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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 (2651 )
5 star
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Overall
4.0 (1492 )
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Story
4.2 (1496 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-03-10
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-03-10 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Grossly over-rated"

    3 stars is generous and it is only because he can write. I found the story far-fetched with undeveloped characters I really didn't care about. Some of his themes are really overused and predictable (no spoilers here.) Why does he feel he has to follow in King's footsteps, anyway?
    On the bright side, the narrator did a great job.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Brainerd, MN 56401, MN, USA 03-01-07
    Adam Brainerd, MN 56401, MN, USA 03-01-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    Overall
    "Good AudoiBook"

    As a new member to Audible and this being the first audiobook I have listened to, it was more than i expected.
    I am and always have been a big fan of Stephen King and John Saul. The storylines and concepts that they have, i can feel my imagination run with thier writing styles. Joe Hill at first was a streach for me. It was one that i appreciate i did do.
    If you are not a fan of the "F"-bomb, the first few hours of the book will be a bit to get thru. After the initial 150 of them you just become immune or they stop using it.
    All in all the book was something that i would reccomend to anyone that is interested in Dark storylines and has an open mind.
    Great job narrator and Joe Hill!!!!

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer M. Ryan Near KC MO 02-17-07
    Jennifer M. Ryan Near KC MO 02-17-07 Member Since 2012

    lostknitter

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Most Excellent"

    I really enjoyed this book. I am a fan of Stephen King, and bought this book based on that (I know, shallow, but it worked this time). I thought the story was very original and very scary, I enjoyed the characters, even the bad ones were very good in that they seemed to me to be true to themselves. I hope this is the beginning of a long line of books from Mr Hill. I will be looking for his work in the future.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda B Northeast USA 12-04-10
    Linda B Northeast USA 12-04-10 Member Since 2013
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    "A little disappointing"

    I read Horns first, and was quite impressed. This novel came before Horns, but I felt it was not as good. I agree with another reviewer here, that I had a hard time caring much about the self-styled, goth/heavy metal star. He collects and discards women companions and doesn't even call them by their name but by the state they came from - like a product, and surrounds himself with things like snuff films and letters of women burned alive as witches. Unlike horns, it is just hard to care about these characters. The humanity is slowly developed to a small extent as the story goes on, but it is kind of too little too late. The main character is just not particularly likeable or appealing or even interesting, so it is hard to really get too excited about his woes.

    Also, the story plods along a bit. After a while, it is just the main characters being tortured by a ghost and doesn't really seem to go anywhere for long stretches.

    It isn't bad, and certainly has its moments, and many might find it scary. But I felt the characters are just too dark for too long to really make the reader care much about them, and the story just isn't as strong as Joe HIll's other work.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The B0lt New Hampshire, USA 12-16-07
    The B0lt New Hampshire, USA 12-16-07 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Ghost Story."

    I'd never heard of Joe Hill before, but upon learning he was Stephen King's son, was intrigued to see if the gift is in the genes. It is! This is a great ghost story, but also a great story of relationships and what people will do to keep the important ones intact.

    A good listen and a wonderful first novel for Joe Hill. I look forward to reading him for years to come!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cranberry 12-11-07
    Cranberry 12-11-07 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretty good"

    The story kept moving forward at a very quick pace. I can't think how many times I wondered how anything more could happen, but it did. I would have liked a more interesting ending, but as a whole, a pretty good book. The narrator was very good.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BarbieA1 Austin, TX United States 12-01-07
    BarbieA1 Austin, TX United States 12-01-07 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Boring and tedious"

    I simply can't finish this book. It's dark and disturbing. But that's not the reason I can't finish it... It's because I'm about 1/3 of the way through and frankly I could care less about the protagonist. I'm sure as the story proceeds one might grow to care or at least become interested in Jude.

    However I can't stick it out that long. The author/narrator reads like a reduced-speed automaton (which has been programmed to sound ominous) and the female characters all sound mentally challenged.

    The narration, along with the boring protagonist, don't provide the motivation I need to muddle through this dark story.

    The author is otherwise a talented writer. I wish his success with his next effort.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cayce Atlanta, GA, United States 10-03-14
    Cayce Atlanta, GA, United States 10-03-14 Member Since 2006
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    "I mostly liked it..."

    So this book started really slow for me. I was into the premise, but there seemed to be a lot of time spent with the ghost early on. It picked up the pace as the book went along and my enjoyment increased as a result. Are the characters kind of unlikable, as some have said? Well, yes. But I just bought in to that part and it didn't bother me. I thought they were written completely in character and I was glad that we didn't have to watch them become saintly by the end. Did they grow? Yes. Did they change their stripes. No.

    I really liked Nos4a2 and thought this was not quite as good. That said, it was an enjoyable read and after it got going held my attention completely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 04-30-14
    Richard 04-30-14
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    "Eh...not that impressed"
    What did you like best about Heart-Shaped Box? What did you like least?

    I like the premise of the story, but it seemed to be dragged out longer than it needed to be. There seemed to be a lot of 'filler'.


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

    Not as good. I enjoyed Horns much more.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was average, but what really brought it down as a whole was the unnecessary techno musical interludes placed randomly throughout the reading.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Williamson Miami, FL 04-07-14
    K. Williamson Miami, FL 04-07-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Performance
    Story
    "Freaking Scary/Un-Nerving..."
    Would you listen to Heart-Shaped Box again? Why?

    This is Deep Psychology, real enough to be real..which makes it all the more Scary. I thought Koontz and Craven had the Top of the list, but Wow, this was a story and Joe Hill nailed it.

    1. Suspenseful, it kept it going, to the very last 30 seconds I kept thinking 'Will She...'

    2. Dark and Deep, a kind of Hypnotic Lull.. I at times thought it to dark and I wanted to be happy, but I wanted to find out how the story played out. The characters are on constant edge, so tired of the chase that it would be easier to give up kind of drama.

    3. "It Could Happen" kind of Ghost / Spirit points. Who hasn't seen a ghost, had a premonition etc.

    One of the Darkest Stories ever, not gore, but Pure Evil, Angry vs Love and Triumph. But mostly the ending, that is always the hardest point of any book/story. Again Joe Hill Nailed it, it will surprise you to the bitter end. Imagine someone from beyond the grave can control your mind, and whose one goal is to kill you at all cost. He can appear anywhere, control others to come at you, even your girlfriend...that my friend is not something I want to happen to me..


    What other book might you compare Heart-Shaped Box to and why?

    Tick Tock by Dean Koontz. This one was better than Tick Tock but it had the same 'being chased by the Devil Himself Panic.


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

    Craddock...The one who came back from the dead with a Vengance to Kill Jude and anyone who helped him. The Voice was un-nervingly evil, calm and leacherous.


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

    Craddock. His Character just never quit, was around every corner, a evil presence that could control your mind and make you see/do what ever he wanted you to do. Part Army Interrogation/Hypnosis and Voodo...


    Any additional comments?

    A Dark Book, it evelopes you this way. As noted a few times I was like 'to depressing' and I wanted to go out and do something else. But ever time I stopped the audio book I couldn't wait to continue it.

    I definately thought I saw a 2nd part brewing there...Craddocks daughter is still alive after all !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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