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Heart-Shaped Box

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  54,118 ratings  ·  4,840 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 376 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by William Morrow (first published 2007)
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The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen KingSalem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerPet Sematary by Stephen King
Best Horror Novels
15th out of 1,263 books — 3,940 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensHeart-Shaped Box by Joe HillGhost Story by Peter Straub
Ghost Stories
4th out of 800 books — 1,317 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
...more
La Petite Américaine
Sep 11, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Book Burners :)
Shelves: sucked, rants
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
...more
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
...more
Hannah
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
...more
Sammy
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 ...more
Robert
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 ...more
Phrynne
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 ...more
Brandon
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 ...more
Stefan Yates
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
...more
Kasia S.
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 ...more
Maciek
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
...more
Steven
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!
Becky
Jan 21, 2009 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephen King fans, horror fans
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
...more
Trin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David "proud member of Branwen's adventuring party"
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
...more
Sesana
It's pretty much common knowledge now that Joe Hill is Joseph King, son of Stephen King. I haven't read King in probably more than a decade, but from my memory, Hill has a similar style, all sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and gross stuff. Ok, maybe not so much with the drugs, though there are some really trippy sections.

Jude (a sort of all-purpose metal god of yore) buys the suit of a dead man from an online auction because the seller claims it will come with a ghost. He gets far more than he bargai
...more
Ruth Turner

DNF at 85%

I hadn’t heard of Joe Hill until just recently when I saw a review of In The Tall Grass, a book he co-authored with his father, Stephen King. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t particularly like the story, but I thought Joe Hill deserved a chance to shine on his own, so I picked up a copy of Heart Shaped Box.

The premise was good, the writing was excellent, there was great attention to detail, and for about the first half of the book I was totally absorbed, despite the fact that I really di
...more
Apatt
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
...more
Stepheny
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
...more
Rebecca McNutt
A vividly chilling horror novel that proves that what goes around, comes around. Filled with creativity, an assortment of odd characters and vibrant (and at times disturbing and haunting) imagery, this is definitely a book worth reading if you into horror or thrillers.
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 who he holds dear. I was not ecstatic early on about the premise, as I believed it was insufficient to sustain a book of t his length. Although I have read better horror books, this one turned out well enough. What ...more
Ademilson Moraes
Despite having a general curiosity about the paranormal, I never read so many books regarding the subject. The only time I ever read something similar to this book was when I was fourteen years old; a book from Stephen King which I had borrowed from a friend. Years passed, I forgot even the name of the book (way to go, brain!). On my eighteenth birthday my best friend gave me this book as a gift and I got really surprised when, a little before starting to read it, I discovered the author was act ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Regular readers know that one of the subjects I'm often talking about here at CCLaP is that of so-called "genre fiction" versus "mainstream literature," and especially of the natural danger of the former; that many genre novels are as popular as they are simply because they deliver that genre's fetish
...more
Lou
Good page turner. Well written debut he knows how to spin a twist in a Tale of loss and redemption. Skillful character development you can't help not care for the women invloved in the story. He's one author to look out for.
Book trailer and inetrview @ my webpage http://more2read.com/?review=heart-sh...
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
O. M. G. ... can this book any creepier??!!
This is the first Hill book I have read and now, I am a loyal fan just like I am of his father's work. He sure didn't fall far from that tree.

Chris
So, I have officially given up the ghost on Heart-Shaped Box.
(See what I did there? Ehhh?)

I can go no further, I'm afraid and have given it all the shots it's going to get. Sadly, I'm not 100% certain mine will be a fair review as (a) I didn't actually FINISH the book, and
(b) I'm not a horror fan.

I read this book as part of a Bossy Book Challenge for Apocalypse Whenever, a fantastic post-apocalyptic/dystopian group here on GR. I knew going in that there was a chance this book might end up on th
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
The Book Report: 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 (d ...more
Robert Beveridge
Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box (Morrow, 2007)

There are times when you want a book that will challenge you, something immensely difficult but rewarding, something that will make you see the world in a slightly new way when you're finished with it. And then there are times when you just want something that's a damned good read. Heart-Shaped Box certainly qualifies as the latter. It's not deathless literature by any means, but once it gets its hooks into you, it won't let go until the very end.

Joe Hill
...more
K.Z. Snow
An unfortunate example of why the horror genre is in desperate need of another Shirley Jackson.

Less is more. A deft touch trumps ham-handedness.

I was absorbed -- at first -- in spite of the asshole "hero." However, what I thought would be a richly imagined and nuanced spookfest quickly degenerated into a derivative gorefest with wholly unsympathetic, undeveloped protagonists. (Going into excruciating, repetitive detail about characters' pasts and larding those details with sordid melodrama is no
...more
Meg
To say that I loved this book would be the biggest understatement of the summer. To say that I adore the main two characters is putting it mildly. Joe Hill become one of my favorite authors in less than 400 pages. When Jude buys a ghost and a suit on an on line auction, he gets more than he thought he would and realizes very quickly he is in over his head. Along with his girlfriend, whom he calls Georgia, they try to figure out what exactly is going on and how they can stop it before time runs o ...more
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Joseph Hillstrom King (born 1972) is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.

Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill's first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and wo
...more
More about Joe Hill...
Horns NOS4A2 Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft Locke & Key, Vol. 2: Head Games 20th Century Ghosts

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“Horror was rooted in sympathy . . . in understanding what it would be like to suffer the worst.” 53 likes
“All the world is made of music. We are all strings on a lyre. We resonate. We sing together.” 35 likes
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