Monday, October 22, 2018

#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box By Joe Hill
Publisher: Harper Audio
Release Date: February 13th, 2007
Format: Audiobook narrated by Stephen lang
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre -- his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman's noose, Aleister Crowley's childhood chessboard, etc. -- so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it. 

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker's sanity.
I think I made a mistake by reading NOS4A2 before reading this book. Don't get me wrong this is a cool book that meshes the creep factor and thriller factor, but I was prepared for it to completely scare me, and it didn't. However, I have heard that NOS4A2 is Hill's creepiest book, so maybe I prepared myself to be too scared by this one. I like this one because not only does it have a vengeful ghost, but it is also somewhat of a mystery that slowly gets unraveled as Judas and his girlfriend "Georgia" travel through state lines to figure it out. Some of the twists are a little obvious, but if you like a good thriller that brings in the supernatural, I think this might be a book for you!

Hill plays with the reader in this book right up front but giving us a really unlikable character. Judas Coyne is an aging rockstar, that really only seems to care about himself and does't really care what happens to the people around him. So much that he barely learns names of the women that he's with, instead referring to them by the state they are from. Coyne has a lot of demons, and some family abuse, but right off the bat I thought, "man, this dude is a piece of shit." I really DID NOT care what was going to happen to this dude, especially when you find out why the ghost that he buys starts to haunt him. At the same time, I couldn't help but feel a little bad for him? It made me feel really conflicted, and as the story unravels you learn more to figure out that maybe that empathy is not misplaced.

So, here's the thing, at the end I still don't think Coyne was really the "good guy" of the story, but he's more just "this guy" that is really trying to survive this ordeal. I actually felt more for his girlfriend Georgia. She never asked for any of this, and I was surprised by her resilience throughout the whole ordeal. I was actually more interested in her, and it was interesting that piece by piece we got to hear more about her story. Like, Coyne, she also had some demons to work through, and I like to think at the end of the book they had put their demons behind them.

This book deals with a lot of disturbing things. Not only is there a ghost trying to kill our protagonists, but the book also deals with issues of child abuse including physical, sexual & mental. The sexual abuse in this book is very vaguely hinted at, but it's pretty clear what was going on. I can't really say where it is in the book without giving spoilers, but I just want to warn other readers if it's something they can't read about in books. The book certainly doesn't shy away from talking about this, but it's a key issue to the conflict in the book.

I enjoyed the audiobook version of this book a lot. I don't think I've listened to Stephen Lang narrate anything before, but he did a good job with this. The book has a lot of accents in it, and I think he did a really good job with the Southern Accent. At one point in the book Georgia's accent starts to shift to her real accent, and it was a treat to listen to that transition in the audiobook. Granted, I'm from the North so I don't know if they are true to the regions, but they sounded great to me.

I think this is great book to get you into a spooky mood. I definitely didn't listen to it at night!

You can get a copy yourself using my affiliate link here:

Happy Reads Everyone!