ISBN-13: 9780575081871
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Published: 2008
403 pgs

Judas Coyne is not your typical hero as you read from other thriller/horror novels. For starters, he is an ageing metal rock star, but the most intriguing thing about him is he collects macabre stuff. For example, he has framed sketches of the seven dwarves on the wall of his studio, and he has the skull of a peasant who had been trepanned in the sixteenth century etc etc. It all seem very bizarre but Judas has no qualms about his weird collection at all, until his assistant, Danny Wooten, told him that there was a ghost for sale on the internet.

When Judas heard of it, he just knew this would be another great addition to his collection. He bought it and chuck the thought out of his mind. When a black, heart-shaped box arrives in the mail, Judas is perplexed to find nothing but a black and old-fashioned suit. It then struck him that this was a purchase he had made not too long ago and he called it 'the dead man's suit'. As indicated, there is nothing ordinary about this suit as it comes with a vengeful spirit. It turns out that the ghost, Craddock McDermott, is the stepfather of a girl who committed suicide after Judas had played and dumped her.

And this leads to a terrifying hide-and-seek between Judas and Craddock, as well as a woman named Marybeth since she is living with Judas and like him, she has a fancy for anything gothic. Craddock is determined to track them down and since he has got a knack of hypnotising people when he was alive, he intends to use his every power to drive Judas to the edge of sanity. And anyone who is helping Judas would not be spared either.

However, that is not all to this story. Judas also found out more things about Anna, the suicidal girl he once loved and left, and her relationship between her sister and Craddock as well.

No doubt Heart-Shaped Box is a horror story through and through, but it is also an engaging character drive story that makes you feel for the characters, especially for Anna. I am not going to spoil the story for you but if you read this book, you would be able to know about her history and how (why) this horror story begins.

Aside from The Ghost Writer, Heart-Shaped Box is another creepy book I read thus far this year; I would not recommend this book to anyone who is squeamish about blood and all (though I think some of those scenes are inevitable). Then again, Heart-Shaped Box is not entirely a story about ghost and revenge, it also touches issue like abuse and the human sentimentality which I think can be scarier than the ghost itself.

Other reviews:
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19 Responses
  1. Veens Says:

    I think I can't read this book :S
    Yeah... I am "squeamish" about blood! :(

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hi! I've read and reviewed this book last year. I can't classify it as true horror; although the book was alright. I mean, I'd read another Joe Hill book if I ever run into him again. :)

  3. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I say bring it on! I've heard about this book often, and have wondered what the fuss was about. Now I know. It sounds fabulous, and perfect for RIP!

  4. Beth F Says:

    I know it'd be too scary for me.

  5. Alice Says:

    I'm reading it now and surprisingly I can take it quite well. I haven't read a horror book for a long, long time.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Great blog and nice review. I can't wait to read this book although it does sound pretty spooky. I love your book choices.

  7. Serena Says:

    this book has been on my radar for a bit, and yet I still have not read it. Thanks for the review.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Andreea Says:

    I've heard about this book and it does sound interesting, especially since I like creepy books. Great review, Melody!

  9. Thank you for your insightful review, Melody! I do want to read this one. It sounds just creepy enough while at the same time being entertaining.

  10. Iliana Says:

    You are so right, there are other things in the book that are scarier than the blood & ghost. I really liked this book a lot although I think the first part I found to have a lot more suspense and shock moments. Perhaps because I still wasn't sure what was coming next! :)

  11. Ana S. Says:

    I really enjoyed this book, and I think you're right - the human actions were a lot more scary than the ghost.

  12. S. Krishna Says:

    Hmm...I'm not much of a horror fan, but this book intrigues me! Thanks for the review!

  13. Ladytink_534 Says:

    I really loved this one. I heard that they're working on trying to make it into a movie.

    My review

  14. Unknown Says:

    I liked this book a lot. So much of modern horror is so very awful that it was great to read a really good one!

  15. Anonymous Says:

    wow, this one sounds so good. I love creepy. Glad you liked it.

  16. Melody Says:

    Veens - Think of it this way: the book will not be as bad if this is to be shown on the big screen! :P

    Jo - I look forward to reading the next book by Joe Hill!

    Sandy - I can't wait to hear what you'll think of this book when you get to it!

    Beth - I wonder if there'd be a film adaptation of this book in the near future? I might not want to watch it, hehe. Too creepy!

    Alice - I look forward to reading your review! :)

    Chasingbawa - Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy reading this book!

    Serena - I totally understand: Too many books, so little time! :P Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

    Andreea - I love creepy books too! But I'm a wimp when it comes to movies, LOL.

    Wendy - This is indeed an entertaining read but yet a creepy one too! I can't wait to read the next book by Joe Hill!

    Iliana - This book is a page-turner, isn't it? There're a few nail-biting moments for me because I didn't know what to expect next!!

    Nymeth - Glad we share the same thoughts, Nymeth! :)

    Swapna - I haven't read a horror novel for a while, and I'm glad this book doesn't disappoint.

    Jen - Oh wow! They're going to make this into a movie? I'm not sure if I'd want to watch it though, hehe.

    Caitlin - Yes, this is a great horror novel. And not to mention it's packed with suspense too!

    Violet - I hope you'll enjoy this book when you get to it, Violet!

  17. Ceri Says:

    Ooh, I loved this book when I read it. I bought it as soon as it came out and absolutely devoured it. I love Joe Hill. He's working on graphic novels at the moment but I keep badgering him on Twitter to keep churning out the novels.

  18. Melody Says:

    Ceri - I wish I had read this book earlier! It's so intense, and so creepy! I didn't know he's working on graphic novels. Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Julia Says:

    Never read book by Joe Hill before, but the review sound great. Maybe I add this to my list...

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