BOOK REVIEW: Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill

Posted 29 October, 2011 by Kristilyn in Horror / 3 Comments

Released: February 13, 2007 (William Morrow)
Source: Library
Buy Now From: Amazon

Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it. The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.

My Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)

I really wanted to like this book. Really. Joe Hill, being the son of horror-writer Stephen King, seems to be attempting to follow in his father’s footsteps, writing in the horror genre.

Heart-Shaped Box, however, was not scary. At all. I had read reviews of the book, and always looked at it at the library, wondering if I’d be brave enough to check it out. It was even in my wish list on Amazon. I was that intrigued.

When I finally did check this book out, I couldn’t believe how I had worked myself up for nothing. The book is humorous at times (like a I-can’t-believe-he’s-trying-to-pass-this-off-as-scary kind of humorous), but Hill’s characters are so cliché and drab (an aging ex-rock star with his ex-stripper groupie girlfriend). The entire book is predictable and kind of boring.

If you’re looking for a scary read, put Heart-Shaped Box back on the shelf. You’ll finish the book wondering where the scary was. Pick up something by Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, or Chuck Pahlaniuk instead.


About Kristilyn

Kristilyn is a Canadian book blogger, music listener & creator, proud mama, and general lover of life. Her necessities include fuzzy socks, a library full of good books, a fully charged Kindle, copious amounts of tea, and chocolate. Swoon-worthy book boys are also welcome.


3 Responses to “BOOK REVIEW: Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill”

  1. Nice to see your review, so disappointing for sure. Have you tried Horns? It is much better, so much potential.

    This one scared another blogger so much they had to put it down, so weird to me.

    • I saw Horns in the bookstore the other day and considered getting it, but was so put-off from Heart-Shaped Box that I think I’ll check if the library has it. I will check it out!

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