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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 ›
Early on, I became engrossed in the book and really enjoyed the early exposition-King has an uncanny ability to really put you in the mind of the character and transport you into the story. Each of his principal characters seemed to be pretty well developed. Alan Pangborn, the sheriff of Castle Rock and Polly Chalmers, his arthritis-ridden girlfriend, are the central characters of a cast of literally the whole town, and they act as the backbone of the story.
Things are foul once more in Castle Rock as a new store, named "Needful Things" opens, providing would be customers the chance to own the one thing that each has always needed in their life...with prices that seem too good to believe-and they are. The owner of the shop, Leland Gaunt, accepts repayment of the many items purchased with the playing of "innocent" pranks on various members of the Castle Rock. These pranks begin to crosswire the town in destructive, and deadly, ways.
King, who claims that this is the last of his stories to be set in Castle Rock, uses this tale to tie together some of his earlier stories set in the locale. Especially interesting is the return of "Ace" Merrill, who made his debut in "The Body" (Stand By Me as it was called in it's movie format), as the one of the villans of this tale. Throughout the story though, King makes references to some of his earlier works, such as Cujo, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and does it with a subtlety that only true King fans will pick up on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was somewhat predictable and I expected a bigger ending.Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
Stephen King at his best . . . great villain . . . the fight of good vs evil . . .King seems to know what scares people and circumstances that would terrify the everyday person . . Read morePublished 28 days ago by Fred Heitz
This is a wonderful read. I just received the book and right from the beginning it is full of surprises. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cindy
King is a master at taking his readers into the minds of his characters. Books like The Shining or Pet Semetery bring you into the crazy minds of the hurting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Seeking Disciple
Great book!! I somehow missed this novel when it was published. So glad it was recommended for me on my Kindle! King at his best as always!!!Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
I really enjoyed this book. I read it during a trip to Maine. It held my attention and was very exciting!Published 1 month ago by a. ernst