by Joe Hill
Narrator: Stephen Lang
Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4.5 cups
Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude cant help but reach for his wallet.
I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder...
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 band-mates 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, no benign conversation piece. 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 bony hand...
I used to think only good things came in heart-shaped boxes. Things like chocolates or jewelry. That all changed when I listened to Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill during the #Fraterfest Readathon earlier this year. Nope, I will forever hesitate when I open those boxes.
Reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Heart-Shaped Box
- Jude Coyne, an aging rocker buys a ghost on a whim to add to his macabre collection. When his package arrives it’s a black heart-shaped that contain a suit. He laughs, and tucks it away but soon he begins seeing the ghost on an old man. The tale that unfolds develops into a creeptastic haunting that will send shivers down your spine.
- Jude and his goth rocker girlfriend, Georgia (Marybeth) are both a little rough around the edges and fairly cliché, but Hill will surprise you as he peels back their layers. My opinion of both of them changed as the story progressed, and I actually became quite fond of them.
- You love a good scare. This got dark with some disturbing moments. The tension and suspense built and I soon found myself holding my breath and turning on a few extra lights. Sometimes when I close my eyes those scenes come to mind. Eek! Never let it be said that Hill doesn’t have a twisted imagination and his skill with a pen brings it all to terrifying life. Animal Lovers warning: View Spoiler »a scene involving animals was painful for me as an animal lover. You have been warned. « Hide Spoiler
- Hill explores the human psyche from Jude to the women who love him. He allows the reader to get them, connect and become invested in their outcome.
- The whole premise surrounding the ghost was fantastic!! The ghost himself was a powerful and frightening character. From Hill’s vivid description of him to the things this ghost appears to be able to do and in fact does! I thought his history was rather clever and gave plausibility to the story for those prone to believe in the supernatural.
- The ending wrapped up really well, leaving the reader in a good place and even contains an epilogue.
- Stephen Lang offered a stellar narration from the characters individual voices to the way he aided in intensifying scenes and emotions. Hill’s books lend themselves perfectly to audio and Lang delivered.
While NOS42A is still my favorite Joe Hill book, Heart-Shaped Box was another clever listen. Now turn on the lights and grab your headphones.
[bctt tweet=”Turn on the lights, grab your headphones and listen to Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, narrated by Stephen Lang. This is one ghostly tale you won’t soon forget. #iloveaudiobooks #horror” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I want to read him I really do but some horror is just not for me. I think I’ll go to the library and check one out and just start and see how I like it. Thanks Kim for keeping him on my radar so many of my friends like him
I listened to this one about a year or so ago. I found it pretty creepy too, though NOS4A2 is still my favorite Joe Hill book (followed by The Fireman). Great review.
Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
I read this one right after it was released and remember liking it but have forgotten most of the details. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed it overall.
Rachel @Waves of Fiction
What a macabre collection! Who in their right mind would want to buy a ghost? Sounds very scary. Glad you enjoyed it, apart from the spoiler. I’m sure that would bug me, too.
My first thought when I started listening to this book was, “Dybbuk box – you’ve done a very stupid thing and bought a dybbuk box.” It wasn’t that, but it WAS a wild, atmospheric horror/ghost story, I very much liked this audiobook.
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
This sounds so creepy! If I had just read the title and not seen who the author was, I would have expected a completely different kind of story. Heart-shaped boxes just immediately make me think of sweet romances, lol.
Great review Kim. I re-read this one in October and still need to post my thoughts on it. I totally agree, it’s a good scary story and I ended like liking both Jude and Georgia. You hit the nail on the head, Hill does a great job at getting into Jude and the women in his life, the way Georgia won’t leave him and wants to help him. Ugh the ghost creeped me out, his eyes!
Oh boy, sounds spooky for sure.
I heard so many things about this author and I know I need to try!
A cookbook for cannibals? Why do these things even exist? I’m glad you were able to enjoy this one. I haven’t read the book, but your review has convinced me to never open a heart-shaped box. I’ll just let my husband know now!
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
Ohhh a ghost story. Oh I like the sound of this one.
Oh yeah, totally creepy. I keep old letters in one such box. LOL This was definitely the perfect Fraterfest read.
I love boxes … one of my brother in laws buys me one every Christmas.
A collector of such wonderfully unusual stuff, Judas sounds like a fascinating character. Dark and yet hopefully not so dark that I’d find myself unable to read it, this is definitely a book I could see myself enjoying,
I have this one but yet to try it! Need to do that…lol.
I think I have a book or two of his on my Kindle and I keep meaning to give his work a shot. I have seen his name around a lot and most of the talk has been positive.
Ok. Being the wuss I am, I am not a horror reader. But I do want to read this book now. Unfortunately my library doesn’t have it in audio. I will recommend it. 🙂
Great review. Did you have to sleep with the lights on? LOL
I guess he inherited his dad’s ghoststory writing skills! did the audiobook had creepy music to complement it?
Oh man, I read this when it first released but don’t remember much of it, just that I liked it a lot. Maybe I should do a reread.