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on March 18, 2007
I was fortunate enough to read this book before I knew that Joe Hill was actually Stephen King's son. That was to my advantage, as I went into the book with no expectations. Having said that, had I known who Joe Hill was, and had I built up my expectations - they would have been surpassed. I absolutely loved this book. I thought I recognized the style - but to be honest it seemed more like Peter Straub than Stephen King. What a great surprise to find out the connection.

I made the unwise decision to start reading as I went to bed, and boy, that was a mistake. I was scared to death by the time the ghost made himself at home at Joe's house. I have a rocking chair in my bedroom in the corner and I had to actually move it out of the room and into the living room! Then, I couldn't sleep... I had to continue read the book until I could put the characters in a "safe place". I finished the book as the sun was coming up.

Heart Shaped Box has a great basis for good ghost story: Joe Hill buys a ghost off of an ebay type website. After the "ghost" arrives in the heart shaped box, Joe encounters the ghost of an old man who is obviously set on terrorizing Joe. It's during this period of time that you are introduced to Joe's Goth girlfriend, Georgia. We learn that Joe is an arrogant, self-centered jerk. Georgia encounters the ghost, Joe learns that the ghost is a man named Craddock, and he is the stepfather of one of Joe's old girlfriend, Florida. Florida seemingly committed suicide and Craddock is blaming Joe.

I enjoyed the book very much up to this point, and was truly freaked out by the ghost. However, after Georgia and Joe take off to meet Florida's sister and try to get rid of Craddock, I felt the book got trurly amazing. I fell in love with these characters. The transformation that Georgia/Anna and Joe made while traveling south was mind-blowing. I never thought the book would take such an unbelievable plot turn. It's a very rare book that I can refer to as a true "page turner", Heart Shaped Box most assuredly falls into that category. I have since recommended this book to every one that I know (who can stomach being scared!) and have bought it for both of my sisters.

When Heart Shaped Box comes out as a film, I will be first in line and I will buy any and every book Joe Hill writes.
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on February 14, 2016
“The dead will drag the living down.”

This horror novel by Joe Hill is the story of aging rock star Judas Coyne and how his love of collecting weird, morbid and supernatural things leads him to buy a dead man’s suit. When the ghost attached to the funeral suit refuses to leave, it unleashes a reign of terror and unearths a series of horrific incidents.

As a child raised on a farm under the aegis of a very strict father, Justin Cowzynski’s adult life as a rocker is surrounded by everything from acid and suicide to heartbreak and murder. The unnatural death of one of his exes - Florida - becomes the basis of this tale of suspense and horror.

Like the ghost that cannot be rid of, the strongest feature of this story was the relentless sense of terror that never once lets up. Bound together by the eyes with the black marker scribbles - a fantastic imagery that runs throughout the story - no matter where Judas and Georgia run, the spirit constantly finds them out: in a song that suddenly comes on, in radio ads, in an inexplicable email, in a weird incident in the car in the garage, in a spooky call from Danny Wooten, in the diner with the electrolarynx…

I also loved the characters of this story: each and every one of them - the sinister Craddock McDermott, the weird Judas Coyne, the tragic Florida, the sick Jessica, and, other main character, Georgia - who shows remarkable growth in her staunch and loyal support of the haunted Judas.

The story does not arbitrarily feature horror for the sake of horror. This is a story of a dark past and a terrifying present; one that moves from a very creepy world to a very sordid one. A story of unbelievable plot turns, Heart-Shaped Box has an absolutely surreal ending that commences with a memorable drive down the ‘night road’.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 14, 2015
This is a riveting story of a deeply flawed, aging rock-star being haunted by a murderous ghost. Judas Coyne is initially an unlikeable man. He has a girlfriend who is young enough to be his daughter and she isn't likable first. Nothing is what it seems in this supernatural mystery of two equally messed-up people trying to survive an evil ghost while solving the mystery of why someone is out to kill Judas Coyne. I was blown away by how the characters evolved not just on the page, but in my mind as well. I went from not caring about either of them to desperately hoping they would get the happy ending they deserved. This is a powerful book that deals with the supernatural, parental abuse, and personal demons. Once you start reading it, it'll be hard to put down.
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on September 30, 2008
The review by Julie was very well done and pretty much sums up the plot line as well as my reaction to it. I did not know that Joe Hill is Stephen King's son either...but in my opinion it doesn't matter if you know or not. He does his father justice, the apple didn't fall too far. Heart Shaped Box is an excellently written thriller with lots of twists and turns that has you turning page after page to find out what's happening next. The rich characters evoke an incredible array of beware. I read it all in one shot...couldn't put the thing down!!! So make sure you've got some time to enjoy this excellent read!!!
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on July 7, 2014
Heart Shaped Box was a simple and original story with some terrific writing reminiscent of Joe Hill's own father, but the book failed to deliver anything remotely scary. Although it did explore some creative supernatural elements and mediocre plot twists, I guess I expected more horror. I did like that the relationships and behaviours of the characters seemed natural and not vain for the plot's sake. I felt myself caring about some of these characters amidst their tribulations. I would recommend this book but not as a horror novel but as more of a suspenseful thriller with a supernatural twist. 3 stars.
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on September 4, 2011
It took me awhile to get to Joe Hill's debut. And then it took me a chunk of the book to stop comparing him to his father, Stephen King. I was thinking how impressive it is for Mr. Hill to follow such a famous father in the family business. Even more impressive is the story provides some great chills and tremendous pop culture references. I really enjoyed the ghostly old man (and his suit) who is just one of the malevolent forces plaguing the main character. At the end of the book I was left wondering what the conversation is like at the King family's Sunday dinners.
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on February 20, 2014
I was intrigued with the storyline and characters right away. Very impressed with his writing. I'm waiting for a good scare. No scare here.
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on October 29, 2007
There are very few books that can not only spook me, but also make me laugh out loud. This did both.

The main character is the jerk you love to hate and this book will have you reading until the wee hours of the night. I had no idea this was Stephen King's son and it's obvious he's inherited some of that ability to tell a completely unusual story in such a riveting way. This has become one of my favorite books.
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on September 13, 2016
Wow. I will be more careful with Amazon reviews form now on. This was a very average and predictable book with waaaaay to much clichéd filler. I found myself skimming much of it because it was so brutally generic. I enjoy a good ghost story. This was not one of those. If you want a great one check out Ghost Story by Peter Straub.
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on June 23, 2013
was looking for something different and like occult/horror novels. first page started out with a bang and did not let up till the last page.all characters were full of life even the dead ones (sic). the re were twists, turns , and surprises galore. i would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for an excellent ghost story
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