Book Review: Heart-Shaped Box (Joe Hill)

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Jude Coyne enjoys creepy things. He has a snuff film, a hangman’s noose, and other memorabilia that would give, the average person, nightmares. So when he is contacted through an online bidding website about purchasing a ghost, he decides to put a bid on it. Once the “ghost” arrives in a heart-shaped box, Jude is skeptical but soon he realizes that this ghost is very much real. He is very much angry. And he won’t stop until Jude is dead….

Heart-Shaped Box, the debut horror novel by Joe Hill, follows washed up rock star, Jude Coyne, as he comes in direct contact with a revenge-seeking poltergeist. As he investigates into the story behind the ghost, he realizes his connection to it and must try to escape his wrath.

This was my first experience with a Joe Hill novel. It came highly recommended by many fellow book bloggers and my friends in the bookstagram community.   I had initially added it to my Halloween Read-a-Thon weekend, but life got in the way! Since I leave no book behind, I figured I needed to finish this book!

Initially, I was terrified when I was reading the novel. Within the first couple chapters, where he first discovers the ghost and makes initial contact with it, I had to put the novel down because I was too freaked out.   By page 34, I had to put the book in another room because it was creeping me out so much; serves me right for reading this right before bed! However, as the novel progressed I found myself feeling indifferent about the story.  It slowed down and I didn’t find it overly frightening. I also didn’t find the imagery as “nightmare-inducing” as I had been expecting.  It became a run of the mill ghost story for me.   It had its moments in the middle (look out for the Ouija board scene and the phone call from his manager) but, otherwise, I found it a little lackluster.  Once we got closer to the end, the story picked up and I did end up enjoying how the story wrapped up. The plot twist was unexpected and held my interest.

Now, don’t get it twisted, my feelings regarding the middle of this book had absolutely nothing to do with Hill’s writing style. He is a phenomenal writer; there is no doubting that. It is engaging and the narrative voice of the characters is easy to connect with.   I will absolutely read more of his work.

I feel like any fan of Stephan King will enjoy this book since they have very similar narrative voices (like father like son I guess!). However, if you are looking for an incredibly terrifying read, I wouldn’t bother with this one.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Heart-Shaped Box (Joe Hill)

  1. Great review! I’m in awe of how many books you’re reading!! Love the instagram pictures:) I’ve never read Joe Hill but he’s been on my radar as I’ve loved many of Steven King’s Books


    1. I have been reading so many good ones lately! It’s not hard to read a bunch when I can’t put any of them down lol this was my first Joe Hill book too; I was inspired after I saw them all on Instagram- I’m a sucker for book recommendations

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me to, I LOVE talking with others about the books they’ve read and loved…or are currently reading and loving! Hence the name of my blog:) I think you and Abby at Crime by the book are putting up some awesome recommendations lately.


  2. I enjoyed this one. I expected the ending to be a little bit darker, and there were a few things that happened during the story that I thought were a little far fetched, but overall it wasn’t bad. Like you this was my first Joe Hill novel. I’ll probably give his books another go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s kinda where I was at with it too; I’m always expecting things to be darker than they end up being. I don’t know what that says about me lol I’ll give his writing another go for sure- I’ve heard good things about The Fireman so I may start there.

      Liked by 1 person

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