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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 bandmates 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. 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 hand.
A multiple award-winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.
Audie Award winner, Thriller/Suspense, 2008
Thriller Award, Best Novel, 2008
"Powerful....[Hill's] subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Hill elicits honest empathy for Jude, who turned his stage persona into a nightmare version of his fears and must now figure out what strength he has left for legitimate battles. This dynamic is both frightening and funny, and the book weaves together those two threads in clever ways." (The New York Times)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lesley on 02-23-07
Yikes! Five stars for fright
I bought this book for the concept: a dead man's suit that comes with a ghost. I figured it would be good and scary, and I wasn't wrong.
I read a lot of stories that I think are going to be scary, but then I'm disappointed when it turns out the monster really isn't much of a monster. But parts of Heart-Shaped Box scared me so much I could barely listen, even in a brightly-lit health club with dozens of other people there.
I won't describe any of those sections for fear of spoiling other readers' fun. Let's just say that some stuff happens that scares even the main character--a guy who owns a cookbook for cannibals.
Although this book is frightening, and a thriller, the writing doesn't suffer. All the characters had fully realized story arcs, even some of the minor ones who turned out later to be more important than they seemed at first.
I particularly liked the main character, Judas Coyne. Even though he has apparently been mean to others through some of his life, I found him fairly easy to sympathize with through most of the action. By the end of the book he'd won me over--I was cheering for his side all the way.
The production of the audiobook itself was good, too. The narrator did a fine job, even with voices for female characters, which is often hard for a guy. Between sections, there are a couple of musical breaks--the first one startled me, but only because I wasn't expecting it.
I definitely recommend this one for people who don't mind a good scare. I hope Joe Hill has some more on the way.
87 of 87 people found this review helpful
By Patricia on 11-30-07
Intricately written and extremely descriptive, this story leaves you wondering who the real victims/villains are...the roles are not clearly defined and each character crosses back and forth across the line of decency. Yet, it becomes fairly evident 'who's the evilest one of all' as the book progresses...but then what?
This book was clearly written by someone who knows his way around character development. My main criticism is that the reader was tediously slow in his reading and could have done more to act out the characters. I had to put my IPOD speed to "faster" just so I wouldn't give up because of the slow pace. Not sure if this was all the fault of the reader, but most of it probably was. It's well worth listening to, but at times will give you an uneasy feeling, so I'm not sure that I would put this book in my top 5 favs.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful