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[Book Review] Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill



Title: Heart-shaped Box
Author: Joe Hill
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: February 13th, 2007
Format: Ebook
Genre: Fiction; Ghost/Horror/Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
ISBN: 0061262854
Literary Awards: Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel (2007), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2008), Macavity Award Nominee for Best First Mystery Novel (2008), British Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel (2008)


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 cant 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 band-mates 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…



Judas Coyne, an aging rock star (who’s a dead ringer to James Hatfield according to the book), is a typical dark metal star who likes to collect macabre stuff. I was thinking about Nikki Sixx who was into paganism suring his hey day and the ghosts really haunted his house.
Judas impulsively bought a suit of a dead man and the creepy things followed.
It brought him to his past, when he had a relationship with a girl he called Florida.
The suspense was intense, I was hooked. Scary? Not really. Funny thing is the ghost appeared in my dreams.
The translated version was published by Gramedia.

At first I thought it’s the novel version of Nirvana’s song “Heart-shaped Box”. I guess it’s not.
Looking forward to reading more stuff by Joe Hill.

FYI, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. Blood is thicker than water 🙂