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Heart-Shaped Box

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  124,264 ratings  ·  9,950 reviews
An aging death-metal rock god, 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 unlikely or as dreadful as an item he learns is for sale on the Internet. For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by the deceased's restless sp ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 376 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  124,264 ratings  ·  9,950 reviews

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Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hi. Hello there! Yes, YOU. Hi.

Are you always looking for original and quirky scary stories?

If you answered, yes, I would like to put forth Heart-Shaped Box for your consideration. Unique and just damn cool, this is a must read for fans of the macabre.

This gritty, haunting tale had my horror-loving heart swooning with how eerie it was. Joe Hill is truly talented author.

He writes with such conviction that you find yourself believing what the narrator is telling you no matter how far-fetched it m
Will Byrnes
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
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 blithe 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 ...more
La Petite Américaine
Jun 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Guess what, my friends, I might have made the wrong reading choice to celebrate the horror week on Goodreads and Halloween month! Don’t get me wrong, I read so many works of Joe Hill and this book already get rusty and dusty for waiting inside the stomach of my tbr monster forever!

So I cut the cord and get the book into my hands even though it hurt my arms because it is heavier than dozen bricks. But long paged readings never scared me and I never cared to look like a member of wrestling team w
Rebecca (on a review writing break!)
"The mad sometimes drilled holes in their own heads to let the demons out. To relieve the pressure of thoughts they could no longer bear. Jude understood the impulse. Each beat of his heart was a fresh and staggering blow felt in the nerves behind his eyes and in his temples. Punishing evidence of life."

Aging rock star Judas Coyne spends his retirement collecting morbid memorabilia, including a witch's confession, a hangman’s noose, a real snuff film and, after being sent an email directly a
Oct 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
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 slightest motivation to talk about this book, because quite frankly, I just hated 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 ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My third Joe Hill, and my second reading of one of his novels. I'm afraid once again I am underwhelmed, maybe having read Locke & Key Omnibus 1 twice before reading one of his books, my expectations were way too high? I should add other than Odd Thomas I can't stand ghost stories.

A rock star in his 50s, who collects the macabre, is notified of a 'ghost' for sale. He can't resist the temptation, and purchases the ghost! His much younger girlfriend and his wonder(!) dog's lives will never be the s

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
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
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. Unf
Dan Schwent
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, horror
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
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For those of you who don't know, Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King.
And, yip, the old man gave him some tips, that's for sure.

One of the reasons Stephen King has inspired just about every horror writer for decades, is that he writes small town 'America' better than anybody. I say 'America', because I have never been to the USA and I grew up in a city, but his stories puts me right there, as if I grew up and live in a small town.
Hill shows signs of the same type of voice.

This is a ghost story,
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, 2020, horror
Great ending to a heavy and intense book!

I'm glad I read Heart-Shaped Box after-all!

I have been struggling with this book for weeks.

It wasn't the book, it's more of what is going on with the world and Covid-19 right now.
If I had read this book last year, it wouldn't have affected me as much with the heavy topics and sense of dread I had every time I picked up the book.
I can agree now that mood reading is very real!

Heart-Shaped Box has some uncomfortable topics in it so it's not for the faint of
Jun 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
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 lo
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2018-shelf
With relentlessly good characterization, this debut horror novel by the now-firmly-established powerhouse of Joe Hill rocks one hell of a good ghost story.

I have a thing for stories about aging rockers. I don't know what it is. They're just so pathetic and glorious and full of redemptive possibilities and gloriousness. :)

In this case, he's just built such a gruesome persona over the years and he's pretty much any horror-writer's dream rocker. You know, like Ozzy, but more like Rob Zombie or a bi
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.25* of five

The 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
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?!

3.5 Stars

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 n
Feb 07, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Helluva debut from this author. The subject matter is heavy, really heavy, and long run honestly is more about the human element than the supernatural hence the rating.

Not a bad book, the spooky parts were great and the story as a whole is good stuff. It's just not as much horror as I thought. Still there are plenty of 'on your feet moments' and it reads very easily.

I'm excited for other forays of this author.
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
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
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
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
OK, so I need to get back to reviewing, because I'm staring to fall behind again, and it's messing with my OCD. Plus, I feel like my initial reaction is a good thing to get down right away, since so often I find myself changing my opinion of a novel, and it's always fun to go back and read what I wrote before I had time to mull it over.

I read this one really fast. This is the third novel I have read of Hill's, and it did not disappoint. I'm supposed to be reading this as a buddy read on Instagr
David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
Dave's Quick Judgement -

- The prose is very gripping.
- Many genuinely creepy moments.
- Frequent musical references add a little extra spice to the story.

- 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).

I found this to be a good ghost story, just not a great
It was fun taking this ride down the night road again, this time on audio.

I was not crazy about the narrator, nor the musical bits in between the chapters, but the story itself is still good, though maybe not quite as good as I remembered. Still, Craddock and his creepy eyes remain scary AF.

joyce g
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked it! Crazy, scary fun!
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-deals
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
***3 Stars***

This book was recommended to me by a dear friend and from the get go, I wanted to love it.

**A jumble of thoughts and mild spoilers ahead**

Out of all things scarry, I am mostly creeped out by ghosts and I thought this story might scare the bejeezus out of me (as it's advertised as horror). But that wasn't the case at all.

I also took off two stars, because:

1. I wasn't the biggest fan of the idea of a middle aged rocker (is 53 middle aged, or old?) screwing around with muuuuch, much
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 expe ...more
Alissa Patrick
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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Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

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