Heart-Shaped Box

Someone told me about Joe Hill somewhere last year, she said that he is a very good writer that people tend to overlook. I never heard of him before. Then I kept reading her post and found out that he is Stephen King’s son…everyone who knows me knows how crazy I am over Stephen King. But being Stephen King’s son is not a guaranteed reading, I mean I once found Tabitha King’s book but I didn’t pick it up and bought it because I still had no idea what kind of writer she is. The same thing happened with Joe Hill, I’m not about to read his book simply based on the fact that he is SK’s son.

I did a little search on him, tried to find out how good he is. And it was quite surprising, he won some awards for his books without letting anyone knew who his father is, he told everyone who he really is after he got his own success by his own talent. He is not trying to live under his father’s wing. That fact made me so eager to read his books.

The problem is…he is not well-known here. I tried looking everywhere…I finally found one of his books last month, it was Heart-Shaped Box.

The story is about a famous Goth rocker who liked to collect mystical stuff. His name is Judas Coyne. One day, Judas received a mail about someone who was planning to sell her stepfather’s ghost. It intrigued him a lot. He started bidding for the ghost and finally bought it for one thousand dollars. He received a black heart-shaped box with a death man suit inside it, along with that box came the ghost. He didn’t believe, at first, till he saw him sitting on the hall. He wanted to send the ghost back to the owner, but both the suit and the ghost couldn’t be returned and he knew that it was a set up.

Judas found out the truth about the ghost. He was a man named Craddock, Anna’s step father. Anna used to be Judas’s girlfriend, but he sent her home because she was too depressed. Through Anna’s sister, the seller of the ghost, he knew that Anna had committed suicide. His current girlfriend, Georgia (her real name is Marybeth), burned the suit because it freaked her up.

Craddock was a talented hypnotist, his purposed in haunting Judas id to make him kill everyone around him and them killed him self. Judas and Marybeth tried to avoid Craddock by going to Jessica Price’s house, Jessica was Anna’s sister. There, Judas found out the truth about Anna’s family.

Can Judas and Marybeth survive from the dead man? That is something you need to find out by reading it by yourself.

I really like this book, Joe Hill can keep the tension rising up till the end of the story. However, there are times when I feel like he is dragging up something a little too long. The tension is high on the beginning and the last part of this book. I love the way he moves the story from the present to the past and back to the present. I can easily say that, I’m looking forward to read more books by Joe Hill. I gave this book 3.5 Stars (I like it)

A bit on Joe Hill from the back cover:

The author of the critically acclaimed story collection in 20th Century Ghosts, Joe Hill is a two time winner of the Bram Stoker Award and a past recipient of the World Fantasy Award. His stories have appeared in a variety of Year’s Best Collections. He lives in New England

Teasers from this book, here and here


I’m sharing this post as my 8th Post for New Author Challenge 2010 and my 9th post for Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2010.


  1. I have to admit I haven’t read that many Stephen King books (mainly because I get scared easily!) but I’ve been curious about Joe Hill’s books for a while since they’ve been published. I haven’t tried any yet, but I like the premise of both – they sound very gothicky – so I’m looking forward to them!

    1. Stephen King only scared me when he writes about ghost..but I love being scared by him.

      Joe seems like a promising writer…I honestly say this not because I adore his father. Tho I’m glad someone will continue his legacy.

  2. I already read this book and I LOVE IT. JOE HILL”s work was amazing too. In a book much too smart to sound like the work of a neophyte, he builds character invitingly and plants an other worldly surprise around every corner. It would be much easier to compare Mr. Hill’s work to Stephen King’s if Stephen King were not his actual father. (His full name is Joseph Hillstrom King.)

    1. Yeah I know his real name when I did a search on him.

      I totally agree with everything you say Healy. I want to read more of his works. Have you read his other works? I heard Horns is also a good book.

  3. Hello Novroz,

    I’m adding you to my lost of blogs that I follow because, I’m a regular visitor to Indonesia and I’m thrilled to meet an Indonesian book blogger.

    1. Hello Amanda 🙂 it’s good to know that you enjoy Indonesia, and I see in Judith’s blog that you can speak Indonesian too…that’s awesome.

      I’ll put you in my bookworm list 🙂

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