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Heart-Shaped Box (2007)

by Joe Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,8453701,389 (3.74)402
The remarkable debut novel by a new master of dark fantasy...Heart-Shaped Box Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is widely known. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet. I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder.... For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts-of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more? But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing. And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door... seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting-with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand.... A multiple-award winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.… (more)
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» See also 402 mentions

English (361)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  Romanian (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (370)
Showing 1-5 of 361 (next | show all)
Good writing about overly gruesome stuff; i wanted to like it; but not my cup of tea!
  JosephKing6602 | Apr 1, 2024 |
Another brilliant story from Joe Hill. Depicts a rock star lifestyle, and almost reads like a biography, with all the drugs, the music, the guitars, the fans, even down to the broken fingers Judas Coyne received as a child from his father's abuse. He meets some interesting characters on his journey though America; twins Bammy (short for Alabama) and Ruth, and his girlfriend Anna (to name just three) who aren't all living. References to Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and more; the title comes from the Nirvana song, and the parts of the novel are each named after classic rock’n’roll songs (Black Dog, Ride On, Hurt, and Alive). Also literary references to Poe, Alan Moore, Alistair Crowley, Colin Dexter Ward; and the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. Enjoyable original story of the rock star who's money could buy him anything - even a ghost, which turns out to haunt him and tries to kill him more than once. ( )
  AChild | Mar 31, 2024 |
3.5 Stars ( )
  moonlit.shelves | Mar 5, 2024 |
okay so I started this book as a paperback at the airport years ago. a friend of mine asked me a few days ago what to read and I recommended this to her. I decided to give it a shot. finished it in 3 days. cant say its My favorite book but it was different I enjoyed it
  b00kdarling87 | Jan 7, 2024 |
Joe Hill's debut horror novel is wild, violent, disturbing, macabre fun. Much has been made of the kinship of Hill and his superstar father, Stephen King, but Heart-Shaped Box proves Hill can stand on his own two feet. Horror is totally the family business, or so it seems.

And while Heart-Shaped Box may not be Joe Hill's best novel, it certainly shows his astounding promise.

So what is it all about? The story is about an aging, retired rocker named Judas Coyne (Judas Priest and Flaming Lips combo maybe?) who is living his disturbing and sad life with his current girlfriend, Georgia. Judas also happens to collect items of the macabre (no biggie). So when he buys a ghost on-line, he gets more than he bargained for, as the ghost, which arrives by way of a used suit in a heart-shaped box, is no benign spirit. It's out for revenge and will kill anyone who stands in the way of said vengeance. The suit and the ghost did not come to Coyne by happenstance. The ghost immediately gets into Coyne’s head, urging him to murder Georgia and then commit suicide. Coyne and Georgia resist the temptations but not everyone is immune to the evil influence. Judas' assistant, Danny Wooten, kills himself, but not before contacting the woman who sent the suit. Jude finds out that the ghost was the stepfather of a groupie, Florida, whom Jude lived with for a few months and who had later committed suicide. The ghost holds Judas responsible for Florida's death and wants revenge. Jude flees his house with his current girlfriend, Georgia, with the ghost in hot pursuit. Can they find the answers they seek? The reconciliation they need? Can they fight for Flordia's memory? Can they defeat such evil?

As debuts go, Heart-Shaped Box is solid. But this isn't my first book from Joe Hill and I can't help but think other works by him are a bit better. This book seemed to ride on the style of his father a little too much. This isn't a bad thing per se but rather, just an observation.

This being said, Heart-Shaped Box becomes a very riveting story. I was impressed with Joe Hill's ability to cause me to really dislike Jude and Georgia at the beginning of the novel and how by the ending of the novel, I had grown to sympathize with them and was rooting for them to survive. I was not ecstatic early on about the premise, mainly because I didn't care for Judas as a character. He was such a jerk! Yet, as he took responsibility for his actions throughout the novel and listed his regrets I grew to appreciate him as a character. The supernatural aspect of the book was intriguing and is always one of the things I think Joe Hill does extremely well. Craddock in a way reminded me of Freddie Krueger, as the hostile ghost sets out to destroy Coyne and all those he holds dear.

Heart-Shaped Box is not for the faint of heart. Read at your own peril.

Trigger warnings: suicide, abusive relationships, depression, drug use.

( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 361 (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.
 
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.
 
Hill’s debut novel is as assured a debut novel as I have ever read, regardless of genre. Heart-Shaped Box, itself an entertaining and superb novel, offers hints of a great writing career to come.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hill, Joeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Belt, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolstad, HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lang, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Müller, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mortensen, Hans PalleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosier, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sierra, Julio A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

Editora Sextante (2007), Arqueiro (2010)
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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.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the Portuguese (Brazil) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

The remarkable debut novel by a new master of dark fantasy...Heart-Shaped Box Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is widely known. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet. I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder.... For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts-of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more? But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing. And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door... seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting-with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand.... A multiple-award winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.

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