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Heart-Shaped Box | [Joe Hill]

Heart-Shaped Box

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet. For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing.
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Publisher's Summary

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is widely known. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will sell my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder.

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts: of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more? But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door...seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting - with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand.

A multiple award-winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.

©2007 Joe Hill; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award winner, Thriller/Suspense, 2008
  • Thriller Award, Best Novel, 2008

"Powerful....[Hill's] subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Hill elicits honest empathy for Jude, who turned his stage persona into a nightmare version of his fears and must now figure out what strength he has left for legitimate battles. This dynamic is both frightening and funny, and the book weaves together those two threads in clever ways." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2266 )
5 star
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Overall
3.9 (1134 )
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4.2 (1136 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Linda DeSoto, TX, United States 04-28-07
    Linda DeSoto, TX, United States 04-28-07 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
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    74
    15
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    1
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    Overall
    "Enticing"

    Read beautifully. The characters are unique and interesting. The story captures and holds your attention and you are willing to suspend disbelief most of the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JD. Cherry, IL, United States 04-26-07
    JD. Cherry, IL, United States 04-26-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
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    353
    8
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    3
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    Overall
    "WOW! What a great book!"

    Stephen King must be one proud Dad. Joe Hill is at least as good as his Dad if not better. I loved this book and I am not a great reader of scary tale. I liked King's "Different Seasons" best of all his books. Anyway this is a great story with a fast paced plot and well defined characters. I listened to it nonstop on my iPod I couldn’t stop. Stephen Lang does a terrific job reading this book too. The best book I have bought in several years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Oliver Texas 04-21-07
    T. Oliver Texas 04-21-07 Member Since 2012

    Lady Gato

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    74
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Very Scary!"

    Don't buy this one if you want a gentle ride! The characters are likable, and the story is chilling. No waiting for something to happen-- this author obviously knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire book. I'm a longtime fan of Stephen King, and a new fan of Joe Hill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Marshall, TX, USA 04-17-07
    Rhonda Marshall, TX, USA 04-17-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Heart Shaped Box"

    Except for some of the language, this book was excellent...I was walking on the treadmill not even aware of how long I was there each day...so totally into the story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maritt 04-13-07
    Maritt 04-13-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    "Like Father Like Son"

    If you like Stephen King, you'll love this, his son is great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Norwalk, IA, United States 03-29-07
    Rob Norwalk, IA, United States 03-29-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    95
    3
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    Overall
    "great book"

    To simply say this book was really good would be an understatement. The combination of a great book and a narrator equally as great make this audio book too good to stop listening to until the very end. Unlike most books out there, the ending is not just an end, it leaves one with a sense of closure. It does not just end, it ends the way a book is supposed to end- telling you everything you ever wondered about a book when it ended too soon. Stephen Lang does an excellent job of reading this book. He does it in such an amazing way. You cannot stop listening to it, and when you do, you wake up in the middle of the night and see the old man in his old suit sitting in your room mouthing the words "keep listening." Joe Hill did not just write a great book, equaling the best of his father Steven King, he wrote one that might be better than anything King ever dreamed of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Livingston CA USA 03-27-07
    M. Livingston CA USA 03-27-07 Member Since 2012

    NanaGamer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    197
    4
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    0
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    "Hill is a King!"

    Like a previous reviewer, I too got this book because I'm a huge Stephen King fan - the hook worked on me too! And, like another reviewer, I was prepared to be disappointed. NOT! Joe Hill is definitely his father's son. I compare Joe Hill to his father because, as far as I'm concerned, Stephen King is the best modern writer out there and I compare every book and author in the horror genre to the best. Hill's characters are superbly developed, the story line is wonderfully scary and original, and the progression is fast paced. As I got close to the story's end I couldn't put it down - but, at the same time, I didn't want it to be over! I loved it and will be a Hill fan for as long as he can crank out horror of this quality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Grand Rapids, MN, USA 03-22-07
    Kevin Grand Rapids, MN, USA 03-22-07 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    "Wow"

    OK, I know it's supposed to have been written by Stevie's son, but... Given the age of the main character, the mention of AC/DC (if I remember correctly, a favorite of the senior Mr. King), the descriptive narrative, the whole feel of the book makes me wonder, if it wasn't written by the master, have his books been ghost-written by the son???

    This was the first book which made me wish my road trip was 3 hours longer just so I could finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard J. Riker Southampton, NJ USA 03-21-07
    Richard J. Riker Southampton, NJ USA 03-21-07 Member Since 2000

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
    ratings
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    27
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    Overall
    "Am I the only one . . ."

    OK! Am I the only one who thinks that the latter Steven King books have become wordy, predictable, and – frankly – a bit boring? Unfortunately, it seems to me that Joe Hill has learned at the knee of the latter (father) Steven King, not the early (daddy) Steven King.

    The opening scenes of Heart Shaped Box were excellent. I have been around for many, many years and I find few books, films, etc. to be pleasantly scary. The opening of this book was excellent. It was scary. But then, the story settled into repetitious scenes, much ghost-babble, uninteresting flash backs, etc. In fact, words, words, words.

    I once accused an author of writing as if he were paid by the word. The same thought occurred to me while reading this book. “Get on with it, man!”

    I found this book to be ultimately boring. (Pre-thanks to the one or two of you who will agree with me.) Oh, yes – good reader!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Santa Fe, NM, United States 03-19-07
    Mark Santa Fe, NM, United States 03-19-07 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    144
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    234
    53
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    1
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    Overall
    "Good first effort"

    Good first effort. Unlike the other reviewers, I was not "blown away" by this book. I did not find the book scary or even disturbing. I actually found it predictable and rather plodding, essentially the same scenario occuring over and over again. That said, I would recommend this book with reservations. It's kind of like Stephen King on Nyquil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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