Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box

Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre -- his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman's noose, Aleister Crowley's childhood chessboard, etc. -- so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bi...

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Title:Heart-Shaped Box
Author:Joe Hill
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Heart-Shaped Box Reviews

  • megs_bookrack

    Hey. Hey you! Are you looking for an original ghost story to read this month? I would like to put forth

    as a contender. Original and just damn cool, this is the perfect Spooktober read!

    Gritty ghost story I had to keep reminding myself was not written by Stephen King. Joe Hill is such a fantastic writer - he writes with such persuasion and conviction that you find yourself believing what the narrator is telling you. You can dive right into this one and never lo

    Hey. Hey you! Are you looking for an original ghost story to read this month? I would like to put forth

    as a contender. Original and just damn cool, this is the perfect Spooktober read!

    Gritty ghost story I had to keep reminding myself was not written by Stephen King. Joe Hill is such a fantastic writer - he writes with such persuasion and conviction that you find yourself believing what the narrator is telling you. You can dive right into this one and never look up if you allow yourself. This was creative and fast-paced and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

  • Dan Schwent

    When aging rocker Judas Coyne buys a ghost on the internet, he doesn't take it seriously. That is, until a musty old suit shows up in a heart-shaped box. Soon, Judas begins to see the horrifying spectre of a man wearing the suit. Things take a sinister turn and people start dying so Judas and his girlfriend Georgia go looking for the woman who sold him the suit, the sister of his deceased ex-girlfriend. Can Judas stop the man in the suit from destroying his life?

    After NOS4A2, I thought it best t

    When aging rocker Judas Coyne buys a ghost on the internet, he doesn't take it seriously. That is, until a musty old suit shows up in a heart-shaped box. Soon, Judas begins to see the horrifying spectre of a man wearing the suit. Things take a sinister turn and people start dying so Judas and his girlfriend Georgia go looking for the woman who sold him the suit, the sister of his deceased ex-girlfriend. Can Judas stop the man in the suit from destroying his life?

    After NOS4A2, I thought it best to tackle some of Joe Hill's earlier books. His debut novel did not disappoint.

    Heart-Shaped Box is a tale of revenge from beyond the grave. Craddock was a suitably creepy antagonist. When your enemy can control your mind, how can you stop him? The powerlessness that Judas felt for a good portion of the story made the story that much more effective.

    Hill's writing is like his dad's, back when his dad was still emulating the late Richard Matheson and John D. MacDonald. It flows very well and doesn't get overly flowery. When a ghost is driving people mad, the prose doesn't have to be purple to be enjoyable.

    Judas and Georgia wound up being much more developed than I originally thought. As Judas' background was explored, I understood how he got to where he was. Same with Georgia, aka Marybeth.

    Joe's about as nice to his main characters as his old man. Judas and Georgia went through the wringer on the way to the end of the story and there was no magic to fix their grievous injuries.

    Since Judas is an aging rock star, I expected a lot more references to music and musicians. I liked that his dogs were named after members of AC/DC. There were a disproportionate amount of Trent Reznor references, which I found odd since Judas is in his mid-50's. I'll chalk that up to Nine Inch Nails being some of Joe Hill's favorite music.

    It was creepy but didn't keep me up at night. 4 stars.

  • Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

    Buddy-read with some of my faves from the Non-Crunchy Bunch coming February 2016.

    This should be a sweet little gem of a story for right around Valentine's day, no?!

    I’ve never been a very good ghost story reader. I think a fundamental element of being spooked out by ghost stories begins in either a belief or a lack of DISbelief in ghosts.

    I have never believed in ghosts, not even as a child around a campfire. I am missing that thundering fear of not knowing how and what could or could no

    Buddy-read with some of my faves from the Non-Crunchy Bunch coming February 2016.

    This should be a sweet little gem of a story for right around Valentine's day, no?!

    I’ve never been a very good ghost story reader. I think a fundamental element of being spooked out by ghost stories begins in either a belief or a lack of DISbelief in ghosts.

    I have never believed in ghosts, not even as a child around a campfire. I am missing that thundering fear of not knowing how and what could or could not pass over from the realm of the dead. That being said I enjoyed

    for all that it IS a ghost story, despite this flaw in my spook-history.

    Jude: (the aged rocker, with a dark past and darker music)

    - Actually this is Rob Zombie, obviously, but this is how I pictured Jude

    Marybeth “Georgia”: (the young dark-haired Goth girl with the mysteriously unpleasant past)

    Anna “Florida”: (the dead Goth ex with mental health problems)

    Craddock: (

    , the ghost after revenge.)

    Let’s get my grievances out of the way first, shall we?

    It can be very inconsistent and jumbled up to create unnecessary confusion and headache. I also found the characterization lacking in a major way for about half of this novel, and when it did show up (passed the half way point) the personality of two of the main players were grossly stereotypical.

    Overall I found this novel a delightfully deranged read with characters I don’t especially care for but still find interesting enough to enjoy. It was quite reminiscent of Dean Koontz, with the supernatural laced in grotesquery and very human horror, and that is a wonderful thing for me. I LOVED Koontz when I was in high school, so when I say something reminds me of that style it is always a good thing.

    My biggest complaint is that

    Thank you for the journey, my pantsless friends!!

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  • Mohammed Arabey
  • Will Byrnes

    When aging, retired rocker Judas Coyne 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. I was most reminded of Freddie Krueger, as the hostile ghost sets out to destroy Coyne and all those he holds dear. I was not ecstatic early on about the premise, as I believed it was insufficient to sustain a book of this length. Although I have read better horror books, this one turned out well enough. Wha

    When aging, retired rocker Judas Coyne 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. I was most reminded of Freddie Krueger, as the hostile ghost sets out to destroy Coyne and all those he holds dear. I was not ecstatic early on about the premise, as I believed it was insufficient to sustain a book of this length. Although I have read better horror books, this one turned out well enough. What makes it special though is that Joe Hill just happens to be the son of none other than Stephen King. The apple remains in the orchard. The guy has talent, and I expect there will be much more product in the years to come as he follows in daddy’s footsteps.

    I read the book back in 2007. Hill has more than realized his potential since then, establishing himself as one of the premier writers of horror working today.

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    Links to the author’s

    ,

    and

    pages

    Reviews of other Joe Hill Books

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  • Delee

    3.5

    This is the first book written by Joe Hill that I have read, and the fact that it was his debut is pretty impressive to me. I picked it up for a song awhile ago- never being sure if I was going to read it or not- I was worried that I wasn't going to connect with Jude and Georgia. I don't always have to like the people I am reading about, but in a ghost story- I find I really have to warm up to the main characters in order to root for their survival- As it turns out they were pretty easy to li

    3.5

    This is the first book written by Joe Hill that I have read, and the fact that it was his debut is pretty impressive to me. I picked it up for a song awhile ago- never being sure if I was going to read it or not- I was worried that I wasn't going to connect with Jude and Georgia. I don't always have to like the people I am reading about, but in a ghost story- I find I really have to warm up to the main characters in order to root for their survival- As it turns out they were pretty easy to like, and I was in their corner cheering them on right to the very end.

    Judas Coyne is an aging retired rock star in his 50s. After a horrible childhood and losing two of his band members- one to suicide, the other to AIDS, Jude very rarely finds joy in life. He lives a somewhat reclusive existence in Piecliff, New York with his girlfriend- Georgia/Marybeth- a smart-mouthed goth ex-exotic dancer with a heart of gold, and his two loyal dogs- Bon and Angus.

    His taste for the morbid- lead him to collect weird, wacky and downright twisted objects- a hangman's noose, a witch's confession, John Wayne Gacy's "art", and a snuff film...just to name a few. Danny- Jude's assistant is always keeping an eye out for anything he thinks his boss would be interested in, and sure enough while browsing online- he spots one. A ghost for sale. The ghost of a sweet old man -Craddock McDermott- a self proclaimed hypnotist and loving step-father to the online seller -Jessica. Jude is intrigued and on a whim puts in the top bid of $1000 guaranteeing him the purchase, and before long an item is delivered to his door- the suit of a dead man in a HEART-SHAPED BOX...

    Soon after the suit arrives- things for Jude and Georgia get out of hand, and they quickly realize that buying a ghost sight unseen probably wasn't such a grand idea. Craddock's ghost is faaaaaar from sweet, and Jessica's real motive behind the sale becomes crystal clear.

    .

    Is HEART-SHAPED BOX perfect???

    ...but it is an entertaining, gruesome, sometimes terrifying read- and a great beginning for the talented writer Joe Hill.

  • Sr3yas

    Not just any ghost, imagine a ghost with a unique set of skills like

    and

    , which he acquired during his long and diverse career.

    The ghost in this story is

    of Ghosts. Well, at least he started out to be Liam Neeson of ghosts, and he will find you.... and he will kill you.

    Meet our hero, Judas Coyne, a 54-year-old rockstar with a very rockstar-y lifestyle. Unfor

    Not just any ghost, imagine a ghost with a unique set of skills like

    and

    , which he acquired during his long and diverse career.

    The ghost in this story is

    of Ghosts. Well, at least he started out to be Liam Neeson of ghosts, and he will find you.... and he will kill you.

    Meet our hero, Judas Coyne, a 54-year-old rockstar with a very rockstar-y lifestyle. Unfortunately, one of the young girls he dumped will be death for him.... Unless his dogs save him.

    Exactly! For me, this one felt like half cooked tale at its best. Maybe it is the combination of lackluster techno scares and slasher style finale that tipped me into the abyss of boredom. I did like the character of Judas Coyne because he was something new, but the rest of the characters were dull, including the supposedly scary ghost. The Liam Neeson of ghost's introduction was a decent affair:

    but then he started talking.... and I understood his greatest power: He will talk you to death, quite literally.

    The most of the scares are unintentionally funny, like employing Internet skills and Emails to scare people and other great hits. They were just silly. And on the top of that, Hill's plotting style gave me a feeling that he is making up the story along the way.

    Overall, disappointing.

  • La Petite Américaine

    The cover of this book promises that you will be "haunted" and "startled," and that the book will even "visit you in your dreams."

    Funny, as I read this "scary" novel, I couldn't help but think back to the time I read The Shining ... it was storming outside, it was 3AM and I was too afraid to put the book down, and I didn't care if I would end up wetting the bed because there was no way in hell I was going to get up and go to the bathroom. "Heart Shaped Box" also made me think back to other King

    The cover of this book promises that you will be "haunted" and "startled," and that the book will even "visit you in your dreams."

    Funny, as I read this "scary" novel, I couldn't help but think back to the time I read The Shining ... it was storming outside, it was 3AM and I was too afraid to put the book down, and I didn't care if I would end up wetting the bed because there was no way in hell I was going to get up and go to the bathroom. "Heart Shaped Box" also made me think back to other King novels that had me ready to piss myself with terror: Cujo, Salem's Lot, The Tommyknockers, etc. I even thought back to Red Dragon by Harris, the book that I couldn't read unless my boyfriend was there. When you're traumatized from what you've read, you know you've found a good horror author.

    Right up to the last page of Heart Shaped Box, I kept waiting for something scary, and when that didn't happen, I kept thinking that horror should be left to the masters, that the reviews about this book were false advertizing, and that the only true horror writer is Stephen King.

    Then I read that the author is King's son? Wow, if I were King I'd be disappointed in my kid.

    Man, this thing reads like something an 8th grader wrote for his creative writing class. First of all, the fact that an ageing rock star buys a ghost on the net isn't even a new idea:

    Given that the story itself isn't even original, what else have we got here? Heh...

    It's not scary, it's TOTALLY BORING, it's predictable (oh, let me guess, the depressed ex-stripper/groupie/20-something goth girl who's sleeping with a 50 year-old ex-rock star has a secret about her stepdad ... could it be molestation?? NO! I'M SHOCKED! WHAT A GENIUS PLOT TWIST!), and everything ends all happy, with smiles and rainbows and love and hugs ... and a few Care Bears, I'm sure.

    Oh BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! I give it one star ... only for mentioning cool people like Nirvana, Ozzy, and Jackson Browne.

    This book sucks.

  • Hannah

    The scariest thing about Joe Hill's debut book,

    , isn't the actual story, but what lies between the front cover and the inside title page of the Harper paperback version. In it, over 18 reputable newspapers and acclaimed writers attempt to prop up little

    Joe Hill's novel with some seriously excellent reviews. Scary because all these awesome reviews lead you, the reader, to expect that

    is the next

    thing in horror.

    Only it's not.

    Not by a long

    The scariest thing about Joe Hill's debut book,

    , isn't the actual story, but what lies between the front cover and the inside title page of the Harper paperback version. In it, over 18 reputable newspapers and acclaimed writers attempt to prop up little

    Joe Hill's novel with some seriously excellent reviews. Scary because all these awesome reviews lead you, the reader, to expect that

    is the next

    thing in horror.

    Only it's not.

    Not by a long shot.

    It must be tough to be an aspiring writer when your dad is Stephen King. It must be even tougher when you decide to make your first published novel a horror one. That's alot of pressure, and unfortunately, Hill fails IMO. Perhaps he should have sharpened his pen with chic lit. a-la Nicholas Sparks, but then where would he have fit in all the tats, genital piercings and the snuff film? Not to mention the 2-dimensional characters who you never grow to care about, or the horror that fails to materialize over 351 looooong pages.

    Hill might have what it takes to eventually be a credible horror writer, but he doesn't do himself any favors having such a glowing cadre of book reviews for a book so undeserving of them. It may lead the reader to suspect daddy calling in some favors....

  • Anne

    It took me more than a month to bring myself to write this review and I think this alone is very telling. I just cannot find the absolute

    motivation to talk about this book, because quite frankly, I just

    it. I don't think I have ever read a book I found more boring and ridiculous. The guy buys a ghost and no one is seriously fazed when bad and weird things start happening?? Everyone was so incredibly two-dimensional. Every effort to try to bring some suspense and excitement into

    It took me more than a month to bring myself to write this review and I think this alone is very telling. I just cannot find the absolute

    motivation to talk about this book, because quite frankly, I just

    it. I don't think I have ever read a book I found more boring and ridiculous. The guy buys a ghost and no one is seriously fazed when bad and weird things start happening?? Everyone was so incredibly two-dimensional. Every effort to try to bring some suspense and excitement into the story was ruined by being either written in a very dull or over the top way. Sometimes I seriously felt like I was reading a comedy and laughed out loud. This is one of those books I wish I hadn't wasted my time on. I bought it at a library sale for 2€ and even that amount was far too expensive for what I got in return.

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