I was very impressed with this debut novel by Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, one of the best horror novels I've read in a while! In this book we follow Judas Coyne, his two dogs, Angus and Bon, and his goth girlfriend Marybeth, as they try to escape from the ghost that is after them, the ghost that Judas purchased online. This book is filled with disturbing images, which I'm sure will stay with me for a very long time. I highly recommend this book and I eagerly await more from this author in the future. I don't suggest reading this book at night. If you have a dog, make sure to keep him nearby for your own protection!
Could not stop reading this book, finished it in one day. Great ghost story and mystery, didn't like the main character Jude at first, but after a while you realize that he is not the person he thinks he is! Highly recommend!
Don't let the fact he is Stephen King's son put you off. He didn't get this book contract by nepotism. I read this book while making dinner, then eating dinner, even over dessert. This is one of those books that you cannot put down. The pages seemed to turn themselves.
He writes in a very accessible style and I found it easy to slip into the world of the book.
As for the content, I did get some genuine creeps from this book. I got goose bumps several times while flying through the pages. I felt like I got a pretty good sense of the main characters.
After I was finished devoring this book I said to my S.O. that when I was reading Stephen King's books I always had to wonder. What kind of bed time stories did he tell to his children. And how did that affect them. I think I have my answer. :)
It's worth it.
Read it. Seriously.
This is a good scary book. I am not a big fan of Stephen King, and this was the first book I read by his son. It was a fast paced, gripping tale that was intensely spooky, at times. A well done story that was very satisfying. Thoroughly enjoyable modern ghost story!
A horror first, then morphing to thriller - this book is an excellent page turner, and doesn't fall into many cliches unwillingly. This is high praise for a novel of this genre, a genre very hard to break ground in. I hope its not just knowing who his dad is that led me to draw many comparisons between their work, but its pretty much impossible not to do so. Apologies for that, but Mr. Hill starts that ball rolling with his dedication on page 1. Nods/tributes to Steven King seemed to fill the book - maybe its just because SK has so fully explored all the horror archetypes, while building a number of his own along the way. Joe knows the language - and breaks a good deal of new ground himself. It ends well, if a little too cleanly (I'm not saying 'happily')- which is something many horror/thriller writers fail to do.
I'd say the original concepts only carry the book about halfway - and that the second half of the book has outgrown the plausibility established in the first half. The subject matter is handled with a lot of maturity - depending far more on very real human psychology rather than supernatural crutches.
It read as a screen play - with lots of camera direction, I strongly suspect that this was intentional and a businessman's approach to writing (less reworking/reinterpreting to do when/if a movie comes along, which I think is inevitable for this book). This was distracting at times - especially when time motion flicker effects are described (think The Ring or House on Haunted Hill). A novel limited by camera effects - or a novelist calling upon the readers visual vocabulary, you decide.
I give it an 8.5 out of 10 - and though people do seem to love it a bit more because of its 'royal' heritage (Neil Gaiman gives an orgasmic review that comes across to me as excessive and comical), it is defiantly a good read. His comparisons to Clive Barker's first turn out of the gates are apt (Damnation Game is good stuff - highly underrated Barker).
I too have a fascination with the upstarts in the fiction industry - and there is plenty of magic in the idea of Joe Hill following in some very big footsteps.
I could definitely feel Stephen King's presence while reading this super horror novel written by his son, Joe Hill. It reminded me a lot of some of King's better early novels like Christine, The Shining, Cujo, and 'Salem's Lot. When I first heard of this book, I wanted to read it and based on the hype was hoping for a great horror story. I wasn't disappointed! At first I thought "how is the story going to keep interesting once the ghost arrives via the on-line auction?" But the story kept my interest and rates high on the creepy scale.
Impressive first novel by the "prince" of horror (if he chooses to go that route). Plot is a little too linear but the scary moments, when they do come, are horrific indeed. This is not your child's horror a la R.L. Stine or Goosebumps. There is serious heart pounding action and gore. Prepare yourself for even greater screams.
This was a good story, very freaky, and although I enjoyed it for the most part, some parts were a bit too gorey for my taste-JMO! Loved the ending...some parts brought tears to my eyes...all in all, Hill is a talented writer!
I dont know why I was expecting more from this book, but what I came away with was a sense that Joe Hill was just as bored with his characters as I was with reading about them. Long story made even longer, this would have made a good short story or even a novella, but trying to drag a reader to the end of a monotones narrative is a letdown for both the reader and the writer.
To take what has already been written, Judas Coyne, a middle-aged rock star collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide.
I was bored, the climatic moments werent that stellar and overall the main characters soon became a caricature of themselves.
Will I read Joe Hill again, I do have 20th Century Ghosts on the shelf, but I cant see myself making that a priority right now.
Jude is an old rock star who collects death-related paraphernalia. When he hears about a ghost for sale, he buys it. He gets a dead man's suit with ghost attached. Only this was not the random auction-winning-bid deal he thought it was. He was specifically baited into buying the ghost by the seller, who is the sister of a girl-friend he dumped a while ago, and who committed suicide.
This is a very good book, makes great Sunday afternoon reading. The characters are very well developed, and the author really pulls you in with his descriptions of how the ghost hypnotically infiltrates Jude's and his girlfriend's minds.
Spooky, spooky, spooky--yet compelling. I could not hardly put it down. When I did put it down, I thought about it constantly. Did not see the end of this one coming. I read it in two days, but that was only because I could not fight off sleep anymore! A must read. I am going to keep this one for my personal library.
Joe Hill (AKA Joseph Hillstrom King, yes...Stephens SON) is one hell of a writer! I loved this novel. The book revolves around Judas Coyne, an aging metal rock star who has an affinity for collecting macabre artifacts. When he sees an internet advertisement for a ghost, he quickly buys it, and then things quite literally go to Hell. Joe Hill's writing style is similar to his famous fathers, however, I found it much more edgy and action-filled. The older King can tend to ramble sometimes in his story telling, however, his son, in this novel, grabs your attention from the very first page and keeps your eyes locked to every word until the end. GREAT BOOK!!
Good horror novel filled with suspense, intrigue, and a few twists. While the plot resembles that of his father (i.e. Stephen King), the writing is sometimes cliched, trite, and under-developed. This book also contains some detailed descriptions of violence, gore, and abuse (toward humans and animals), so if you are uncomfortable reading in-depth about those subjects you my NOT want to read this. However, the story is unique and though the ending wrapped up a bit too quickly for my taste and left several questions unanswered, I would still recommend this book to fans of the horror genre.
A modern ghost story that shows a skillful blend of the supernatural and psychological. I started out not liking these characters very much, but the author had a way of making you understand them & sympathize with their plight. Being his debut novel, and as he is the son of Stephen King, you will see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Let me start by saying that I read a lot. I am very rarely impressed. I have a hard time finding books that interest me anymore because the formula has been done a hundred times before by different authors and different characters in different locations, etc, etc.
However, this book is different. Different. It is haunting. You will remember it for years. I was impressed by this book enough to put a paperback in my permanent collection.
The main character is an unlikable guy, womanizer, drug addicted, musician on the downward slide. I acknowledge that there are nods to Mr. Hill's father through out the book, but it is rare to find a horror novel without some reference to The King. Mr Hill not only gets into the head of the well developed characters, but he gets into your head as you read. Four and a half stars, two thumbs up, and a standing O.
This is not a book for the squeamish, or for those who enjoy light romantic suspense. If you are a horror fan, ala Clive Barker or the like, you have to read this book.
Great ghost story. The characters are well-developed and likeable and the story flows smoothly. I don't want to compare him to King, so I won't. The writing and the book is good on Hill's own merit. I'd recommend the book to horror fans.
Can you imagine being a horror-writer and you're just breaking into the business and your dad is Stephen King??? It'd be either a blessing or a curse, no in-between.
This is a very good book, Joe Hill, who is Stephen King's son, does a wonderful job of pulling you into his story of an over the hill rock star who orders a ghost online and gets way more than he bargained for. Highly reccomend
If you love a good Stephen King type THRILLER book you
will enjoy this book! It is written by Stephen King's
son, Joe Hill. This story is really wild and pulls you
in right from the first pages. It will keep you wanting
to read more and more and not put the book down until you
are done and know what happens at the end!!!
Story line is that a person is selling their stepfather's
"ghost"......to the highest bidder of an on-line bidding
site. A famous musician who collects all sorts of bizarre
things buys the "ghost" which is delivered to him in the
form of the man's "suit".....which is supposedly possessed
by the man's ghost.
Quite an interesting story and I am surprised no one
has made a movie from this as I think it would really
do well in the movie theaters!
If you love Stephen King you should love his son, Joe Hill. This book was a little hard for me to follow but most of King's books are hard for me to follow. For the King fan, this is an good read...good debut novel for Hill. My husband loved it!
I think I had higher expectations for this book because of the clerk at Borders' rave review - and he certainly loved it more than I did. Though, he did tell me that "Joe Hill" is really Stephen King's son, which I thought was rather interesting. And I did enjoy this ghost story - it was pretty thrilling, though not at all mysterious. It wrapped up nicely, and while I wouldn't recommend it as strongly as it was recommended to me, I would read others by him.
Seriously, Joe Hill writes like a demon on fire. I remember reading a blurb about Heart-Shaped Box a good six months before it was published - "Rock star buys a ghost off of ebay" - and thinking it was an interesting concept. After reading the whole book, I can only say that it is really so much more than that. This book is character development at its finest. Multi-layered and entertaining and personally, I don't give a flip whose son he is, Joe Hill is writing talent to be reckoned with.
I'm always on the lookout for a good horror story but this one wasn't it. I find that it is hard to pick out a horror novel based on other reviews for what scared them might not scare you and vice versa. I did not get scared on this book nor did I have any nail biting moments. I didn't find myself staying up all night to finish it. I didn't find the horror in it at all. This was my first Joe Hill book and I did find the writing nicely done. The characters were well drawn and the book was fast paced. It just wasn't horrifying for me. I will try another book by Hill to see if I can't get that feeling that I'm looking for.
The story itself is mainly about Jude Coyne who is a rock star. Deep down Jude is a guy who cares but he comes off as someone who doesn't give a crap. That is all going to catch up with him. The dead will bring the living down.
I would recommend this book. Even though it wasn't my cup of tea when it comes to horror, it could be yours.
Wow. I really loved this book. Truly a frightening, thrilling book that I had a really hard time putting down. An aging rock star (for some reason I kept imagining Glenn Danzig) is haunted by a ghost set out to kill him and anyone who assists or helps him escape death. The author does a great job of pulling you in and setting the scene. I've always been good at imaging scenes from books in my mind and this book had me so scared I couldn't read it every night unless I had my husband in bed next to me - the images were that vivid for me. This book (IMO) rivals anything that Joe Hill's father Stephen King has written. I can't wait for the next book from this author. If you are looking for a truly riveting read, get this book!
I really liked this book,Joe Hill is as good as his father Steven King. I wasn't scared reading this book I guess I am not easily scared. I enjoyed reading about Judas and his girl friend and how they met with the ghost, and what happened to them after they interacted with the ghost. Some parts of the book even made me laugh out loud, I even found myself cheering for Judas and his girl friend. I Highly recommend this book even though it has some tragedy in it. This book may not be good for the faint hearted people due to some very gruesome parts. This book also has a surprise climax to it that you would have never guessed was coming, it also explains a lot I hope to see more from this author since his first book is so good.
I am an avid reader of Stephen King, and I can say with strict confidence that Joe Hill has made his father proud with this book! I was frightened from the moment I began reading!! I couldn't put it down and finished it in 1 day. Turn on all the lights AND the TV before you open this one!! An excellent book!
Joe Hill has inherited every bit of the talent his parents have as writers. He can build suspense with the best of them. It seems like a rether interesting portrait of an aging rock star until about page 35, when you realize what Jude Coyne has gotten himself into. From there on out, I hung on every word and could barely bring myself to put the book down. I highly recommend this book to fans of Stephen King.
A good beginning for one of Stephen King's own. Scary, spooky. I made the mistake once of reading it at night and then trying to go to sleep. Made sure after that I ONLY read it in the early morning light. If you like ghosts this ones for you.
this was the first to truly scare me...i am a horror freak with Stephen King as my all time favorite writer but Joe Hill must rank up there pretty high...i have never had a book put the fear of God into me like that...i read most of the book in a day...and HAD to stay awake til daylight...i was afraid to walk thru the dark house lol....an awesome awesome book
This book was gripping from start to finish. Being a fan of Stephen King and John Maberry, I found Joe Hill to be a real contender in the horror genre. The story was crisp, the good guys were easy to root for and the bad guys were really, really bad. The gore was at an acceptable level, without being over the top. Totally engrossing. Highly recommend it!
BEtter than any Stephen King or Dean Koontz book! I first was intrigued by the aging rock star main character, but quickly fell in love with the book. It's oh so creepy, and I can't wait for his next book!
A ghost story that packs a powerful punch. Aging rock star Judas Coyne has a morbid collection of items involving death, so when a 'haunted suit' comes up for grabs on an e-bay type site he jumps at the chance to own it. Unfortunately for Jude this ghost has only one thing on his mind. It seems this ghost is that of Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of his former girlfriends, Anna, who recently committed suicide and Craddock wants revenge. Only things aren't quite what they seem. Judas has taken up with a new woman, yet he isn't quite the heartless Lothario he seems at first, and Craddock has a few secrets of his own.
This was a fast-paced book filled with surprises and plenty of creepy scenes, scary enough that I read with all the lights on. Here's a book that will make you believe in ghosts, if you don't already.
This book was a fun, chilly, creepy story. I agree with the other readers that mentioned it seemed to ramble a bit...but that didn't cause me to like the story any less. I was along for the nightride! I look forward to reading more and watching him grow as an author.
This is a very creepy ghost story. Judas is an aging former rock star who has a passion for bizarre things and much younger goth girl's. When his personal assistant spots an email offering Jude a chance to bid on a ghost, Jude agrees and gets much more than he bargained for when his past comes back to haunt him. This is an extremely creepy and well written ghost story and character study that I'd highly recommend. Though nearly all of the characters weren't exactly what I'd define as likable or sympathetic (except for the 2 german shephards) I will definitely pick up this guys next book.
The book Heart shaped box was a very good read. Parts of the book had me scared to death and turning the pages, then towards the end it slowed down a little. I still enjoyed it thoroughly. At one point I called a friend and recommended she read it immediately.
I thought this was the best horror debut I've read in a long time. It hooked me from the first page and it was hard to put down. I thought it was a great ghost story/road trip and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to more by this author.
Unbelieveably good and deep and scary all at the same time. Made the mistake of reading it after the sun went down. From that point on it was all daylight hours reading for me. I was even too scared to get in the shower... Well, I had to close me eyes....
Good writing and the story was interesting. But I would prefer to get an idea of what the main character looked like early on in the story. In about the 2nd chapter I realize his age. I had initially imagined a younger man. It wasn't until the middle of the book I realize he had a beard. And in 49th chapter I realize his height and weight.
I had a hard time keeping the image intended for the main character. I was stuck on the image I had imagined when I first started reading.
Also...I had a hard time picturing the described main character doing the things that he was doing in the story.
But over all, the story kept me entertained through out, from beginning to end.
I absolutely loved this book. Not many books are able to genuinely terrify me. Get ready for some sleepless nights with this one! Characters are unique and the story is moody and dark. Hill is as brilliant as his father, the great Stephen King.
A heavy metal rock star with an interest in the occult, Jude Coyne, buys a ghost (by way of the dead man's favorite Sunday suit) via an eBay style internet auction, only to find that he has a connection to the malevolent spirit that he didn't know about at the time he bought it.
An excellent first effort from Joe Hill, who is the son of horror legend Stephen King. You can definitely see some similarities in their style which proves that, at least in this case, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree!
This is my first Joe Hill novel and after I got used to it, I found it to be pretty good. You see, my preferred genre is crime fiction/police procedurals, so this was a completely different kind of novel for me. There was good character development, action, some gore, humor, and horror. When Im in the mood for a change from my standard line-up, Ill try out another Joe Hill book for sure.
This book seems almost like it was written intentionally to be a film. It has a scene-by-scene quality to it -- more like a screenplay outline than a novel. Yes, it probably would be a good film. But, the motivations and character-development are under-whelming.
Not a bad novel, but not great. There is a short story included that is from the author's next book. The short story was interesting, and I would read that next book. I think the author has talent, but he was trying too hard to publish a screenplay and get a movie deal, rather than write a good novel. I do predict this book will be made into a film, though.
Audio book review: Narrator is fine - no complaints. He voices Jude Coyne and his girlfriends and the ghost with no problems.
The book starts out really good and I liked the idea of using Ebay to sell a ghost but overall, the book was disappointing. It rambled and I found myself actually fast forwarding to get to the next part of the story.
Once you got into the heart of the novel, it was pretty predictable and the writing just okay. It wasn't good enough for me to pass on to my audiobook reading friends.
I bought this book because it sounded "good". I read it in just a few hours - it is sooo good! If you want to read a real thriller, this one will not disappoint!
I just read a person's review about this and found out Joe Hill is Stephen King's son - hmm. I don't like SK's writng at all and I probably would not have read this assuming it would be like one of his... wrong! Joe Hill has talent!!!
Order this and read it!!!
Interesting idea, but more gore than horror. When an aging heavy-metal rocker who has always been known for the bizarre and the grotesque buys a ghost from an online auction site, he gets way more than he bargained for. Most of the characters (living and dead) are so unlikeable that it's hard to work up any sympathy for their plight.
Joe Hill is a writing force. Able to tell a gripper story without being as wordy as his famous father (Stephen King), This guy rocks! Scary, unexpected turns, nastyness, and can't put the book down until your starving and have to pee so bad you'll pop fiction.
Former heavy-metal guitarist Jude Coyne collects various occult items. When a ghost is sold through an internet auction, he makes a quick bid to buy it. Jude is sent an old man's suit, and strange things start to happen around the house. Jude soon finds out he has been targeted. His ex-girlfriend killed herself months after leaving him. Her sister and step-father believe Jude is to blame for the suicide. When the step-father dies, his suit is sent to Jude, ready to exact revenge.
This is one scary book. I only made it through 90 pages before I wimped out and couldn't read anymore. If you like horror, you'll like this book.
For the first two-thirds of this book, I could only read it during the day. I got creeped out the first night that I was reading "Heart-Shaped Box". Every little noise that I heard was âsomething coming to get meâ. Only one thing kept me from giving this book 5 stars; I don't feel comfortable recommending âHeart-Shaped Boxâ to anyone who doesn't like horror. There is gore.
For the rest of this review, visit my blog http://kylee-p.blogspot.com/
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! This book caught me from the very first chapter and was a spectacular story. Horror at it's best, I will definately look forward to more from Joe Hill!!!! Would recommend to all fans horror, you won't be disappointed
A good creepy read with a great premise - aging rock star purchases a ghost off of the internet. Written by Stephen King's son, it is clear that writing a scary yarn is in the genes. Although his talent is nowhere near his father's, you do get a glimmer of King-ness in this book. I found it to be sufficiently scary, gross, gory, creepy, and yes - somehow endearing.
Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: from Disney sketches drawn by John Wayne Gacy, to a hangman's noose used at the turn of the nineteenth century in England - and everything in between. As an aging death-metal rock god, his varied taste for the unnatural is widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses can possibly rival his latest discovery - an item for sale on the Internet - something so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.
"I will 'sell' my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder..." begins the email, and right from that line Jude is intrigued. For a thousand dollars, he 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. So, what's one more?
But what UPS delivers to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box is completely unexpected. This is no imaginary or metaphysical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.
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. And, Judas Coyne is about to learn that sooner or later the dead catch up...
Joe Hill is actually Stephen King's son - something that I didn't realize until Mareena told me when I bought this book back in April. Anyway, although Joe Hill has written many short story collections, I believe that this is his debut novel - and what a debut it is!
I absolutely loved this book. I found the story to be fast-paced and action-packed, not letting up for an instant. Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel by Joe Hill was compulsively readable for me, and I finished it at a gulp. I give this book an A+! Definitely a winner in a family of winners, and I'm putting Joe Hill's other books - 20th Century Ghosts, Horns and NOS4A2 - on my Wish List.
I am not usually a big fan of ghost stories, but this book caught my interest immediately and from the start was a thrill ride of "what will happen next"? We find out about the main character (Judas Coyne) through his memories of his past and through experiences brought on by his "ownership" of a ghost. And the book, through its twists and turns, shows that there is always more to things than what is seen on the surface.
Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre and an old rocker - in the same class as Ozzie Osborne. The first chapter is creepy but really sucks you in. Jude bids (and wins) an auction for a ghost. When it arrives in the form of the man's favorite suit, strange things start happening which really freak Jude out. Well hell, what did he think was gonna happen when he invited a ghost to live with him. Duh.
A tale of supernatural revenge. At times the suspense of the psychological warfare is intense but at other times, I found the ghosts (who was more like a poltergeist) behavior laughable and ridiculous. Other than Jude's cavalier treatment of women, I didn't think he deserved what was being done to him by a psychotic relative of a fan (and ex-girlfriend). I continued reading mainly to find out how Jude defeats the ghost since all previous attempts failed but also to find out why the psycho-sister sicked the ghost on Jude. A rather satisfying ending all around with a compact solution and a reasonable explanation of who, why and how.
every now and then you'll find an author you just don't like and this is one of them! I've tried 2 of his books and I don't like the format and I especially don't like the language! Both times I allowed the first 100-150 pages to get me interested in his concept of a horror ghost story and I just couldn't stick with it, I found it to be rather boring and not enough happenings to make it interesting enough to try to finish. I won't be getting anymore books by Joe Hill!