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 bid and purchases it. The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker's sanity.

Heart-Shaped Box Details

TitleHeart-Shaped Box
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 13th, 2007
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780061147937
Rating
GenreHorror, Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy, Paranormal, Ghosts, Supernatural

Heart-Shaped Box Review

  • La Petite Américaine
    January 1, 1970
    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: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6651230/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.
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  • Will Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    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. Joe HillI 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. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Tumblr and FB pagesReviews of other Joe Hill Books-----The Fireman -----NOS4A2-----20th Century Ghosts
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  • Delee
    January 1, 1970
    3.5This 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 3.5This 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. Revenge. Is HEART-SHAPED BOX perfect???...but it is an entertaining, gruesome, sometimes terrifying read- and a great beginning for the talented writer Joe Hill.
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  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Sr3yas
    January 1, 1970
    Imagine a ghost! Not just any ghost, imagine a ghost with a unique set of skills like advanced interrogation skills and deep hypnotic abilities, which he acquired during his long and diverse career. That's right, kids. The ghost in this story is Liam Neeson of Ghosts. Well, at least he started out to be Liam Neeson of ghosts, and he will find you.... and he will kill you. But who is going to be his victim?Meet our hero, Judas Coyne, a 54-year-old rockstar with a very rockstar-y lifestyle. Unfor Imagine a ghost! Not just any ghost, imagine a ghost with a unique set of skills like advanced interrogation skills and deep hypnotic abilities, which he acquired during his long and diverse career. That's right, kids. The ghost in this story is Liam Neeson of Ghosts. Well, at least he started out to be Liam Neeson of ghosts, and he will find you.... and he will kill you. But who is going to be his victim?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.Wait, what dogs?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: Silent, sinister and brutal.... 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.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    The scariest thing about Joe Hill's debut book, Heart Shaped Box, 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 Stevie King, Jr's Joe Hill's novel with some seriously excellent reviews. Scary because all these awesome reviews lead you, the reader, to expect that Heart Shaped Box is the next BIG thing in horror.Only it's not.Not by a long The scariest thing about Joe Hill's debut book, Heart Shaped Box, 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 Stevie King, Jr's Joe Hill's novel with some seriously excellent reviews. Scary because all these awesome reviews lead you, the reader, to expect that Heart Shaped Box is the next BIG 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....
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  • Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
    January 1, 1970
    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?!3.5 StarsI’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?!3.5 StarsI’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 Heart-Shaped Box 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: (Stepdaddy-DEAREST, the ghost after revenge.)Let’s get my grievances out of the way first, shall we? The pacing of this novel is AWKWARD AS FUCK! 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 (view spoiler)[ I would have preferred that Jude die. I found the pseudo “Happily Ever After” of the ending ridiculous and inappropriate to the rest of the story. I also feel like the way the last five or ten chapters were written are a huge contrast in style and talent of the rest of the book. It’s almost like Hill felt a need to add them even though they felt like the most unnatural element of this ghost story. (hide spoiler)]Thank you for the journey, my pantsless friends!!
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  • Sammy
    January 1, 1970
    I don't think I quite knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I don't know what I thought I was going to read, but it wasn't this. So a warning to you: this book, or at least the beginning of it, is pretty freaky. I'm not a wimp. I grew up on Goosebumps and Scary Stories by Alvan Schwartz, graduating on to Christopher Pike and various R.L. Stine young adult novels. I also love scary movies of all sort, so I'm not one easily freaked out. But this novel was pretty creepy, or at le I don't think I quite knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I don't know what I thought I was going to read, but it wasn't this. So a warning to you: this book, or at least the beginning of it, is pretty freaky. I'm not a wimp. I grew up on Goosebumps and Scary Stories by Alvan Schwartz, graduating on to Christopher Pike and various R.L. Stine young adult novels. I also love scary movies of all sort, so I'm not one easily freaked out. But this novel was pretty creepy, or at least the beginning.Perhaps it's the concept and the description of the ghost that is unnerving. Maybe it's also because I was sort of caught off guard by what I was reading. But whatever it was I was freaked out and loving the book. The whole concept of the novel was unique.At times I found myself wanting to give Joe Hill a thesaurus and a phrase book, because he kept using the same descriptions over and over again. I think it would have also helped him in making things a little clearer. It seemed he was having a little difficulty fleshing out plot points at moments. I can't really think of any specific examples, but you'll come across them as you read it.The end seemed really just swept up. Not really making too much sense in relation to the story. It seemed like Hill just wanted to quickly wrap it up, no matter how many questions it either raised or left unanswered.But besides those minor flaws, I gobbled this book up really fast. I wanted to know everything that was going on. Something kept me riveted throughout the whole story. That's why I'm keeping my rating at a B, despite some of the problems I pointed out. I'm also interested in reading some of Hill's other works. It was his way of telling this ghost story and the type of ghost story it was that made me interested. Overall? Pretty good read. Entertaining. Best part? The dogs, because they weren't just animals in the background, they were actual characters, very entertaining and loving ones.Want a quick, good, scary story? Here's your next read.
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  • Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    Jude is a member of a broken up metal band,; now living on farm land with his girlfriend, manager and two dogs. He sees the perfect opportunity to bring some excitement into his life when his manager shows him an online posting for a ghost for sale.Once his purchase arrives, Jude quickly realizes he is in for much more than he bargained for as sightings of the old man begin, as well as demons from the past being brought to life for all members of the household.In the style I've grown to adore fr Jude is a member of a broken up metal band,; now living on farm land with his girlfriend, manager and two dogs. He sees the perfect opportunity to bring some excitement into his life when his manager shows him an online posting for a ghost for sale.Once his purchase arrives, Jude quickly realizes he is in for much more than he bargained for as sightings of the old man begin, as well as demons from the past being brought to life for all members of the household.In the style I've grown to adore from Joe Hill; a sprinkling of out right terrifying scenes interlaced with profound ideas and plot to keep you thinking for days.
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  • Maciek
    January 1, 1970
    I had pretty big expectations for this novel, since it was somewhat of a happening in the horror genre and was praised by writers such as Harlan Coben and Neil Gaiman. I was pretty disappointed.There is not a cliche that has not been used in this book, and not a single plot twist that I was not able to predict. It's a mish mash of things from various horror novels and movies - the protective dogs, the ouija board, the evil spiritualist, dead in mirrors, talking radios...The characters are unlika I had pretty big expectations for this novel, since it was somewhat of a happening in the horror genre and was praised by writers such as Harlan Coben and Neil Gaiman. I was pretty disappointed.There is not a cliche that has not been used in this book, and not a single plot twist that I was not able to predict. It's a mish mash of things from various horror novels and movies - the protective dogs, the ouija board, the evil spiritualist, dead in mirrors, talking radios...The characters are unlikable. That in itself wouldn't be a problem, if they weren't also paper-thin. The I-do-not-give-a-crap ageing rockstar, full of cash but without substance, and his beautiful-but-emotionally-damaged sidekick, who also happens to be shallow as a cardboard. The only sympathetic character gets offed early in the story, and we don't hear much from him since.The whole thing is extremely boring and not even remotely scary. The ghost that haunts our protagonists is literally a smelly old man whom they ignore and walk around. Yeah, because that's what you do when there's a ghost near you.I can't help but think that Joe Hill set out to write a bestseller that would guarantee him an audience, and what if they were some hipser kids that buy their leather coats at hot topic and have just gotten their ears pierced. They obviously must like to read about goths, contemporary rock music (Trent Reznor is mentioned at least 5 times! My Chemical Romance! even Coldplay, if the previous two are too hardcore), snuff films and the male lead getting a hard-on while he beats his "girlfriend". I'm sure their parents would buy them this book. And black nail polish.The story slowwwwly has to build to some sort of a climax, yes? A shattering finale that would be a huge pay off for all the things the reader had to endure. But, um, none of this happens here. The end is sudden and sugary, all is well and all will be well. After three hundred long and boring pages I'd expect something more, but it never happened.Were some strings pulled to publish Heart Shaped Box? I don't know. But as a debut, it's stunningly unimpressive and offers absolutely no new additions to the genre, and even no classy variations on previously explored topics and themes. It's boring and forgettable, predictable and unoriginal. Joe Hill isn't able to overcome the influences and cliches that flood this work; that would be all right, but he also isn't able to make them his own. Heart Shaped Box is not memorable and will be forgotten in years to come, and I think that if Joe wasn't the son of Stephen it wouldn't even be published.
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  • Alissa Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    This book is creeeeeeeeeeeeeepy and I loved it! It's not Joe Hill's best, in my opinion (my favorite is NOS4A2, by a mile), but this one was fantastic. A good old fashioned ghost story. For some reason, I pictured the ghost to look like this: aka the creepy guys from Buffy in the 'Hush' episode. And maybe that's why it creeped me out even more. If I saw this guy staring at me from in a car or from across the room I'd prob shit myself.Overall, a great read and highly recommended.
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  • joyce g
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked it! Crazy, scary fun!
  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    From this point forward, I shall refrain from the HEART-SHAPED BOX, heart-shaped candies, and anything else in the shape of a heart that is sent through the mail or easily consumable. As my wife can attest, this will put a significant strain on the candy industry, to the point that they may be forced to shut down operations, if only temporarily. But how could I not when this novel totally freaked me out. I have three suits, and I’m not sure I want to wear any of them ever again. Even the gray pi From this point forward, I shall refrain from the HEART-SHAPED BOX, heart-shaped candies, and anything else in the shape of a heart that is sent through the mail or easily consumable. As my wife can attest, this will put a significant strain on the candy industry, to the point that they may be forced to shut down operations, if only temporarily. But how could I not when this novel totally freaked me out. I have three suits, and I’m not sure I want to wear any of them ever again. Even the gray pinstriped one that makes me look like a player—or maybe not—shall hang in the closet for the rest of his days. Sure, I’ve probably gone a bit off the New Mexican reservation, but I do believe in hyperbole about as much as I believe in ghosts, and there comes a point when I need to stand up for myself, or better yet, I’ll just run in the opposite direction. That’ll be faster, and it might even save me some time.Seriously, though, there is evil among us, and I’m not referring to Justin Bieber or The Jonas Brothers. There’s voodoo and witchcraft and haunted spirits, not the kind I would imbibe, and a slow build terror that nearly consumes every page. The characters proved nearly as lifelike and realistic as they did horrific, and this novel showcases why revenge goes down about as easily as antifreeze. And it’s hard to execute a group hug if you have a knife sticking out of your thigh along with about three more sticking out of your back while you’re caught staring in open-mouthed horror as a Chevy Suburban T-bones you at 40 MPH. If you happen to live through it, though, you’ll peel out faster than a cheetah chasing a gazelle, with your metal screeching and grinding all the way home.Judas Coyne may listen to more Trent Reznor than is humanly possible and defile more Goth groupies than an entire heavy metal band, but he does have a heart, even if it’s a bit black and slightly tainted from misuse, and Marybeth, aka Georgia, may shrink to the size of a scarecrow, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost all her fight and vinegar. (view spoiler)[And I was pleased with the happy ending, or as happy of an ending as a novel like this can ever hope to achieve. (hide spoiler)]If you like your revenge served cold, and your evil served piping hot, your characters creepy with more than enough realism to seal the deal, and you prefer a slow burn before all the hoopla and singing and fireworks, then this is one tale that’ll probably keep you flipping the pages.
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  • Richard Derus
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.25* of fiveThe Publisher Says: Aging death-metal rock legend Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. But nothing he possesses is as unique or as dreadful as his latest purchase off the Internet: a one-of-a-kind curiosity that arrives at his door in a black heart-shaped box...a musty dead man's suit still inhabited by the spirit of its late owner. And now everywhere Judas Coyne goes, the old man is there—watching, wait Rating: 3.25* of fiveThe Publisher Says: Aging death-metal rock legend Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. But nothing he possesses is as unique or as dreadful as his latest purchase off the Internet: a one-of-a-kind curiosity that arrives at his door in a black heart-shaped box...a musty dead man's suit still inhabited by the spirit of its late owner. And now everywhere Judas Coyne goes, the old man is there—watching, waiting, dangling a razor blade on a chain from his bony hand.My Review: Jude "Judas" Coyne, born Justin Cowzynski to a iggerunt, abusive pig-farmin' Louisiana daddy and a pale non-entity of a mama, flees the scene of the crime called childhood and becomes an angry, hate-spewin', groupie-usin' death metal star. Now he's 54 and feeling his years, his losses, and his energy waning. He's such a charmer that he doesn't remember the names of the girls he uses, calls 'em instead by the states they came from. Georgia, his current squeeze, is half his age (duh) a Goth chick (duh), and possessed of the most innocent and incongruous real name in horror fiction: Marybeth. Danny, the token gayboy who functions as Jude's annoying, chirpy business-runner, runs across an item for Jude's burgeoning collection of the weird and esoteric: A ghost. An actual ghost, for sale on some specifically-not-eBay auction site (wonder what happened there?); Jude, when Danny shows him the listing, clicks the "Buy NOW $1,000" button, ends the auction, and a few days later a big, black heart-shaped box arrives with a natty old suit in it.Hijinks ensue.No really, the only word is hijinks. Scary-lookin' old men with too few teeth. Big brush-runnin' V8 Chevy trucks that aren't really there and no one's drivin' 'em. Suicides that are, and suicides that really aren't. Child molestation across the generations. Grandmothers and aunts and mamas galore, a visit to the nightroad (aka "Highway to Hell" oh heck like I could resist the heavy metal pun), an encounter with the golden door that solves many problems, and proof positive that dogs are superior to cats in every conceivable measure and circumstance.Mandatory legal disclaimer: Absolutely no cliches were harmed in the making of this book.Reading it passed a pleasant five hours. I liked it fine. Not one single major structural flaw that I saw. Fewer typos than most modern books, no unintentional bad grammar that I can recall (and I recall grammar boo-boos real well), so all in all not bad. Nothing I'll ever read again, but not bad at all.
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  • Christopher
    January 1, 1970
    This type of horror may just not be for me. Heart-Shaped Box is about a ghost who, apparently, can't decide if it wants to kill the person it wants to kill. Our tale starts off decently enough. Aging rock star buys a ghost off the internet and that ghost decides to kill him. Almost succeeds fairly early on, too. And then... doesn't kill him. Why, you ask? Hell if I know.*Instead, our ghost will sit in his ghost truck... not killing people. Perhaps he's just trying to drive our MC insane by drawi This type of horror may just not be for me. Heart-Shaped Box is about a ghost who, apparently, can't decide if it wants to kill the person it wants to kill. Our tale starts off decently enough. Aging rock star buys a ghost off the internet and that ghost decides to kill him. Almost succeeds fairly early on, too. And then... doesn't kill him. Why, you ask? Hell if I know.*Instead, our ghost will sit in his ghost truck... not killing people. Perhaps he's just trying to drive our MC insane by drawing it out. "But", you say, "didn't you say he almost killed him early on? Why would he change methods if the first almost worked?"Yep, that is a thing that happened. If you're going to be asking questions like that, you'll end up with the same rating I did, so you might want to stop that sort of thinking right now. Just hate our MC and pray that Georgia makes it out with the rest of us. *Look, yes there is a reason eventually. But Jude should be dead long before that. The ghost has the first third of the book to get this done.----------------Pantsless group side read: Feb 8th 22nd
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  • David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
    January 1, 1970
    Dave's Quick Judgement - THE DEFENSE - The prose is very gripping. - Many genuinely creepy moments. - Frequent musical references add a little extra spice to the story. THE PROSECUTION - The main characters are rather bland. - Dialogue is often dry and tedious. - Some attempts to be scary teeter over to the "laughably-bad" side (the ghost rising out of a candy box and even reaching back in for his hat comes to mind). THE VERDICT I found this to be a good ghost story, just not a great one. But Dave's Quick Judgement - THE DEFENSE - The prose is very gripping. - Many genuinely creepy moments. - Frequent musical references add a little extra spice to the story. THE PROSECUTION - The main characters are rather bland. - Dialogue is often dry and tedious. - Some attempts to be scary teeter over to the "laughably-bad" side (the ghost rising out of a candy box and even reaching back in for his hat comes to mind). THE VERDICT I found this to be a good ghost story, just not a great one. But in all fairness, lots of people liked this book more than me, so if ghost stories are your thing, I'd still recommend giving this one a shot.FULL REVIEW TO COME
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  • Casey
    January 1, 1970
    Have I mentioned how much I'm loving horror at the moment?! Gah so good, this book was perfect for my tastes and I really enjoyed it. Rock Star Jude Coyne is living with his newest 20 year younger girl who is dubbed Georgia because that's where she's from. Jude stars off as a strange, aging, and rude rock star. Jude see's a ghost for sale and immediately buys it because why not? It works with his image he's created around himself. The suit arrives and shit starts going down right away, the rooms Have I mentioned how much I'm loving horror at the moment?! Gah so good, this book was perfect for my tastes and I really enjoyed it. Rock Star Jude Coyne is living with his newest 20 year younger girl who is dubbed Georgia because that's where she's from. Jude stars off as a strange, aging, and rude rock star. Jude see's a ghost for sale and immediately buys it because why not? It works with his image he's created around himself. The suit arrives and shit starts going down right away, the rooms colder, Georgie pricks herself with a non existent pin in the suit, wake up to it spread on the bed and smelling of decaying corpse. Jude stars to see the dead man and immediately tries returning the suit only to find out this is all a revenge scheme concocted by his ex girlfriends sister. From here the horror really amps up, its a slow building intense increase in the creepy levels. Each page is scary then the one before and the story unfolds flawlessly. The plot grows in extraordinary ways and the characters even more so. Jude shows who he really is, we delve into everyone's past (perfectly it didn't feel info dumpy or flash backy) characters that started as thin and throw away become real and I started to care for them rather then want everyone to die a ghostly death. Joe Hill surprised me with his clever plot and seemingly unlovable characters, I was turning the pages like there was no tomorrow for the last 100 pages and didn't guess the ending. This book stabbed me in the heart and then put me back together with black stitches and screamo music. (view spoiler)[- Okay I really need to get off my chest is Bon and Agnus dying *Throws book* But not really because its borrowed XD AS SOON as I read they were German Shepherds my heart stopped, King tends to kill his puppies and I was scared Joe would too AND HE DID AND MY HEART BROKE A LOT 3. I shall go home now and hug my dog as well as never buy a haunted suit of a pissed of step daddy- Also Anna's story was heartbreaking and as scary as the ghosts themselves, I'm glad we saw what happened with Jude and Marybeth and that Jude was happier and free with his feelings- I liked we saw Reese and she's okay, artistic, and living her life free of her batshit crazy mum. - All the death road talk and the whole end of the book reading WAS so beautifully written I loved everything about it. (hide spoiler)]The rights to this were sold to Warner Bros and I NEED THIS TO BE MADE INTO A MOVIE SO I CAN SHARE IT WITH MY NON BOOK LOVING FRIENDS... Pretty please?! I'd recommend this to Stephen King lovers, anyone looking for some blood and killing in their horror and of course all my fellow Horror lovers <3
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  • Nikoleta
    January 1, 1970
    3,5/5 αστεράκια
  • Ellen Gail
    January 1, 1970
    What better way to spend my Valentines Day then reading Heart-Shaped Box? For surely, this shall be a sweet and romantic tale?Nah. GHOST STORIES! Fucking love em. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill is a grade-A egg. (Upon googling, it appears that the hightest grade of egg is AA, which makes no fucking sense. You can't just starting throwing in extra letters. If Ralphie wasn't allowed to get a A++++++++++, then pre-birds can deal with a single A.) Whatever. Important thing is, Heart-Spaped Box is good What better way to spend my Valentines Day then reading Heart-Shaped Box? For surely, this shall be a sweet and romantic tale?Nah. GHOST STORIES! Fucking love em. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill is a grade-A egg. (Upon googling, it appears that the hightest grade of egg is AA, which makes no fucking sense. You can't just starting throwing in extra letters. If Ralphie wasn't allowed to get a A++++++++++, then pre-birds can deal with a single A.) Whatever. Important thing is, Heart-Spaped Box is good. "There comes a time, the dead have a right to claim their own." So, what do you get when you mix an aging rock star, his southern girlfriend, an elderly vengeful ghost hypnotist, and a deadly deep family secret? Well, you get a a darn good story, that's what! It's inevitably compared to the numerous works of Stephen King, but Hill has developed his own style and ideas. He knows what works and how to write it well. The writing in this and the tension it oozed everywhere was so good. He understood that the ghost existed first and foremost within his own head. That maybe ghosts always haunted minds, not places. If he wanted to take a shot at it, he’d have to turn the barrel against his own temple. The characters were exceptional and a big part in keeping me engaged. In a life an death situation, I have to care about the lives / deaths at stake. (view spoiler)[ Side note: I wish the dogs hadn't died. I know, I know. It's horror, pets are fair game, but damn it I'm a big softie when it comes to animals! I don't like my fictional violence directed at our four legged friends, even when it makes sense in the story. I have to sort of accept that the dogs' deaths probably had to happen for the final showdown. But still. My irrational point stands. (hide spoiler)]Really, I could ramble on about how much I liked this for ages. I can ramble about most anything. Pecan pie? You betcha I can ramble. As to whether I have anything of substance to say, well, that's up in the air. It's much easier for me to review something I disliked; there are usually significant negative points for me to leap from. Heart-Shaped Box is pecan pie. I just want to consume it all at once.
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  • Stefan Yates
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a great debut!Now that I have that out of the way, let me start out my review by saying that Heart-Shaped Box is the creepiest, scariest new book that I have read in quite some time. Mr. Hill tells an excellent story; well thought out with wonderful character development. The thing that I really loved about his introducing us to the characters is that he just threw us into the ride with them without too much background and then built them up into very complex and likable personalities Wow, what a great debut!Now that I have that out of the way, let me start out my review by saying that Heart-Shaped Box is the creepiest, scariest new book that I have read in quite some time. Mr. Hill tells an excellent story; well thought out with wonderful character development. The thing that I really loved about his introducing us to the characters is that he just threw us into the ride with them without too much background and then built them up into very complex and likable personalities through the course of the book without setting us up with a "here's what this character is all about" sort of summary .The story-telling in this novel is top-notch. Hill weaves a grand adventure fraught with tension and nail-biting moments that you won't want to put down. My only complaint with the novel was that sometimes his style/structure didn't flow extremely well and I had to re-read a sentence or two to comprehend what he was trying to say. These instances were few and far between, so it wasn't a distraction to the wonderful flow of the novel.If you couldn't tell, I highly recommend Heart-Shaped Box. It's a great read. One word of caution though, if you're reading alone in a dark and quiet farm-house out in the boonies, I would suggest turning on some lights before running upstairs to get something. I didn't and I almost scared the bejeepers out of myself with the images from the book still lodged in my head!!
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    Scary - full of ghosts and gore and really gross stuff. Definitely a horror story and one which never lets up from start to finish. Jude, the main character, is strangely attractive despite everything and I really wanted him and Mary Beth to stay alive. I also wanted Angus and Bon to stay alive. I don't think it is a spoiler to say that some did and some didn't make it to the end. Joe Hill has the same warped imagination as his father and the final scene in Jude's father's bedroom is a great exa Scary - full of ghosts and gore and really gross stuff. Definitely a horror story and one which never lets up from start to finish. Jude, the main character, is strangely attractive despite everything and I really wanted him and Mary Beth to stay alive. I also wanted Angus and Bon to stay alive. I don't think it is a spoiler to say that some did and some didn't make it to the end. Joe Hill has the same warped imagination as his father and the final scene in Jude's father's bedroom is a great example of this. Did I say already that there is lots of gross stuff? A great read:)
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  • Kasia
    January 1, 1970
    I remember looking at this book at my local Barnes & Nobles years ago, I was strangely drawn to the title and it's meaning which always puzzled me but the cover was intriguing, not sure what took me so long to read it but I’m so glad that I finally dived in. Sometimes it's hard to pick a new book to read but it's still a delicious torment even if you don't know what is good enough to wrap your mind around, this was a good pick and it was recommended by a friend so I read it with pretty high I remember looking at this book at my local Barnes & Nobles years ago, I was strangely drawn to the title and it's meaning which always puzzled me but the cover was intriguing, not sure what took me so long to read it but I’m so glad that I finally dived in. Sometimes it's hard to pick a new book to read but it's still a delicious torment even if you don't know what is good enough to wrap your mind around, this was a good pick and it was recommended by a friend so I read it with pretty high expectations. In a funny way this book shows the power of love and also it's opposite which is very driven dark side and even in real life those can be close so making it into a striking, dangerous and scary story was great. Both good and bad things can be done in the name of love, each pushed by an intense energy that seems to beam out of us at certain times, and it's most potent when it's real. The Heart Shaped Box is a great example of mental surgery; the amount of thought that will go into creating this world and it's characters is immense but it also has to be pure, it needs to come from the heart. It's a story told by a man who took the courage to pick up the pen ( or the laptop) and write it all down, Joe Hill is very good and I can see him having a great career in the literary world, having a genius father ( Stephen King) doesn't hurt either hehe.Making a purchase doesn't seem to be a scary thing unless one is buying something grand, a mansion or a fancy plane, an island or special car, it's a choice we can take with relish unless it goes wrong. Jude Coyne buys a haunted suit and he definitely gets what he pays for, it arrives in a black heart shaped box and once that lid is off his life starts to go on a dangerous decline, those close to him are in an intense danger and the only way to stop the horrific power behind the purchase seems to be sucked straight out of hell. Coworkers and friends start dying but they aren't gone and neither is the power that pushes them to their demise. Connected to his past, the suit is not an ordinary object but a weapon, Jude must figure out who really is behind it and how to get rid of it or be forced to end his own suffering. I gripped the pages at the end and cheered a few times and also felt some sadness, this hit all sorts of high points for me, a perfect example of a good book.This story reads almost like a fantasy tale that takes the reader on a ride, I would read out passages to my boyfriend and we'd follow the story together at the end because he would ask me what happened every few hours ... it's a fun yet pungent read, don't be fooled that this is some cute story, there is death and there is intense danger and stress, but oh so well woven together, I enjoyed it tremendously and cant wait to read more form Hill. This is part mystery, part horror and a whole lot of fun intensity, good stuff.- Kasia S.
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  • Apatt
    January 1, 1970
    Joe Hill, definitely “a chip off the old block”, the old block being mega-author Stephen King of course. From what I have read Hill tried his best to keep his relationship with Stephen King a secret and forge his own career as an author. Happily he became a successful author before the identity of his Dad was publicly disclosed by Variety magazine. Heart-Shaped Box is his first novel, as of now I think he has four to his name, excluding comics and anthologies.Basically Heart-Shaped Box is a stor Joe Hill, definitely “a chip off the old block”, the old block being mega-author Stephen King of course. From what I have read Hill tried his best to keep his relationship with Stephen King a secret and forge his own career as an author. Happily he became a successful author before the identity of his Dad was publicly disclosed by Variety magazine. Heart-Shaped Box is his first novel, as of now I think he has four to his name, excluding comics and anthologies.Basically Heart-Shaped Box is a story of a vengeful ghost, but there is a lot more to the story than that. The setup is quite original, the protagonist is a rock star who likes to collect weird macabre things, one day he buys a ghost off an eBay-like online shopping website. The ghost is bought in the form of an item that belongs to the dead man, in this case a suit that comes in a heart-shaped box; much grief ensues. It probably is not much of a spoiler to tell you that the suit is more important than the eponymous heart-shaped box, the box just becomes a creepy motif after it and similarly shaped boxes are mentioned a few times.The less I elaborate about the plot the better I think, as the story takes many unexpected twists and turns and Hill’s conception of what a ghost can do is quite original and disturbing. I enjoy scary horror novels, but most such novels are like hamburgers, easily consumed with some pleasure but not very memorable. For a horror novel to be memorable it has to transcend just being scary, it has to have characters worth caring about. This is why Stephen King’s best books are head and shoulders above the majority of horror fiction, he writes characters the reader cares about. I imagine Hill learned this lesson well from his father. His protagonist Jude is a flawed individual with a lot of issues but is a good man underneath all the rock star callousness. His girlfriend and the secondary character is equally damaged in her own way (not to mention very potty mouthed) but when push comes to shove really rises to the occasion. I actually worry about these characters and that is the highest accolade I can give to a work of fiction. Even Jude’s dogs are endowed with personalities and heroic qualities. The author’s fondness for dogs is obvious and it is something I can really identify with. The sense of compassion in the book also makes it much more meaningful than the average horror novel.Hill’s prose style in this book is straightforward and without frills or literary flourishes, what little humor that can be found within the book are mostly through the dialogue. The narrative moves at a breakneck pace and I gobbled then entire book up in just a few days, much more quickly than I normally read. Personally I am hoping to see more finesse in the prose style in his subsequent books but I have no doubt at all that I will be reading them; all of them. It is October 26 as I write and I can heartily recommend Heart-Shaped Box for your Halloween read. If you are reading this in February or whatever, I’d still recommend it for a few hours of excellent and creepy escapism.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I've been a Stephen King fan for more than half my life. I remember reading his books at a time when other kids my age were reading "Babysitter's Club" books or "Sweet Valley" books. I've always loved Stephen King. I wasn't sure that I would love his son, so I put off reading this book for a while after obtaining it. It may be a little neurotic, but I thought that if I didn't like Joe Hill's writing, that it would lessen my love for Stephen King's writing. Luckily, that wasn't the case. I thorou I've been a Stephen King fan for more than half my life. I remember reading his books at a time when other kids my age were reading "Babysitter's Club" books or "Sweet Valley" books. I've always loved Stephen King. I wasn't sure that I would love his son, so I put off reading this book for a while after obtaining it. It may be a little neurotic, but I thought that if I didn't like Joe Hill's writing, that it would lessen my love for Stephen King's writing. Luckily, that wasn't the case. I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Hill's book. The opening page grabbed my attention and from that point on, I had to know what happened. (Unfortunately, I had to go back to work this week, so I had less reading time than I wanted. Otherwise, this book would have been done in a day.)I couldn't help but draw comparison's to Papa King while reading this. I'm sure I'm not alone here. Any King fan who knew that Joe Hill was his son is going to pick this book up with a little scale in their mind, measuring the son by the father. I think Joe measured up quite well. Hill has the same talent as King does for making his characters and the world they live in real. We truly care about these people, even when they aren't lovable or nice. Hill also threads his story through with "Americana" like King does (I lost count of the Trent Reznor mentions after 6, but I like Trent Reznor, so I can look past it.) I get the feeling that Stephen King's musical taste-- and possibly his band, The Rock-Bottom Remainders-- influenced Joe's taste, and by extension, this book.), showing us the world we know and then flipping it upside-down on us. I also like how the story flips and twists and changes, so you don't know what you're seeing until after you've been impacted by it. The mark of a good writer to me is one that can make me lost in the moment, and Joe Hill did that for me. I will definitely be picking up his other book...
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  • Snotchocheez
    January 1, 1970
    I kinda felt like revisiting Joe Hill (by checking out his debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box) while many of my Friends-listers have been gushing over (or excoriating: Hi Glenn!) Hill's latest, The Fireman.I was impressed by my first encounter with his work, Horns; somewhat underwhelmed (as in: this is really a DaddyKing rip-off) by NOS4A2; but this first novel really bugged me no end. While the potential was there for a somewhat believable creep-out payoff, the story starts falling apart at about th I kinda felt like revisiting Joe Hill (by checking out his debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box) while many of my Friends-listers have been gushing over (or excoriating: Hi Glenn!) Hill's latest, The Fireman.I was impressed by my first encounter with his work, Horns; somewhat underwhelmed (as in: this is really a DaddyKing rip-off) by NOS4A2; but this first novel really bugged me no end. While the potential was there for a somewhat believable creep-out payoff, the story starts falling apart at about the 50-page mark and I found it impossible to focus on the book (no doubt from rolling my eyes too much). The idea of an eccentric former rock star (with an obsession with grotesquerie) buying a ghost on an Ebay-ish portal sounded like wiggy fun, but I couldn't buy the story at all. I would love to say that it's just me (in that I don't read thrillers and horror that much), but I just couldn't fathom the appeal of this.
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  • Bill Khaemba
    January 1, 1970
    “All the world is made of music. We are all strings on a lyre. We resonate. We sing together.” I was contemplating on whether or not do a review but fuck it! Hill got my screwed up again and this time a took a trip down to his debut... After a religious experience with Horns, Otherworldy fucked up dimensions through Locke & Key and being burned by The Fireman... I was curious as to how his first book was and luckily I snubbed a copy at a used store and immediately dove in... “Horror was roo “All the world is made of music. We are all strings on a lyre. We resonate. We sing together.” I was contemplating on whether or not do a review but fuck it! Hill got my screwed up again and this time a took a trip down to his debut... After a religious experience with Horns, Otherworldy fucked up dimensions through Locke & Key and being burned by The Fireman... I was curious as to how his first book was and luckily I snubbed a copy at a used store and immediately dove in... “Horror was rooted in sympathy . . . in understanding what it would be like to suffer the worst.” Source This book grew on me at first I wasn't feeling it but as I flipped through the pages the weird style grew on me... It's a dark twisted road trip story that follows a 50-year-old Hard Rock star's past regrets come knocking as he purchases a ghost from eBay. I am still impressed with Hill's ability to capture a mundane concept and give it a fresh new twist. This could have easily turned into your "typical ghost story" but as you progress you feel engrossed and a rush of adrenaline featuring well fleshed out characters with dark depressing back stories and amazing writing. So if you want to take a glimpse of the dark side with 70s rock music and Gothic Occult aesthetics look no further...Have you read this one... I honestly felt like it was amazing especially for a debut and you can definitely see his style growth in later books... Now I am only left with NOS4A2 & 20th-century ghost I can't wait
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    This book was VERY CREEPY. Way creepier than I anticipated from the synopsis. I stayed up late reading last night as my partner was out of town, and by the time I put the book down, it was LATE and I did NOT want to turn the lights out. I watch horror movies ALL the time, and they rarely get to me... but the ghost in this story definitely creeped his way into my mind.*shudders*Excellent book!
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  • Peter Monn
    January 1, 1970
    What a dark journey. Check out my full review on my booktube channel at http://Youtube.com/peterlikesbooks
  • Stepheny
    January 1, 1970
    I could sit here all day and compare Joe Hill to his father Stephen King, but I find that highly unfair to do to him. What I will say is that he writes with a similar voice and also that I think one day he will be as good as his father, if not better. I feel like with every book I see a more developed writer and that is why I only gave Heart Shaped Box a 3 star rating. Actually a 3.5, but GR doesn’t give me that option…Anyway, I digress.I really enjoyed this read and found it to be quite fun…in I could sit here all day and compare Joe Hill to his father Stephen King, but I find that highly unfair to do to him. What I will say is that he writes with a similar voice and also that I think one day he will be as good as his father, if not better. I feel like with every book I see a more developed writer and that is why I only gave Heart Shaped Box a 3 star rating. Actually a 3.5, but GR doesn’t give me that option…Anyway, I digress.I really enjoyed this read and found it to be quite fun…in a sadistic way. I enjoy sitting down to a nice old fashioned ghost story and that is precisely what this is: an old fashioned ghost story with a modern twist. I loved that. I loved feeling the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand up when Jude first encounters old man Craddock. My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing and I was lost in the story from the get-go. I thought the idea behind the story was just awesome. I loved how real everything felt….until they left the house. That was when the unreality of it really started to feel unreal.I know, I know, that sounds weird, but I think anyone who reads horror/sci-fi/fantasy knows what I mean by that. A great writer makes even the most unreal things seem incredibly real. It took me out of the book and reminded me that I was reading a book. I hate that. I love being totally wrapped up in a story to the point where I forget I have a book in my hand, and I was. For me, the travelling sequence just didn’t feel right to me. I don’t know if it was caused by a difference in writing or if it was just the execution of the events that unfolded, but for whatever reason, it broke the spell.Another thing that bothered me with this that contributes to the 3 star rating is that I really didn’t care for Jude. I want to be firmly planted behind my protagonist and I just couldn’t do it. His objectification of women really bothered me. It repulsed me if I am to be completely honest. His complete disregard for the feelings of those around him, his I’m-better-than-everything attitude it all just left a sour taste in my mouth. I know his actions in the end were supposed to redeem him, but for me it didn’t. I know, I am probably in the minority but I found it hard to be happy for him. In fact, I think, had I gotten more insight into his past I may have been able to sympathize with him more. I really wanted more of his history and relationship with his father. What we do find out is awful, don’t get me wrong, but I kept thinking there was going to be more to that story.I will definitely still recommend this book to people though. As much as it sounds like I didn’t enjoy it-I really did. I just can’t wait to watch him grow as a writer. I think he is going to be one of the all-time greats he just isn’t quite there yet.
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  • Brandon
    January 1, 1970
    Jude Coyne, a middle aged former front man of an immensely popular metal band, is obsessed with the occult. His assistant finds a post online advertising a ghost-for-sale and being the collector he is, Jude decides that he must have it. When a heart-shaped package shows up, it contains nothing but an old raggedy suit. However, it isn't long before the suit brings about unexplained events and spooky behaviour throughout Coyne’s mansion. With his sanity hanging by a thread, can Jude exorcise the d Jude Coyne, a middle aged former front man of an immensely popular metal band, is obsessed with the occult. His assistant finds a post online advertising a ghost-for-sale and being the collector he is, Jude decides that he must have it. When a heart-shaped package shows up, it contains nothing but an old raggedy suit. However, it isn't long before the suit brings about unexplained events and spooky behaviour throughout Coyne’s mansion. With his sanity hanging by a thread, can Jude exorcise the demon from his home or will he himself soon be knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door? (Sorry, not sorry)I had my mind made up by about page fifty that Jude was going to be this irredeemable asshole. I mean, who pays a thousand bucks for a ghost and then is outraged to find that he actually bought a ghost? However, after spending more time with the metal-head, turns out he wasn’t such a bad dude after all. Hill and this other writer he’s related to like to do this a lot. They present their characters through these complex shades of grey to create people who will make the readers question their own interpretations of good and bad. Same goes for Jude’s ever present girlfriend Georgia who starts out quite bratty but settles down and becomes a great, interesting character throughout the rest of the story.Hill’s ghost, the former hypnotist and downright crazy Craddock McDermott, is a blast to read. Craddock puts Jude through the wringer with trippy dream sequences and deadly mind games. As the reader, it’s hard to get a handle on what’s happening when Jude passes out and the ghoul takes over but I suppose that adds to the fear gripping Jude’s beat-up brain. Craddock can also seemingly take possession of TVs, radios and telephones to freak out his target making certain scenes unsettling.There’s a few minor gripes like the constant references to pale skin and the umpteen Trent Reznor shout-outs but those are small in scale. It’s clear that Hill was destined for greatness from his first novel onward and while Heart-Shaped Box is certainly frightening fiction, it only gets better from here on out.Also posted @ Every Read Thing.
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