Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill




Alriiiight, completed my first R.I.P. IX read!  Joe Hill is a delightfully creepy dude.

Jude used to be a famous rock star. Now, getting older and tired of the rock star life, he’s just a guy who maintains a stream of out-of-state girlfriends, takes care of his dogs, and has a collection of weird. He has a trepanned skull, a noose from the 19th century, a snuff film. One day his assistant points out that a website has a suit-inhabited-by-a-ghost for sale, and Jude jumps at it. Of course, he doesn’t believe that the suit he purchases actually comes with a ghost. At first…

This was, weirdly, an enjoyable read. It creeped me the hell out at times, but it was evenly paced with enough really disturbing, anxious moments to keep me interested. Jude is a generally likable character, which I didn’t expect. He has a dark story, and despite his initial, kind of gross attitude towards women, I ended up cheering for him and wanting him to be happy. That’s asking a bit much when there’s an angry ghost after you and anyone who’s close to you. The ghost is that of Craddock McDermott, and he’s blaming Jude for his stepdaughter’s suicide. But things aren’t always what they seem, and Jude needs to figure out how to save himself – both literally, and figuratively.

Unfortunately, the coolest twists and the things that gave me the shivers are the exact things that I’m not going to mention, because it wouldn’t be as fun a read if you went in knowing so much. If you’re looking for something dark and haunting for Halloween-time, this is a good pick. The only reason I’m rating it as average is because it might be my least favorite Joe Hill so far – It’s hard to beat Horns.


Sarah Says: 3 stars



  1. Horns…I’m going to have to look that one up. Also – did you get back on Goodreads?? I hope – I want to follow your reviews!

    I have never read a book by this author, but I love creepy books. May have to give it a try. Glad you enjoyed this one!


    1. Horns is REALLY good. And it’s going to be a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe! And I AM on Goodreads again! https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2391692-sarah I thought that we were already friends on Goodreads from years ago, but maybe not. I’m too lazy to scroll through the list, lol. I deleted ALL the 800 books or so I had on my shelves from a few years ago and started over. I added everything that I’ve read so far this year and a couple categorical shelves… no reviews or ratings just yet.


  2. I thought Heart-Shaped Box and Horns were both good, but it’s impossible for me to compare them since I read them so far apart from each other. I think Heart-Shaped Box left more of an impression on me, but it’s possible that Horns‘s impression was strong at first too and just faded over time (especially as I kept denying myself more Joe Hill).

    Those are still the only two I’ve read. Really need to get on NOS4A2. I don’t want to be two books behind when The Fireman comes out next year.


    1. I think that Horns and NOS4A2 are both really creepy and weird and original in their plots. Heart-Shaped Box and kind of unique and good, but it did have more of a run-of-the-mill thriller story to me, I don’t know why. Still really good, and certain parts are going to stick in my head… but Horns man. That was my first Joe Hill and I looooved it.


  3. I didn’t really think about how difficult it would be talk review this book without giving anything away but your review highlighted it. Well done with what you can share without spoilers!

    I liked this a lot more than I initially thought I would. Though I agree, it’s probably at the bottom of the Joe-Hill-I’ve-Read pile, but that’s still pretty high up.


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