. Joe Hill is a master craftsman when it comes to ghost. His book was a sound foundation; his cathedrals would come later. ( )
  DougGoodman | Apr 7, 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. :/ ( )
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
Very good book. It didn't feel like a debut novel at all and it kept me up past my bedtime reading. ( )
  Traciinaz | Mar 17, 2016 |
Well finished this book this morning. To be honest I liked Nos4 something better because it was my first book by him so quite a surprise. Maybe if I had read this book first I would have raved about this one.

Anyway I really liked it although I agree that the ending with his father was a bit mediocre. It could ave been a better plot but I liked the writing. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
Aging rock star Judas Coyne spends his retirement collecting morbid memorabillia such as a witch's confession, a real snuff film and, after being sent an e-mail directly about the item online, a dead man's suit. He is told, by the daughter, that the old man's spirit is attached to this funeral suit. The ghost will go wherever it does and so buying this suit would effectively be buying a poltergeist; Judas cannot pass up this opportunity. The suit soon arrives in a heart shaped box. Various odd occurrences alert Judas to the fact that the ghost is dangerous and is out to kill him and those around him. His assistant, Danny Wooten, quits realizing that the ghost of the suit will try to kill everyone around Jude, but not before contacting the woman who sent the suit. Jude finds out that the ghost was the father of a groupie, Florida (it is later revealed that her real name is Anna), whom he dated for a few months and who had later committed suicide. The ghost wanted revenge on Jude for causing Anna's death, as he saw it. His current girlfriend, Georgia(whose name is actually Marybeth), refuses to leave and together they run from the house with the ghost chasing them. The ghost's intention is to keep Jude away from his two dogs, Angus and Bon, as it turns out that dogs, as familiars, can protect their owners from the dead. But Georgia insists on taking the dogs with them. The animals save the couple several times, but the ghost eventually manages to kill both dogs. Jude and Georgia investigate and find out the true story about Florida. She did not commit suicide because of the breakup between her and Jude. Florida had many emotional problems and Jude had tried to help her but, in the end, he gave up. The reason she was so unstable was that she was being hypnotized and molested by her stepfather, the now dead and ghostly, Craddock McDermott. When Florida left Jude she had nowhere to go but back to her twisted family, but eventually she threatened to contact Jude to have him help her escape the incestuous relationship and file charges against Craddock and her elder sister, Jessica. They drove her to suicide to prevent her from doing so. At a later point, Craddock, a man knowledgeable in the dark arts, realized he was dying and planned with Jessica to get revenge on Judas. They believed that Judas had "ruined" Florida by making her reject her family and their incest. Craddock hexed the suit and once dead, Jessica set the plan in motion. After a series of gory battles between Judas Coyne and Craddock McDermott, Georgia finds the way to bring Florida back from the grave and help Jude fight her stepfather. In the end, the evil Craddock is vanquished, freeing Jude and Georgia from his cruel curse. The two make it through the horrendous event and happily marry.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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