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108 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy
Even if Joe Hill hadn't blown his cover, you would immediately pick up on the fact that he's Stephen King's son on his writing style alone. As I was reading the book, more than once I had to stop reading and think I wasn't actually reading a Stephen King novel but his son's. The same style, even Stephen's irony which I love, is all there.
Brilliant book!
Published on 19 July 2010 by gaviota

versus
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American gothic
I'm a big fan of supernatural horror (ie, ghosties!) and when I spotted this as a staff recommendation at my local bookshop I immediately snapped it up and went home to read it.

I loved the premise - a modern tale of an aging rock star who buys a haunted suit on the internet. So simple and so full of narrative promise.

The first few chapters were...
Published on 20 Jan 2009 by Z. OConnor


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy, 19 July 2010
Even if Joe Hill hadn't blown his cover, you would immediately pick up on the fact that he's Stephen King's son on his writing style alone. As I was reading the book, more than once I had to stop reading and think I wasn't actually reading a Stephen King novel but his son's. The same style, even Stephen's irony which I love, is all there.
Brilliant book!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American gothic, 20 Jan 2009
By 
Z. OConnor "tantezoe" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of supernatural horror (ie, ghosties!) and when I spotted this as a staff recommendation at my local bookshop I immediately snapped it up and went home to read it.

I loved the premise - a modern tale of an aging rock star who buys a haunted suit on the internet. So simple and so full of narrative promise.

The first few chapters were truly chilling. Jude's first encounter with the ghost - the spirit sitting quietly, head down, in an old chair outside his bedroom, Jude creeping past trying not to be noticed - resulted in a sleepless night for me. The sheer simplicity of the descriptions, the silence and the menace, were very effective. I woke the next morning and wondered if I should read the rest of the novel before sleep, or somewhere a little more public and comforting during the day. However, the remainder - and bulk - of the story, while quite compulsive, lacked the same chill factor. There were wonderful touches - particularly the ways in which the ghost tormented Jude through the radio, TV and even an electrolarynx in a crowded diner and how he climbed out of an old heart-shaped sweet box on the floor of Jude's childhood home - but it was like watching an enjoyable horror movie, enjoying the imaginative thrills but never really feeling terrified, or particularly tense.

For me, one of the narrative's weaknesses was the lack of real fear on the part of the main protagonists. If I had to imagine being relentlessly stalked by a vengeful spirit, determined to kill me and anyone who attempted to help me, I think the fright would kill me long before the ghost did. And this is what I expected to feel when reading the novel. But Jude, whilst seriously ticked off, is more than a match for his adversary. I couldn't relate to him at all or feel scared on his behalf.

Also, early on in the novel a fairly righteous reason is given for the ghost's murderous quest. Through a later twist of sorts, the real reason is revealed, and for me this lessened the novel's impact by further demonising the spirit and absolving Jude of any true wrongdoing.

Although Joe Hill presents Jude as a flawed anti-hero on the road to enlightenment and redemption, I think the novel would have been far more interesting had Jude really deserved what was chasing him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic., 20 Aug 2014
By 
Paula Mc (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed 'Heart-Shaped Box' from start to finish, it was well written, intense and at time, just plain scary! Jude, the main character is well written, the quintessential rock star, jaded, looking out for his next conquest. Jude has a sad past and has worked hard to forget his past and become the person he is but he in a lot of ways, he is that same boy, lost and trying to find his way, so to protect himself he
hides his feelings and uses people but he does feel guilty about it.

Jude finds out what happens when he hurts the wrong person and finds himself confronted with a ghost, a vengeful one who will stop at nothing to take Jude down the dead road.

Joe Hill is an excellent writer and writes horror well, there is genuinely scary moments in the book which I enjoyed, I liked Jude, despite his flaws, what you see, is was what you got.

Looking forward to reading more by Joe Hill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly different - the ultimate Goth/rock ghost story., 14 Dec 2013
By 
JK "Julie K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Paperback)
Possibly one of the most romantic stories I've read and I was surprised to find such a complex, modern love story used as the cement to build and hold everything else in place. Works well and I found myself drawn into the relationship between Jude, burnt out middle aged rock star, and his much younger fragile 'Goth' girl. There's even more 'love' in the form of Jude's two dogs. Hill shows a huge amount of emotion building the relationship between man and dog and his themes of animal spirits was more than moving on a couple of occasions. I was surprised by the huge amount of human emotion and warmth in this novel and, to be honest, Heart Shaped Box is much more the story of relationships, and two people on the road to redemption, than it is a horror. In that way I was somewhat disappointed because this just isn't scary, not on any level, though it does possess a decent level of creepiness at the beginning.

The opening sequences of Heart Shaped Box introduce Jude and explain his famous, wealthy, meaningless lifestyle which has left him so bored and jaded he calls his girls by the American State in which they were born rather than by name. He's lost most of everything he ever cared about but, as the plot moves along, a series of reveals opens up a history of abuse and neglect which help explain his mind set and make him easier to like.

When Jude buys a ghost from an online website, yes honestly, events begin to spin violently out of control as a psychotic spirit with the gift of hypnotism closes in and turns Jude's world upside down.

Without a doubt 'the ghost' is vile and the more he's around the more complicated and devious he becomes but; he's a threatening, dangerous character existing mostly in the real world and never becomes demonic or particularly frightening. He didn't scare me and I wasn't frightened by his presence in the novel.

Overall this is a decent novel but it's far from perfect and there are times when Joe Hill goes too far into the surreal and has no way back other than allow his characters to act in ways that are unbelievable and odd. There's also a lot of repetition, padding, that slowed things down to the point I skipped several pages near the midway point.

There's talent here, beyond doubt, and Joe Hill is becoming one of my favourite authors. Just keep in mind Heart Shaped Box is one of his first published works and if you stick with it you'll find more than a decent story with plenty of twists and turns, decent tension and great characters underneath the clumsiness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Loved It!!!!, 6 Dec 2013
This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Kindle Edition)
Having been a fan of Stephen King for most of my life, I knew what I looked for in a good creepy book and this book delivered!! I did not know at the time who the author was, I had never heard of Joe Hill before and it wasn't until I went online after finishing the book to see if he had written anymore that I found out he was Stephen King's son, talent obviously runs in the family! I have now read all Joe Hill's books and would highly recommend them all; he is a superb writer, with stories that keep you hooked until the end, fantastic!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, 26 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The author has managed the difficult job of writing some pretty awful characters, with few redeeming features and, during the course of the novel, turned them into people you really root for.
The plot is fast paced with some surprisingly tender moments to counter the horrors that the players face.
Off now to buy his latest book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eerie read, 17 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Paperback)
This is the second Joe Hill books that I have read after 'horns' and I enjoyed it just as much. It was a more atmospheric read and even though I'd say I don't find books of the horror genre scary this definitely had an eerie feel to it. You do wonder through the story how the main characters could possibly end the curse which is put on them and feel that the ending could be inevitable but it does throw a few surprises in there. My only criticism is that I found the main character a bit unlikeable and even though this isn't something that would put me off it does make it harder to root for them. Books that offer something alternative are always the ones I look for and this is worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea That Became Confused, 22 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Kindle Edition)
The idea was good, "buying a ghost " but about one third of the way through it got confused so I skipped several pages right through to the conclusion - sorry, but it needs more thought to make it any good- cannot recommend it really, especially hate gratuitous violence towards dogs - confused plot that never really resolves .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly excellent, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Kindle Edition)
I am surprised and pleased to say that...after much trepidation, and reluctance.....I have given Joe Hills book a go and award it 5 stars. I was expecting a bit of a Stephen King clone and wrongly assumed his venture into writing was down to nepotism...not that there is anything wrong with that. What I wasn't expecting was such an original story with believable characters and a totally gripping read. Having read everything Stephen King I have to say that Joe Hill has inherited his Fathers talent but has a style all if his own. Well done, great read and I shall be following him and hope he is as prolific as his Dad.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, just goes on too long, 28 Dec 2007
By 
Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heart-Shaped Box (Paperback)
I really enjoyed the first 100 or so pages. Written in a style very reminiscent of his dad, I thought that in Joe Hill I had found the author that would fill the gap left when Stephen King finally decides to put his pen and paper away. A couple of hundred pages later I wasn't so sure. For whilst this is a well written book the story really drags after a while and then it just seems to go on and on and on and on.....
The characters are good - an Ozzyish heavy rocker and his girl - and the storyline is inventive - a revengeful ghost being 'bought' on-line - but I got bored with the book long before the end and I was relieved when I had finished it.
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Heart-Shaped Box
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Paperback - 1 May 2008)
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