Heart Shaped Box * Joe Hill

A rock star purchases a vengeful ghost for his oddities collection and finds himself in a race for his life as the ghost is none other than the step father of his ex girlfriend. Ex DEAD girlfriend.


“Hill’s book is satisfyingly creepy and bleak, ideal for those who relish a good scare.” (WATERSONES’ BOOKS QUARTERLY )

“A supernatural thriller which is well written, superbly paced, convincingly plotted and populated with intriguing characters, a story that will grip you from first word to last, the embodiment of the phrase page turner, and for a first novel that’s damned good going.” (BLACK STATIC )

Got this book on a sale and I was attracted by the words GHOSTS and HAUNTING in the jacket cover description. Being a fan of Paranormal Activity I thought that I had finally found a good haunting story. And I did!

The main character, Jude, a former rock star with a love for women. Usually white skinned goth girls with a troubled childhood. His previous girlfriend Anna was depresive and he sends her back home to her family where she slumps into a deeper depression and then finally commits suicide.
A few months later, Jude’s assistant finds a suit on an auction website that the owner claimed was haunted by the ghost of the step father.Jude purchases the suit and then ends up with the ghost.
He sees the apparition in his first night and starts feeling more and more threathened by it.
Calling the woman in the morning to return it, he finds out that she was Anna’s older sister and what he had purchased was Anna’s step dad, looking for vengeance.

Now the story becomes interesting. Marybeth, his current girlfriend gets an infection when a hidden needle stabs her when touching the suit.
Jude, looking to find the source of the haunting, finds out that the step dad was an old acclaimed hypnotist and that he had the means to manipulate living beings. So, he almost kills Marybeth by strangling her upon the suggestion from the ghost.

He leaves the house along with the two dogs and the girlfriend and embarks on a journey to the south to find out whether Anne really did kill herself or whether she was murdered.

He also encounters his own troubled past and a ghost from Marybeth’s.

Good points: narration is good, pace is good, overall story plot is good. One of the few stories with a happy end. The ONLY story I’ve read so far where the main character is a rock star with a goth predilection.
Very good analysis of childhood traumas and how they affect the adult person.

Bad points: one scene was copied from Stephen King’s The Wastelands (The Dark Tower Series). I would have expected a little bit of originality.

The characters are sketchy, especially the supporting ones.
I can’t help comparing the son with the father and I think this is where I’m wrong. One is a master, the other is a master in the making. I shouldn’t say that SK’s secondary characters were better developed than his son’s but they are.


About the Author

Joe Hill

Son of Stephen King and Tabitha King, Joe Hillstrom King has come on the horror novel market with two books – Heart Shaped Box and Horns. He has also written a collection of short horror stories called 20th Century Ghosts, and a comic book series, Locke & Key

Website: http://joehillfiction.com
witter: @joe_hill

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