Posted in Books, Reviews

Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill | Book REVIEW

So apparently April is the month of horror for me (seriously it’s all I’ve read so far this month), so why switch it up at all. Joe Hill is my fav’s, Stephen King, son – spoiler alert. I knew I would eventually pick up his work., so when I saw his first full length novel at the library I had to pick it up! Did I enjoy it? Let’s find out!


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.

RATING – PG-13 (Violence, Gore, Language, Some sexual scenes, TRIGGER WARNING – SUICIDE, SELF HARM)

PUBLICATION DATE – February 13, 2007

LENGTH – 376 pages

The Good – 

  • At first, the characters seemed like they were terrible people, and I thought they would really put me off. Fortunately, they really redeemed themselves and were my favorite part of the entire book.
  • The ghost was REALLY creepy. Not only is his design different from any ghost I’ve seen or read, but his ability to influence people was new and terrifying. If you pick up this book for only one reason, it should be to see how this ghost is written.
  • I really enjoyed the pace of the story. About a third of the way through I thought that it may peak too early, but it really worked. It was like a roller coaster of scares.

    The Meh:

  • I thought the writing was pretty average. Although it never really bothered me while I was reading, as I finished I just thought it could have been better. I know that this was Hill’s first full length book and I’ve heard it’s actually his weakest. So we shall see if his other works have better writing.

    The Bad:

  • The ending was REALLY underwhelming for me. Like the entire book there is so much suspense and then it just kind of ends. I also didn’t like the end with the road (y’all who read it know).

  •  STORY  3/5 (pretty standard ghost story)
  • CHARACTERS – 3.5/5 (the two mains where surprisingly likable considering their pasts and the villain was SCARY)
  • WRITING – 3/5 (pretty average but a good start for Hill)
  • UNIQUENESS – 3.5/5 (some additions to the standard ghost lore and a creepy villain made it unique)


Have you read this? What did you think about it! What’s you favorite Joe Hill book?

Thanks for reading!


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Check out my last post on my review of Song of Susannah – Stephen King HERE!



Just a college student with an unnatural love for books and too many thoughts to keep to herself.

8 thoughts on “Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill | Book REVIEW

    1. I heard NOS4A2 is his best too. It’s funny that you think his writing is similar because I thought it was almost opposite to SKs in some aspects. Like SK takes his good sweet time getting to the meat of his stories but in Heart Shaped Box the ghost appeared within the first like 10 pages

      Liked by 1 person

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