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Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story Mass Market Paperback – July 8, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Now that I've had the chance to read much more of his work, what do I think of it now?
It's still great.
This is one of his best cast of characters assembled here. Alan Pangborn, Norris Ridgewick, Henry Payton, Ace Merrill...everyone is very real-seeming and three-dimensional.
But as is often the case in good fiction, the villain steals the show. Leland Gaunt will entrance the reader as much as he did the people of Castle Rock, while simultaneously making you loathe him utterly.
This is interesting, because most of King's villains are able to evoke *some* sympathy for the reader; Randall Flagg, IT, and Tak are just a few examples. So what's the difference? Why are those three--among others--capable of being rooted for while Leland Gaunt receives only boos?
Randall Flagg, IT, and Tak only want to kill you, and they have semi-indentifiable motives. Gaunt, however, simply wants to be entertained by the carnage and chaos. He'll steal your soul and sow havoc in the same way that you or I would turn on the TV. He'll manipulate whole towns simply for his amusement. Thus it is that King does an excellent job of portraying him as a demon who deserves nothing more than absolute destruction. Overall--still great!
Needful Things is a bright spot among the post-Pet Cemetery novels. Despite the formidable length of the book, King's tale of a curio shop that caters to people's innermost desires is captivating from beginning to end. As another reviewer pointed out, the premise of the story is not exactly original--but this doesn't make Needful Things any less entertaining.
The story is set in familiar King territory: the small town of Castle Rock, Maine. SK interweaves a number of complex subplots within the dark underside of small town life. Near the climax of the tale, the story switches rapidly from one subplot to another, practically compelling you to turn the page to discover what happens next.
Although I liked Needful Things overall, there were a few points that could have been improved:
-SK once stated in an interview that he would go for the gross-out if he couldn't scare the reader outright. (I am loosely paraphrasing a very old interview here.) Many of Stephen King's earlier works contained some genuinely spooky scenes. (Who can forget the woman in the bathtub in The Shining?) However, SK's later works tend to rely increasingly on B-movie gore. Needful Things contains a few too many descriptions of blood and guts, and a couple of scatological references that could have been omitted. I'm an adult and I've read worse, so these passages don't bother me--but this isn't the kind of writing that King enthralled me with in Salem's Lot and Carrie.Read more ›
If the devil came to your town or city to destroy your community, how would he go about it? This book provides a convincing and entertaining answer to that question. Mr Gaunt is new in town, new yes but he knows the residents only too well, he knows more about them than they know, he understands their pressure points and the price of each of their souls.
The cleverness of this book is that it is so believable, the genius of Gaunts game lies in the differences between human beings, when he sets out to make one person destroy another he plans his moves exquisitely, breaking Wilma's windows seems relatively mild to the boy he selects for the job, yet to Wilma, it is calculated by Gaunt to make her homicidal with rage. Animal rights mean little (morally) to the man he selects to kill Nettie's dog, yet to the lonely, vulnerable and unstable animal lover Nettie, it turns her into a monster. Smaller misdeeds are turned into terrifyingly larger ones with great profit for the Devil Gaunt. Everyone has different values, everyone's endurance limit is different, and so like a row of dominos the town begins to lose it's mind.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite King novels. Relatable characters, a plot that propels the journey at breakneck speeds, and a bad guy that really is one bad dude.Published 6 days ago by Shawn Kummelman
Better than the movie! King never disappoints! What is your Needful Thing? The last Castle Rock tale is a good one!Published 25 days ago by Tami Jo Nix
Wow. Yet another winner. Ho many of Kings works I haven't read. I am glad I finally picked this one up. He eases you into the story. Read morePublished 26 days ago by amanda criner
This book blew me away. From the get go there was always something happening, and always a page needing to turn to answer a new question. One of Kings best works in my opinion! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alisha A.
Violence porn; some people love it, not me. There's too much of it around. I had to put it down when one character, as a 'prank', inexplicably put a corkscrew through the heart of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jinson