Needful Things

Needful Things

4.2 214
by Stephen King

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An evil presence has set up shop in quiet Castle Rock-and is planning to bring the town to its knees...  See more details below


An evil presence has set up shop in quiet Castle Rock-and is planning to bring the town to its knees...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With the ``Last Castle Rock Story'' King bids a magnificent farewell to the fictional Maine town where much of his previous work has been set. Of grand proportion, the novel ranks with King's best, in both plot and characterization. A new store, Needful Things, opens in town, and its proprietor, Leland Gaunt, offers seemingly unbeatable (read: Faustian) bargains to Castle Rock's troubled citizens. Among them are Polly Chalmers, lonely seamstress whose arthritis is only one of the physical and psychic pains she must bear; Brian Rusk, the 11-year-old boy whose mother is not precisely attentive; and Alan Pangborn, the new sheriff whose wife and son have recently died. These are only three of the half-dozen or so brilliantly drawn people met in the novel's one-month time span. As the dreams of each strikingly memorable character, major and minor, inexorably turn to nightmare, individuals and soon the community are overwhelmed, while the precise nature of Gaunt's evil thrillingly stays just out of focus. King, like Leland Gaunt, knows just what his customers want.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
King's, well-constructed...cleverly plotted.
Kirkus Reviews
The old horrormaster in top form, this time with a demonic dealer in magic and spells selling his wares to the folks of Castle Rock, scene of several King novels including The Dead Zone, Cujo—and how many others? King locates his hokey Our Town in Maine, but as ever it's really Consumerville, USA, with everyone's life festooned with brand names. The cast is huge and largely grotesque, since King—wearing a tremendous cat's-smile—means to close the book on Castle Rock and blow it off the map in one of his best climaxes since Salem's Lot. Editing here is supreme. King braids perhaps a dozen storylines—with hardly a drop of blood spilled for the first 250 or so pages—into ever briefer takes that climax in a hurtling, storm-ripped holocaust whose symphonic energies fill the novel's last third. Perhaps only five characters stand out: Leland Gaunt, a gentlemanly stranger who opens the Needful Things curiosity shop; his first customer, Brian Rusk, 11, who sells his soul for a rare Sandy Koufax baseball card; practical Polly Chalmers, who runs the You Sew `n' Sew shop, welcomes Gaunt with a devil's-food cake, and buys an amulet to relieve her arthritis; her lover, Sheriff Alan Pangborn, who buys nothing but is haunted by the driving deaths of his wife and son; and Ace Merrill, coke dealer in a bind, who becomes Gaunt's handydevil and gets to drive Gaunt's Tucker, a car that's faster than radar and uses no gas. As he has for hundreds of years, Gaunt sells citizens whatever pricks and satisfies their inmost desires. But the price dehumanizes them, and soon all the townsfolk vent their barest aggressions on each other with cleaver, knife, andgun: Gaunt even opens a sideline of automatic weapons. By novel's end, the whole town is on a hysterical, psychotic mass rampage that floods morgue and hospital with the delimbed and obliterated. Then comes the big bang. Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Leland King's glee, or Steven Gaunt's, or rather—well, the author's—as he rubs his palms over his let's-blow-'em-away superclimax is wonderfully catching.

From the Publisher
“[King’s] . . . narration style lends intimacy to the recording, as if King were sitting down with you himself.”
“[King’s] . . . narration style lends intimacy to the recording, as if King were sitting down with you himself.”

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Product Details

HighBridge Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 18 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.43(w) x 6.75(h) x 7.25(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

STEPHEN KING is a prolific and perennially bestselling author and an recognized master of the horror genre. He was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Brief Biography

Bangor, Maine
Date of Birth:
September 21, 1947
Place of Birth:
Portland, Maine
B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

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Needful Things 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 215 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book grabbed me from the start. I couldn't put the book down once I started reading. The descriptive detail makes the reader feel like he/she is in the book itself. For those who have seen the movie, the book has much, much more......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good read. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I could not put it down! This is one of my favorite King books and he is not called King for nothing.
Nookhooked556 More than 1 year ago
One of my personal King favorites. We all have them...those things we can't live without...but at what cost? Enjoy the ride as this master of the macabre takes us on a journey which makes us question how much is too much?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is really a spectacular piece of work. Its not like his typical classics such as misery, it, the shining, or cujo but it has this sense of unusualness that makes this novel special i highly reccommend this novel to anyone who likes Stephen King reads and wants to travel down a fun little side path.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this horrifying, yet thrilling novel, Stephen King gives a whole new meaning to the word evil. In small town Castle Rock, Maine, past and present fears are unleashed. This compelling story mixes the everyday drama and gossip of the small town life, with the magic and evil of what people consider ¿the unknown.¿ When newcomer Leland Gaunt arrives in town, and opens what the towns-people consider a suspicious store called Needful Things, people¿s attitudes begin to change. When eleven-year-old Brian Rusk decides to make his way into the store, he begins to think about what his mom would say to him if she found out. At first he is hesitant, but when he decides that maybe the store isn¿t so bad, he discovers that he has found what he has been searching for. Leland Gaunt has his way of wheeling and dealing, and at that moment Brain Rusk signs his soul to the devil, for one particular baseball card and doesn¿t even realize it. Polly Chalmers, a middle-aged woman with arthritis who runs the You Sew `n¿ Sew shop, decides to welcome the newcomer with a sinfully delicious cake. Little does she know the gift he is about to give her is sinful in its own way as well. She buys an amulet to relieve her arthritis and, like little Brian Rusk, she too sells her soul for something so small without realizing it. I honestly believe that this is the most exciting book I have read in a very long time. It definitely kept me wanting more. I would say this is an absolute must read. It is the type of book you never want to end.
annachristine More than 1 year ago
Good job Stephen King. Needful Things is only the second Stephen King book I've read but I am already hooked to his writing style. He is so talented! I loved how all the characters and "pranks" came together. I loved that there was a detailed back story for every character and I felt like I truly knew every resident of Castle Rock! Such a great read and I would totally recommend this to everyone I know!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very great read. Keeps you wanting to see what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting plot line. King very artfully pulls you in to the story but you have to put it down & digest what's going on before proceeding.
A-Money More than 1 year ago
Although this book may seem a little long, it is definitely worth the read! This book really brings out the dark side of Castle Rock. This book is about giving up our souls in order to fill some deep deep desire.
LookingCalifornia More than 1 year ago
To me, this story is about the devil, temptation, and corruption. An evil proprietor comes to an average small town and opens up a shop that sells your heart's desire, but for a ridiculous price that has nothing to do with money. It basically demonstrates how easily people will choose to do the wrong thing in exchange for something they want. It's a lot like the idea of someone selling their soul to the devil. In this book, there are some characters from other King books that resurface, so it might benefit a reader to check out other King books first so these characters will make more sense. I recommend reading Cujo and The Body (a shost story) first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the only Stephen King book that I really enjoyed. I think the story-line is good, especially the way all the separate elements get woven together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I knew this book was going to be great when I first got it. But I didn't know how good. I just found out that this was off the chain. And Leland Gaunt truely was the demon of all demons. He knew how to make a deal and he also knew how to manipulate you. This is a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awesome! Needful Things is one of favoites! Leland Gaunt is one of King's best villians! You gotta read it.
Brandon_Finley More than 1 year ago
During this term of the class College Prep Read and Write, I read the book Needful Things by Stephen King. Needful Things is a fiction horror novel which is written in both first and third perspective. The book revolves around a new store which opens up in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Needful Things begins from the perspective of Brian Rusk, Needful Things first customer. As the book progresses it switches to third person and follows the many different residents of Castle Rock as they become obsessed with the store. Everyone in Castle Rock has something they would like to purchase in the store, but the owner, Leland Gaunt, makes his customers work for their purchases. Instead of asking for money Leland asks for some unconventional favors. Despite seeming like a kind old man, Leland Gaunt asks his customers to do evil things to the other residents of Castle Rock. He sells Brian a prized baseball card but forces him to perform “pranks” in order to keep the card. For example, Brain gets the card for 85 cents but then he has to throw mud at his neighbor's laundry in order to keep it. The rest of the book follows the other townspeople and their beloved items. Leland Gaunt is able to manipulate the town with the items in his store and cause hatred and rivalries throughout the town. The book isn’t just about the purchasing and paying about his items, it’s also about the feuds and battles that also take place in result. Needful Things was a very fun and shocking read. When I first started I had no idea what direction it would take, and as I went on I was happy with the way it was heading. I thought the book had a very interesting and unique concept which deliveries. There were times were during the novel where my jaw dropped because something insane happened. The characters are all very unique and complex and its fun to watch them react to their crazy environment. There are also many unexpected twist in turns that are unexpected. Needful Things keeps you on the edge of your seat while still being mysterious. Just with any Stephen King book there is a lot of graphic content, whether it be sexual or violent. There are also a lot of curse words used throughout the book. If you are not comfortable with adult content I would not read this book, as the characters brutally murder each other and have sexual fantasies. I would recommend this book to whoever liked thriller and crime novels, not horror fans. The book is unsettling but it’s not scary, if you wanna read something that will keep you up read some of Stephen King’s other books not this one. If you like action novels this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, though this editions has way too many typos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Penelope77 More than 1 year ago
Stephen King is my all-time favorite author! Unfortunately, Needful Things was/is a disappointment. I am about 20 pages from the end and can not bring myself to finish the book. I continually pick it up, but after a few pages I have to put it down because I can not stay focused on it. The story is way too drawn out with too many characters, all doing the same thing. Basically it is really boring. This is the only King book that I have not enjoyed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephen King is my favorite author and I love this story!! Makes you think! TThis is a must if your on the fence about buying! Great story that hits you in the gut , because it could really happen to all of us!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a must read every year
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My sister had to really convincce me to read this book as am not a Stephen KIng fan. I am so glad I finally listened. I couldn't put it down. Great Read.