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Publisher's Summary

Stephen King's number-one national best seller about a store where Leland Gaunt can sell you whatever your heart desires - sexual pleasure, wealth, power, or even more precious things - but not without exacting some price in return.

Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed", usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control, and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population's increasingly violent behavior.

Praised as "tremendous...wonderful...one of King's best" (Kirkus Reviews).

©1991 Stephen King (P)1991 Penguin Highbridge Audio

Critic Reviews

"A read in the tradition of The Stand." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    17

Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow Start but Good Finish

Too many characters to get my mind into in the beginning, for me, at least but the story ends up interesting, once I quit whining "I don't remember who that is" and went with the flow. I listen in the car so lots of distractions. The ending satisfied. I liked that King read it. It makes it more authentic with the vocal parts he wanted highlighted done exactly as he meant to do when he wrote it. Wonder if some folks I know have been to visit Needful Things. It would explain a lot. 🤔

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fine production

At first, I didn't care for Stephen King reading his own work but then, slowly, it grew on me. He really brought the characters to life, specifically Mr. Leland Gaunt. He also read with such conviction, making me see every image he was describing, from the mud to the the passionate embraces with Elvis to the spider. I strongly recommend this production. It's not a typical horror tale but more a twilight zone tale, which makes it somehow even more real.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fine story, good narration by the author, terrible music

The music on most audiobooks is nothing to write home about, but this one had the most obnoxious, poorly written junk I've ever heard.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A real dislike for Heartbreak Hotel

Could have done without the cheesy music/sounds. It was good to visit Castle Rock again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kylie
  • Vermont, USA
  • 02-16-16

Good story, not so good recording

Gets scratchy at about 20h 8m left. Sounds echoey throughout. The story is good but the recording is of poorer quality.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

very good book

I have read the book,seen both the theater and TV movie several times and now listened to the book. It was very well read! I love Steven King's voice. Seeing how he wrote the book, he knew how it was to be read. I couldn't wait to continue listening to it, but now that its over, I miss listening to it! I would recommend this book!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Please! No Distracting Keyboard Music

I am a die hard Stephen King fan. I hang in every word in every book. That is why I was annoyed during this reading to hear really primitive synthesizer music playing during pivotal parts of this book.

The most annoying instance was during a part in which a character was in a fugue/dream state imaging herself at an Elvis Presley concert. The music almost drowns out the narrator (a very capable Stephen King himself reads) and is so silly that there is no way to take the passage seriously.

Please get rid of this insipid unnecessary distraction.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A whizbang conclusion to King's Castle Rock!

What did you love best about Needful Things?

It takes a talented author to take a town's worth of characters and make them all unique and jump from the page. Since all the characters' actions and motives are deeply intertwined, as they are made to prank other residents in payment to Needful Things' proprietor, Leland Gaunt, it also demonstrates King's skill to manage a number of story lines in a larger narrative. This story is also a classic tale of good vs. evil, with Castle Rock mainstay, Alan Pangborn, taking on a demonic villain and some personal demons after the events of "The Dark Half."

I also found that with King's narration, it almost added a level of dark humor to the story. Sometimes, the story does border on more comedic than horrific; even the plot itself could make a really strong dark comedy novel.

The overarching themes of need vs. want, do we truly know our neighbors, and what we will do when under pressure while in possession of our hearts' desire are interwoven throughout.

If you could take any character from Needful Things out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Alan Pangborn is a stalwart character and his omnipresence in the Castle Rock series intrigues me! I think he would be an interest character to interact with. I also would love to speak with Norris Ridgewick - the unlikely hero of the story - as well as Polly Chalmers, the story's heroine and emotional center.

I'm sure a dinner with Leland Gaunt would be wonderful, but I would be afraid I would have to pay with my soul. He is richly drawn by King in the novel and moves quickly between being the friendly shop owner and the devious, angry snake oil salesman during his interactions.

Any additional comments?

If you've ever seen the movie, it is a VERY sanitized version of the book and the characters are more abundant in the novel. Some of the main threads exist, but the movie takes away some of the truly evil aspects of the story. So, get ready for a darker take if you are reading the novel after catching the movie first.

The ending was a bit weak when it comes to King books, especially with the villainy that exists in Leland Gaunt.

Also, I appreciated the other connections to Castle Rock - mention of Cujo, the events of Dark Half, etc...However, I do feel the introduction of Ace Merrill, from "Stand By Me" diverted the story a bit and seemed more like an attempt to up the page count. But, we all know that King does work to connect all of his stories!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Cheesy recording

The story was good enough, though a bit contrived. The recording was subpar: the sound effects seemed dated and a little cheesy, and the reading was only ok.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sound effects

I absolutely loved the voice actor he did an amazing job. However the sound effects I hated and the music bits didn't match or please me at all. Amazing book though. Long live the king

6 of 7 people found this review helpful