Summary and book reviews of Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box

A Novel.

by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill X
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2008, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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

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 as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly 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, no benign conversation piece. 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 bony hand. . . .

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

1

Jude had a private collection.

He had framed sketches of the Seven Dwarfs on the wall of his studio, in between his platinum records. John Wayne Gacy had drawn them while he was in jail and sent them to him. Gacy liked golden-age Disney almost as much as he liked molesting little kids; almost as much as he liked Jude’s albums.

Jude had the skull of a peasant who had been trepanned in the sixteenth century, to let the demons out. He kept a collection of pens jammed into the hole in the center of the cranium.

He had a three-hundred-year-old confession, signed by a witch. “I did spake with a black dogge who sayd hee wouldst poison cows, drive horses mad and sicken children for me if I wouldst let him have my soule, and I sayd aye, and after did give him sucke at my breast.” She was burned to death.

He had a stiff and worn noose that had been used to hang a man in England at the turn of the nineteenth century, Aleister Crowley’s ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In short, Hill knows his audience. If horror is your genre you're likely to find yourself satisfied with his first novel, and with book rights already sold in at least 17 countries and a movie already being planned, it's likely we'll be hearing more from Hill, son of Stephen King, before too long.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review (550 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.

Media Reviews

International Herald Tribune - Janet Maslin

Though it has the potential to fall back on tricks and pyrotechnics, "Heart-Shaped Box" is firmly rooted in real-world concerns. 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.

Chicago Sun-Times - David Montgomery

If there's one thing that Stephen King can do, just about better than anyone, it's craft a story that is all but guaranteed to scare the pants off the reader. While Hill may not quite manage that feat, he gets pretty close for a first-time author. All in all, Heart-Shaped Box is a worthy novel. The elder King is no doubt proud.

Horror World Book Reviews

Joe Hill creates a novel that is sure to stand up proudly against any of the classic ghost stories that reside on your bookshelf.

Library Journal

Starred Review. [A] wrenching and effective ghost story."

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. His 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.

Kirkus Reviews

Much will be made of the kinship of Hill and his superstar father, Stephen King, but Hill can stand on his own two feet. He's got horror down pat, and his debut is hair-raising fun.

Author Blurb Neil Gaiman
Heart-Shaped Box is, quite simply, the best debut horror novel since Clive Barker's Damnation Game, twenty years ago. It's the kind of book that the overworked adjectives people use on book jackets — relentless, gripping, powerful, a genuine page-turner — were really meant to describe, for it's all of those things, and enormously smart besides. A genuinely scary novel filled with people you care about; the kind of book that still stays in your mind after you've turned over the final page. I loved it unreservedly.

Reader Reviews

Paige V.

WOW!
For my english class my teacher suggested my group should read A Heart Shaped Box. I am so glad I read it. I could not put it down. It was one of the best books I have ever read. I felt as if I was in the plat watching everything take place. The ...   Read More

anthony nash

heart shaped box
Some people drink champagne some people drink orange juice and some people drink ditch water. I am not a hobo, this book was drinking ditch water. The apple has fallen far from the tree.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Joseph Hillstrom King (pen name: Joe Hill), born in 1971, is the oldest son of Tabitha and Stephen King. He has an older sister, Naomi, and a younger brother, Owen. His stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and his first book, a collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts, won the British Fantasy Award for "Best Collection" and "Best Short Fiction" in 2006, but was not published in the USA until October 2007.

On the one hand, Hill appears to ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Heart-Shaped Box, try these:

  • The Monsters of Templeton jacket

    The Monsters of Templeton

    by Lauren Groff

    Published 2008

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    "The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass." So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl's search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story.

  • The Terror jacket

    The Terror

    by Dan Simmons

    Published 2007

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph; part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, they set out in the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage. Years later, trapped in a landscape of encroaching ice and darkness, endlessly cold, and with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive as an ...

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...
  • Book Jacket: Fortress America
    Fortress America
    by Elaine Tyler May
    In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Next Year in Havana
    by Chanel Cleeton

    a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she finds a family secret hidden since the revolution.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    As Bright as Heaven
    by Susan Meissner

    A story of a family reborn through loss and love in Philadelphia during the flu epidemic of 1918.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

A gripping novel from the award-winning author of For Today I Am a Boy.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G O T P, B The P, F T P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.