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Heart-Shaped Box Audiobook

Heart-Shaped Box

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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

4.0 (3696 )
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4.3 (2449 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Hannah Coop 01-09-15
    Hannah Coop 01-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I didn't want it to end."

    Joe Hill is such a fantastic story teller. this isn't his first novel I'll read/ listeners to and it won't be my last.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    misty 01-03-15
    misty 01-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    20
    5
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    "I liked it!"

    Good story. I think I've met these people in real life. It was narrated well. Worth my credit. Good AB!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    monsolo 11-30-14
    monsolo 11-30-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Boring. More like an action novel than horror"
    Would you try another book from Joe Hill and/or Stephen Lang?

    Maybe. But this book doesn't make me a Joe Hill fan.


    Has Heart-Shaped Box turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes it did turn me off from other books by Joe Hill.


    What didn’t you like about Stephen Lang’s performance?

    Stephen Lang is ok. Just that I didn't like the story,


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The first part was creepy and I feel that Joe Hill has a way with words. It's just that the story deteriorated into some car chase, action type of story.


    Any additional comments?

    I expected something dark and creepy, instead I got a fist-fight between man and ghost.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 11-22-14
    Rob 11-22-14 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "First Joe Hill book for me - won't be the last!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story is original and moves along at a good pace, but it is the characters, and how the author develops them that has me downloading more Joe Hill books. I just wanted to sit and listen to the conversations between the characters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Georgia. She seems like a stereotype when first introduced but as her story is revealed she is a sweetheart, someone who has had a rough life that hasn't changed who she truly is.


    What about Stephen Lang’s performance did you like?

    Stephen Lang did a great job of moving between the characters, both male and female, as well as interjecting a Southern accent when needed.


    Who was the most memorable character of Heart-Shaped Box and why?

    Judas Coyne. His motivation, his perseverance, his desire.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 11-20-14
    James 11-20-14
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    10
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    "What's with the music?"
    Where does Heart-Shaped Box rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    With regard to the plot and performance, I was very pleased with this audiobook. I'm a Joe Hill fan and I hadn't yet read this so I was pleased to see it was available. And Stephen Lang does a great job in the performing of it. The only issue I had was that between a few of the breaks in the story, there is this ridiculous electronic music that has zero to do with the story at all. Your lead character is a metal singer; if you're gonna have music at breaks, make it metal. Anyway, not a huge gripe but I did find myself baffled by this addition.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Hill is a solid writer. He's able to tell an interesting and creepy story without it running all over the place. His characters have depth and he drops in little details that both flesh out the story and foreshadow coming events.


    Have you listened to any of Stephen Lang’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first of Lang's performances I've heard but I was impressed. He shows a hell of a range and manages to make the various character voices distinguishable and engaging.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dubyados 11-17-14
    Dubyados 11-17-14
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    8
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    "Listen to With the Lights On!"
    What did you love best about Heart-Shaped Box?

    The story just kept going and going...had to take breaks to slow my heartbeat!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I really liked the dogs. :-)


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All scenes great.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I shivered, trembled, got anxiety and high blood-pressure, can't stop jumping when I hear a bump in the night...


    Any additional comments?

    The book is so much fun! I highly recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Seattle, WA, United States 11-15-14
    Rebecca Seattle, WA, United States 11-15-14 Member Since 2016

    Retired teacher and interpreter. I read classic and contemporary fiction, as well as Mystery/Suspense/Horror, Fantasy&Sci-fi.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Southern Gothic"

    I really love the choice of narrator here. Stephen Lang perfectly captures the Southern growl of the main character, the slow evil drawl of the bad guy. ..Perfect!
    Cool premise, good action, suspenseful story arch...
    If you enjoy King/ Koontz style horror, you'll enjoy this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Casey 11-14-14
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    5
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    "Absolutely Amazing Must Read"
    If you could sum up Heart-Shaped Box in three words, what would they be?

    Horrifying, Entertaining, Thrill-ride


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Georgia was my favorite character. Her character was wonderfully developed, like an onion. Layers being peeled back revealing more and more facets of personality as the book unfolds.


    Which character – as performed by Stephen Lang – was your favorite?

    Stephan Lang performed the Dead Man wonderfully. Very creepy, his voice haunted.


    Any additional comments?

    I have a nack for predicting the outcome of plot lines in horror stories - but this kept me on my toes the entire time. The plot twisted and turned, blurring the lines between reality and non-reality. You felt the entire ride with the characters. I can't tell you how many times my jaw dropped in horror as Stephan Lang wove images of creepy events taking place. I was sad when it was over it was so good. What a thrill ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl Ryan Stemple 11-13-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Almost a Classic"

    Hill's freshman novel does something that countless aspiring horror novelists dream of doing and yet so frequently come just short of accomplishing - it channels the spirit of his father, while speaking in a voice all its own.

    At the book's strongest moments, that voice is the gravely baritone of Judas Coyne as he slowly changes from a grizzled and septic ex-rock-god into a grizzled yet tendered ex-rock-god. It's a slow and trudging arc, and it costs Judas and his loved-ones more than most would be able to bear, but it's a fulfilling evolution from someone we immediately disdain to someone we can at least be happy for. That he is spiritually redeemed (so to speak) by the strength and will of two women he learns he's loved too little is also a slow, quiet thing that at times ventures into the realm of objectification, though that's just another hurtle that Judas must confront in his fight for salvation from his haunting - both by his literal ghost and by his own inner ghosts. It's also worth noting that those women don't need Judas to save them from anything, even though he couldn't save them even though he wants to.

    I wouldn't say that the book was at any point "frightening." More like "unnerving" and "uncomfortable," which is a fine thing for a horror novel to be, especially when, as is the case with Heart-Shaped Box, the foul things that are most unnerving are not paranormal in nature, but horrifically human. Abuse. Deceit. Deep, plummeting regret and the fear of harming another unwittingly. These are repugnant and all-too real in our world, and they pull at our gut just as they pull at Judas'.

    What brings this particular presentation of Hill down a peg for me is purely in the narration. Not that Lang doesn't do a satisfactory job at reading the general prose - I found his voice quite soothing and level, actually. That was part of the problem in parts, though - he was far too level, especially when the story calls for the characters to be terrified, or in reeling pain, or an inch from death. He picked a voice for each character, and then stuck to it unflinchingly, in all but one case. His voice of the ghost Craddock is all over the place, beginning as a low, rumbling Right-Wing Televangelist's Georgia-drawl and ending with a wispy, old prospector's bark. Again, it's a slow transition, but one that was never warranted or earned. It felt like he simply forgot how he began recording that particular voice by the end of the novel.

    There are other minor quirks I have that keep this from being a full-fledged classic in my heart - the too-neatly-wrapped-up ending, the reasoning behind the survival of a particular character, a few inconsistencies of paranormal rules and expectations - but on the whole, a book that is almost a classic is far and away better than most books published.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RF 11-11-14
    RF 11-11-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The least best of Joe Hill."
    Would you try another book from Joe Hill and/or Stephen Lang?

    I would like to


    If you’ve listened to books by Joe Hill before, how does this one compare?

    This isn't my favourite, but it is still a good story.


    Any additional comments?

    Good story, good narrator. But N0S4A2, and Horns are better!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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