Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This riveting debut novel is so hip and so frightening that there are sure to be scaredy copycats next year. Aging rock god Jude Coyne is enjoying his semi-retirement as a recluse on his farm with his beloved dogs; his latest groupie-cum-girlfriend, Georgia; and a creepy hobby, collecting objets des macabres. Jude's latest addition to his ghoulish collection is a ghost. The specter resides in an old-fashioned Sunday suit, and, once released from the titular heart-shaped box, begins a mission of revenge. Swinging a curved razor, the black-eyed spirit hypnotizes its victims. Jude's assistant, Danny, hangs himself. Then Georgia sticks a gun in her mouth. Even Jude is not immune to the phantom's murderous lullabies and finds himself in the front seat of his cream-puff Mustang, inhaling carbon monoxide. Hill's tone is gleefully morbid, and his plot plunges and flies like a roller coaster trying to dump all of its shrieking passengers. Both an original effort and an honorable homage to the author's father, horrormeister Stephen King (Hill's real surname is King, too), Heart-Shaped Box heralds the arrival of a horribly good new talent.--Mediatore Stover, Kaite Copyright 2008 Booklist


Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Rocker Judas Coyne collects creepy stuff like a hangman's noose but when he buys a ghost off the Internet, he's in real trouble. This wraith is the stepfather of a girl Judas loved and left to suicide. Movie rights have already vanished. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

According to an October 19 USA TODAY story, Morrow picked up this first novel by a two-time Bram Stoker Award winner on its own literary merits, not knowing that Hill is the pen name of Joe King, son of Stephen. This reviewer wishes he had had the same opportunity. It's impossible to read this wrenching and effective ghost story without seeing Hill's father in it-which is not to say that it's bad. It reads like good, early King mixed with some of the edgier splatterpunk sensibilities of David J. Schow (The Kill Riff). Aging death-metal guitarist Judas Coyne, who's obsessed with the macabre, is living peacefully in upstate New York when he buys a dead man's haunted suit from an online auction site. (It arrives in a heart-shaped box.) Soon he and young Goth girlfriend Georgia are pulled into battle with the ghostly old man and their own shattered pasts. Predictable at times, the book has genuinely touching emotional moments as well as action-packed confrontations with the dead. Morrow has a huge media push behind this book, and film rights have already been sold to Warner Brothers. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/06.]-Karl G. Siewert, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Drawing kudos as the best in horror is Joe Hill's debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box (Morrow. 2007. ISBN 978-0-06-114793-7. $24.95). Judas Coyne often buys macabre objects, but when he purchases a particularly outre artifact, he finds himself in a fight against a malicious and darkly powerful force. Hill's haunted road story is a treat for horror fans and will surprise those who think they dislike the genre. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.


Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Stoker-winner Hill features a particularly merciless ghost in his powerful first novel. Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide. Judas isn't quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations. Hill (20th Century Ghosts) gives his characters believably complex emotional lives that help to anchor the supernatural in psychological reality and prove that (as one character observes) "horror was rooted in sympathy." His subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.


School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Adult/High School-Hill, two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award for his short fiction, delivers a terrifyingly contemporary twist to the traditional ghost story with his first novel. Aging rock star Judas Coyne is a collector of bizarre and macabre artifacts: a used hangman's noose, a snuff film, and rare books on witchcraft. When he purchases a suit billed in an online auction as the haunted clothes of a recently deceased man, Coyne finds more than he bargained for. Everywhere he looks he sees the twisted spirit of an old and evil man following him and dangling a deadly razor on a chain. He learns that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of a former lover who committed suicide shortly after Coyne tossed her out of his life. McDermott, a professional hypnotist prior to his death, swore to destroy Coyne's rock-star life of self-indulgence to avenge her death. The behind-the-scenes look at stardom alongside the frightening pyrotechnics of McDermott's ghost will draw in teens who really enjoy a good scare. But like all good ghost stories, Hill also crafts a deftly plotted mystery as McDermott's true motivations and powers unfold. The depth of character hidden in the dark shadows of both men lifts what could otherwise be a formula supernatural thriller to an impressive debut.-Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This riveting debut novel is so hip and so frightening that there are sure to be scaredy copycats next year. Aging rock god Jude Coyne is enjoying his semi-retirement as a recluse on his farm with his beloved dogs; his latest groupie-cum-girlfriend, Georgia; and a creepy hobby, collecting objets des macabres. Jude's latest addition to his ghoulish collection is a ghost. The specter resides in an old-fashioned Sunday suit, and, once released from the titular heart-shaped box, begins a mission of revenge. Swinging a curved razor, the black-eyed spirit hypnotizes its victims. Jude's assistant, Danny, hangs himself. Then Georgia sticks a gun in her mouth. Even Jude is not immune to the phantom's murderous lullabies and finds himself in the front seat of his cream-puff Mustang, inhaling carbon monoxide. Hill's tone is gleefully morbid, and his plot plunges and flies like a roller coaster trying to dump all of its shrieking passengers. Both an original effort and an honorable homage to the author's father, horrormeister Stephen King (Hill's real surname is King, too), Heart-Shaped Box heralds the arrival of a horribly good new talent.--Mediatore Stover, Kaite Copyright 2008 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Rocker Judas Coyne collects creepy stuff like a hangman's noose but when he buys a ghost off the Internet, he's in real trouble. This wraith is the stepfather of a girl Judas loved and left to suicide. Movie rights have already vanished. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

According to an October 19 USA TODAY story, Morrow picked up this first novel by a two-time Bram Stoker Award winner on its own literary merits, not knowing that Hill is the pen name of Joe King, son of Stephen. This reviewer wishes he had had the same opportunity. It's impossible to read this wrenching and effective ghost story without seeing Hill's father in it-which is not to say that it's bad. It reads like good, early King mixed with some of the edgier splatterpunk sensibilities of David J. Schow (The Kill Riff). Aging death-metal guitarist Judas Coyne, who's obsessed with the macabre, is living peacefully in upstate New York when he buys a dead man's haunted suit from an online auction site. (It arrives in a heart-shaped box.) Soon he and young Goth girlfriend Georgia are pulled into battle with the ghostly old man and their own shattered pasts. Predictable at times, the book has genuinely touching emotional moments as well as action-packed confrontations with the dead. Morrow has a huge media push behind this book, and film rights have already been sold to Warner Brothers. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/06.]-Karl G. Siewert, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Drawing kudos as the best in horror is Joe Hill's debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box (Morrow. 2007. ISBN 978-0-06-114793-7. $24.95). Judas Coyne often buys macabre objects, but when he purchases a particularly outre artifact, he finds himself in a fight against a malicious and darkly powerful force. Hill's haunted road story is a treat for horror fans and will surprise those who think they dislike the genre. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Stoker-winner Hill features a particularly merciless ghost in his powerful first novel. Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide. Judas isn't quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations. Hill (20th Century Ghosts) gives his characters believably complex emotional lives that help to anchor the supernatural in psychological reality and prove that (as one character observes) "horror was rooted in sympathy." His subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Adult/High School-Hill, two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award for his short fiction, delivers a terrifyingly contemporary twist to the traditional ghost story with his first novel. Aging rock star Judas Coyne is a collector of bizarre and macabre artifacts: a used hangman's noose, a snuff film, and rare books on witchcraft. When he purchases a suit billed in an online auction as the haunted clothes of a recently deceased man, Coyne finds more than he bargained for. Everywhere he looks he sees the twisted spirit of an old and evil man following him and dangling a deadly razor on a chain. He learns that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of a former lover who committed suicide shortly after Coyne tossed her out of his life. McDermott, a professional hypnotist prior to his death, swore to destroy Coyne's rock-star life of self-indulgence to avenge her death. The behind-the-scenes look at stardom alongside the frightening pyrotechnics of McDermott's ghost will draw in teens who really enjoy a good scare. But like all good ghost stories, Hill also crafts a deftly plotted mystery as McDermott's true motivations and powers unfold. The depth of character hidden in the dark shadows of both men lifts what could otherwise be a formula supernatural thriller to an impressive debut.-Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Rocker Judas Coyne collects creepy stuff like a hangman's noose but when he buys a ghost off the Internet, he's in real trouble. This wraith is the stepfather of a girl Judas loved and left to suicide. Movie rights have already vanished. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.