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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    1,852
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Great story

Incredible story, well written. Gripping from start to finish. Check this one out!! Great Read

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Joe Hill is a smooth operator

Any additional comments?

After reading a long list of bad reviews for HSB, I'm even more convinced than before that there's no accounting for perspective or personal taste. Not that those displeased reviewers have poor taste, that's not what I mean. I mean, they did not see the same book that I have seen in Heart Shaped Box. And I have no idea how that could have happened as the writing here is just slick.Full disclosure, I thought that this book was a little too smooth at times, with some events almost blending together. I thought the thing with the heart shaped boxes continually popping up in various forms and places was a little random and irreconcilable. I also thought the bad guy's motivation was a bit fuzzy and convoluted at times.BUT! The writing is just solid. The story is not just horror, it's sociological and supernatural as well. The characters rule the narrative in a way that is realistic--never strained or overly explicit. The pace of the story is highly balanced yet action packed all the way through the entire listen. This story is not completely tight, but it's really close. Color me impressed.

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not worth the hype

so disappointed. I expected more based upon the other reviews. it was weird like King but definitely not scary.

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A Haunting Good Tale

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is definitely one of the ones I would recommend. The story is gripping and the narration is tops!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Heart-Shaped Box?

When Jude and Georgia get in the car and go down see the sister of Florida. His out of body experience (for lack of anything better to call it) afterwards when he is witnessing what takes place in the home with the sisters and the stepdaddy - getting ready to drug and kill her. Yowza.

Which scene was your favorite?

I think I just described it above.

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

It made me stay up past my bedtime listening to it. No tears, but lots of fears.

Any additional comments?

I will be listening/reading more from Joe Hill.

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Repeat listener

Joe Hill is my favorite author, I don't love this book as much as I love Horns or Nos4a2 but it's still one of a handful that I can listen to more than once. I have a hard time listening to this in the dark before bed, just too creepy. Parts of the story also bring me to tears. I think the narrator does a great job & his voice fits the story for me.

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Would have been better if 3 hrs shorther

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I don't know

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the idea of a ghost being attached to a former possession of theirs and that it could be owned if another person now has that possession.

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

His country accents. he seems to think all southern girls sound like Yosemite Sam.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Heart-Shaped Box?

the last hour of the book could have been shortened. the final resolution had come and gone yet there was still an hour of unnecessary scenes to listen to. all it would have needed was a final wrap up.

Any additional comments?

the book started off great. it got right down to the story without a lot of unnecessary side plots. however, once the ghost is introduced the plot just sort of meanders about for another 7 or so hours. seriously the book went on another hour after the final resolution and it added nothing to the story. I'll pass on this author in the future.

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Rehashed Storyline

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Not sure who would really enjoy this story. Maybe Stephen King fans since this is his son.

What could Joe Hill have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I don't mind swearing or anything in books as long as it's not over used and fits the scene. This book is just full of swearing and bad language for no real purpose other than apparently the author can't think of other words to use. The storyline is just a rehash of an old tired story that didn't bring anything new to the table.

What aspect of Stephen Lang’s performance would you have changed?

Narration was fine, I didn't have any issues with the narrator.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Heart-Shaped Box?

The whole story was just eh, nothing new, nothing exciting, I would have scrapped the whole thing.

Any additional comments?

If you enjoyed the book, there is nothing wrong with that. Not every book is for every reader and this one just wasn't for me.

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Great!

Would you consider the audio edition of Heart-Shaped Box to be better than the print version?

I have never read the print, so I don't know if the audio is better but I enjoyed this very much.

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

I'm just going to say that Joe Hill is awesomely comparable to Joe Hill. I've added him to my favorite author's list.

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Great story and Performance

A fun horror story from Joe Hill. This is the second novel of Joe Hill's that I've listened to on audio book. The other was NOS4A2.
The good: gory but engaging horror story where an aging Goth-like rocker Judas Coin (think Rob Zombie) buys a supposedly haunted suit off an auction website. The problem is, what he first thinks could be a cool publicity gag turns into a nightmare when he finds out the suit really is haunted and he's just unleashed a malevolent ghost into his life.
Hill's language and style mesh well in a story where the protagonist's experience slips between the physical and ethereal perspectives he does this well and I often had to click the back 30 seconds to make sure I was following right.
Great reading
Bad: only things that didn't sit well with me were plot and character issues-for instance, the sudden haunting was almost too easily accepted by Jude without much in the way of his trying to figure out why it was happening or even rationalizing it. I also didn't find the main characters as sympathetic as I wanted. Perhaps that's more of a personality thing on my part but there wasn't any actual emotional connection. I did, however, enjoy the story as a whole.

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It was good!

Very descriptive (sometimes too descriptive... Lol), but extremely creative and overall a great horror novel! Stephen Lang was perfect for the role!