- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz (October 31, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1473223067
- ISBN-13: 978-1473223066
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 422 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Heart-Shaped Box Hardcover – 31 October 2017
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About the Author
Joe Hill is a recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and the winner of the A.E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize, William Crawford, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Awards. His short fiction has appeared in literary, mystery and horror collections and magazines in Britain and America. For more information, visit www.joehillfiction.com, visit joehillsthrills.tumblr.com, or follow @Joe_Hill on twitter.
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From the very beginning there is a "bump in the night" kind of creepiness that sets in, making this reader feel incredibly unsettled (which is great when reading a scary story!). As the synopsis states, Judas Coyne receives a ghost attached to an old man's suit that he purchased online, a ghost that it turns out has a personal vendetta against Judas. And boy oh boy does he start terrorizing Judas and his girlfriend, Georgia (real name Marybeth), from the moment that box arrives. As Craddock, the ghost, starts popping up around Judas's house he doesn't just stand around spooking people, no. He starts taking over their minds (turns out Craddock was a sadistic hypnotist when he was alive), herky-jerky moving around the house, whispering in ears and trying to get Judas and the people around him to either kill themselves or kill Judas. This in particular I found terrifying because how do you stop a ghost, who has this particular ability, from taking over your mind? And when Judas starts hearing horrible things - including dead people! - on the phone and through the radio I nearly jumped out of my skin!
Once Judas determines he is going to go on a road trip to confront the woman who sold him the ghost the scope and depth of the story builds. The actual race to find a way to stop this ghost before death literally catches up to them allows the tension to get tighter and tighter. Beyond that, Judas's reevaluation of his life and what he has done in his past makes this become a redemption story, one about a man facing all the bad things he's done in his past and forgiving himself for these past mistakes (figuratively putting his ghosts to rest) in order to try and move on and have a better life....if he can survive, that is. On top of this there's even a love story component - if an unusual one - and I was really happy to see a true building and acknowledgement of affection between Judas and Marybeth. I'm not going to give anything away about the ending, but I will say I would never have thought of the story ending that way.
Heart-Shaped Box has just about every component I can think of wrapped up in one thrilling package, something I didn't expect at all and which I absolutely loved! There's definitely scares and grit and gore, but there's so much more than that. I am now a forever fan of Joe Hill and cannot wait to read his other novels!
The protagonist,Jude, made a very good living as a singer who wrote and performed music you hope your kids would never hear. He'd been in the business thirty years and still hooked up with groupies who were in their late teens and early twenties.
The young Goth girls were plentiful and rather than remember their names he would call them by the name of the state they were in when he met them. One sentence on page twelve stuck with me as a good description of Jude, "There wasn't much that Jude found too distasteful to contemplate." Maybe that explains why he would answer a listing for a haunted suit complete with ghost. It wasn't long before Jude would discover this had been a really bad idea.
humble horror-fiction enthusiast