Heart Shaped Box


Heart-Shaped Box

Title: Heart Shaped Box

Author: Joe Hill

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Genre: Horror

Geographical Setting: Southern states

Time Period: Current

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Jude Coyne is an aging former death-metal superstar with an interest in all things gothic and macabre.  He has a disturbing collection of items that include a snuff film, a used hangman’s noose, drawings done by John Wayne Gacy, and a signed confession from a witch.  Jude’s assistant informs him of a ghost for sale online.  The ad says the ghost is very attached to a particular suit and will follow this suit wherever it may go.  Jude decides to buy this ghost/suit as an addition to his collection.  Once the suit is delivered in its heart shaped box, everything starts to go downhill.  Jude soon finds out the suit (and ghost) belong to Craddock McDermott, who was the stepfather of one of Jude’s ex-girlfriends.  Craddock blames Jude for his stepdaughter’s suicide and has come to get revenge.  This fast-paced horror takes the reader on a wild ride while Jude attempts to rid himself (and his current girlfriend) of Craddock’s ghost before they are both killed.

Subject Headings: Southern gothic, horror, ghosts, supernatural, dowsing, hypnotism, sexual abuse, musician, suicide, vengeance

Appeal: Fast-paced, relentless, engrossing, detailed, dramatic, eccentric, intriguing, strong secondary characters, vivid, well-developed, action-oriented, cinematic, complex, conclusive, explicitly violent, plot-centered, racy, resolved ending, sexually explicit, strong language, contemporary, chilling, darker, gritty, menacing atmosphere, suspenseful

Three terms that best describe this book: Chilling, suspenseful, and dramatic

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Shining by Stephen King (As the king of horror and Joe Hill’s father, King is a natural choice.  The Shining is one of his most well known novels.  About a family’s terrifying experience with a hotel that is very much haunted)

The Keeper by Sarah Langan (A woman’s death brings about a series of events that bring a town’s secrets to life.  People and animals rise from the dead and complicated relationships are tested)

Ghost Story by Peter Straub (A group of men accidently kill a woman and decide it must be kept a secret.  The ghost of this woman comes back to haunt them and seek revenge)

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye by Allison DuBois (DuBois is a medium who details what she believes happens to our loved ones when they pass on)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis by Robert Temes (A basic guide to hypnosis for those who are interested in mind control)

Animals in Spirit: Our faithful companions’ transition to the afterlife by Penelope Smith (Smith is a pet psychic who discusses animal’s feelings about their deaths and their reasons for passing as they did)

Name: Madeline

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