Customer Reviews for

Heart-Shaped Box

Average Rating 4
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(218)

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(18)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

Creepy Cool

I heard a lot of people raving about this book and the "rental line" was too long, so I decided to buy it and find out what others liked about it.

Ghosts...check
Creepy...check
Left me feeling a little uneasy in the dark...check
Made me appreciate c...
I heard a lot of people raving about this book and the "rental line" was too long, so I decided to buy it and find out what others liked about it.

Ghosts...check
Creepy...check
Left me feeling a little uneasy in the dark...check
Made me appreciate contemporaries again...check

Great story, real characters and I liked that the main character was not the typical young, hot-blooded male. He's mature and has been through and has seen a lot of crap during his time. I didn't like him at first, but he grew on me and in the end, I loved him.

The book draws you in and keeps you on the edge the entire length of the book with its twists and turns. It's graphic, but endearing at the same time.

This is a keeper.

posted by cmor4les on November 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Don't believe the hype

Joe Hill is being touted as America's next major horror writer. If this is the best American writers can do, I'll stick with the British authors I love (e.g., Neil Gaiman, Jonathan L. Howard, Mark Hodder), thank you very much.

"Heart-Shaped Box" revolves around an ag...
Joe Hill is being touted as America's next major horror writer. If this is the best American writers can do, I'll stick with the British authors I love (e.g., Neil Gaiman, Jonathan L. Howard, Mark Hodder), thank you very much.

"Heart-Shaped Box" revolves around an aging heavy metal rocker (Judas Coyne--not too cliche, huh?) with a penchant for collecting weird or macabre items. One day his personal assistant finds an Internet auction for a ghost--yup, a ghost. Naturally Coyne is intrigued by the auction and snaps up the ghost. A week or so later, the titular heart-shaped box shows up at his door. It contains a suit--the very suit the "ghost" had wanted to be buried in but wasn't, due to his stepdaughter's switch to a cheaper "burial suit."

Coyne starts seeing a ghost wearing the suit. Turns out the guy had two stepdaughters, and one was a girl Coyne had lived with.

To cut to the chase, the ghost blames Coyne for his younger stepdaughter's suicide. Getting Coyne to buy his ghost by setting up an online auction was his surviving stepdaughter's idea, so that the ghost would in essence "belong" to Coyne and would thereby have access to him. What follows this revelation involves an ill-conceived road trip, unnecessary deaths, more "startling" revelations about family grudges, and a conclusion that is barely satisfying.

Hill's "hipper than thou" language is annoying in the extreme. All Southerners sound like uneducated, foul-mouthed hicks. (The South, by the way, seems to be the root of all evil in Hill's universe. There isn't a sin or unsavory behavior that isn't practiced almost exclusively by Southerners. Way too simplistic a view for my tastes.) The characters are two-dimensional cliches: jaded rock star; dirt-poor Southern girl who sleeps her way to a comfortable life; semiliterate, fanatically "religious," crazy rednecks...you get the idea. The only characters who arouse sympathy in the reader are the dogs--and boy, do they suffer for their nobility.

I had my suspicions that I wouldn't like this book due to a relationship the author has with an older, more famous American horror writer. But I set my reservations aside because I read so many reviews stating that this book was terrifying, one of the most frightening books the reviewer had ever read, and so forth. Apparently here in the USA the only thing you need to achieve success and lavish (unwarranted) praise is a famous relative.

As I stated in the beginning of this review, I'll stick with my British authors, for whom "originality" isn't an alien concept.

posted by woodwordwose on November 2, 2012

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  • Posted November 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Creepy Cool

    I heard a lot of people raving about this book and the "rental line" was too long, so I decided to buy it and find out what others liked about it.<BR/><BR/>Ghosts...check<BR/>Creepy...check<BR/>Left me feeling a little uneasy in the dark...check<BR/>Made me appreciate contemporaries again...check<BR/><BR/>Great story, real characters and I liked that the main character was not the typical young, hot-blooded male. He's mature and has been through and has seen a lot of crap during his time. I didn't like him at first, but he grew on me and in the end, I loved him.<BR/><BR/>The book draws you in and keeps you on the edge the entire length of the book with its twists and turns. It's graphic, but endearing at the same time.<BR/><BR/>This is a keeper.

    27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Who Knew?

    Who knew that "horror-genes" exist? Obviously, Stephen King's son got HIS share!...lol! It's been a long time since a book has impressed me to the extent where I STILL get shivers--months after resding the book--when I think about it! Bravo! I'll look forward to many more!

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    Not for the easily frightened

    I have never read a book that literally made me scared to be alone. This is the one. It's a great read that keeps you wondering what is next. I couldn't put it down but I was scared to pick it up at night..Great book.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    A Powerful First for a Writer to be Reckoned With

    Joe Hill has successfully planted his writer's flag in the world of fiction with this incredible debut novel. He launches his story using a classic horror device - a haunted object, and then obliterates all cliches and standards where the genre is concerned. His story was thrilling, terrifying, and beyond comparison. It's rare to read an author who can create such originality using such a common theme.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2008

    The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

    Really scarey! I gave it to a friend to read and she gave it back a few days later saying she was afraid to continue. I enjoyed it.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Horror fans will believe in ghosts at least in Joe Hill novels

    Rock star Judas Coyne loves collecting gruesome macabre junk. He always checks E-Bay and other on-line sites to see if any collectibles are for sale. He recently purchased a suit at an online auction in which the seller claims the attire is haunted by the ghost of the dead owner.--------------- Judas thinks of five degrees of separation when he learns who the ghostly owner of the suit is apparently his new possession belonged to the late Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of a superfluous groupie he tossed aside before she committed suicide over being coldly discarded by the famous rocker. Craddock vowed revenge when he was alive but had to wait for death to complete his quest as his spirit plans to kill Judas.---------------- The dueling lead characters make this a fascinating psychological ghost story as nothing is quite like it seems. Readers will start off thinking Judas is a cold hedonist and Craddock is kindhearted stepfather who cannot rest until he obtains an eye for an eye. However, agendas and deeper motives surface during the exciting story line that will have the audience stunned. Horror fans will believe in ghosts at least in Joe Hill novels.---------- Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    A Must Read

    If you are a Stephen King fan, especially "classic" King, you must read his son Joe Hill! Excellent book, couldn't put it down. Looking forward to reading everything else he has written!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Scary stuff!

    I usually don't read "horror" stories, but noticed all the good reviews. Characters were extremely well-developed; I felt like I knew them each personally. Definitely a book to read during the day, in the light.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    EXCELLENT!!! JOE HILL BRINGS A NEW HIT TO THE TABLE!!!

    Joe Hill, like many of you know, is the horror novelist's Stephen King's son. But just because "Heart Shaped Box" is a "horror" novel, let there be no stereotyping. Joe Hill has a completely different writing style than his father. In fact, (and this is in my own opinion) Joe Hill writes a little better than his dad. But regardless, "Heart Shaped Box" was an EXCELLENT read, and makes me wanting more. I am really looking forward to this young novelists next thrill ride of a novel.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Block out a couple of days for this one!

    This was my first Joe Hill experience and I was beyond impressed! He had me jumping and clinging to the book, then sighing with relief. Then I was back to gasping, hunched over the book waiting with anticipation. What a nail biter! An amazing read by an amazing author. Way to go, Joe!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2013

    This book was wonderful! It grabbed me from the first line unti

    This book was wonderful! It grabbed me from the first line until the last. It is a wonderfully complicated story and many times I wondered if it was going to end abruptly but it didn't. I definitely recommend this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Heart Shaped Box

    Very enjoyable read. I found myself having vivid and twisted dreams about lost friends and family members. Rarely does a book derail the standard role my loved-ones play in my dreams but this one did and that magnified the creepy factor of the book dramatically. Excellent first novel if what I hope will be a long and productive writing career.
    Now if only I could get an un-troubled night's sleep...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    CREEPY

    Im on pg. 40 and im creepd tf out. P.s. dont read this book at night if you are fearful.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Good read

    The first of his novels that i have read. I look forward to reading more of his writings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    Was creepy with a great story line!

    This book kept me interested all the way to the end!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Captivating

    It's been a long time since I read a book that I could not put down. This one grabs you from the beginning. A main character that you want to win but never know if he will. A ghost you'd like to kill for a second time! Great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Heart Shaped Box

    This is one of those books you just zone into while reading. It's different then any other ghost story I've read, but still a very good book. The ending was amazing. I recommend this to anyone. Now that I've read this I'm definitely going to purchase the next book, Horns.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2008

    A Fantastic Concept!

    I borrowed this book from a friend upon her recommendation. Within a few pages I was blown away by the concept--a collector of the macabre purchasing a ghost on the internet! Of course the actual story is more complicated than that, and Joe Hill's writing is superb, especially for how new to the field/genre he is.<BR/>About three-fourths of the way through the book I ordered his first book "20th Century Ghosts" because I was so impressed with his talents!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2008

    A Fearful (and Fun) Read

    For the first time in a long while, I truly felt a chill while reading. There were several genuinely scary passages in this book. A well-written foray into the supernatural, it was always grounded in psychological reality with characters that were original and multi-dimensional. This is a very promising start to what should be a long and successful career.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    My Favorite Book...

    This book was amazing. Loved the characters and the dogs helped too. Fast paced and original. Cannot wait to read his next book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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