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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

What the critics say

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

What listeners say about Needful Things

Average Customer Ratings
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Previous reviews left me skeptic but was pleasantly surprised.

This is one of my favourite King books and I’m glad I gave it a listen. I was kind of skeptical based on previous reviews about the music and synth but I enjoyed it for the most part! There’s something inherently late 80s/early 90s about it and it was cool to see some characters like Ace get their own theme song so to say. I enjoyed the bell tinkling and the rock music playing at the Elvis parts made me laugh. Sometimes the music came at weird parts that made me understand why some people would feel it was unnecessary but overall not as bad as people were talking about.

There was a few mic quality issues near the end but nothing I couldn’t handle. Hearing Mr. King read it aloud was great, he’s the author so he knows the tone he wants to set for his book so it was really enjoyable overall.

4 people found this helpful

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Fantastic Narration from Stephen King

Great book, better than i remember from when i read it over a decade ago. Stephen King does an amazing job reading his work, so i will definitely check out more of his performances.

A+

3 people found this helpful

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Stephen King gives us every thing we need.

Fun, scary, creepy. King doesnt disappoint. Always cool to have the author read as well. Everything gets delivered as he wanted it to.

1 person found this helpful

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An Entertaining Listen

I read this story when it was first published, but it was just as good the second time around. It was suspenseful and hard to put down. I especially enjoyed Stephen King's narration. He really brought the characters to life.

1 person found this helpful

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Definitely not a favorite.

There are musical cues used in the audio that definately detract from the story overall.

1 person found this helpful

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A slow-burn

King builds the tension in Castle Rock beautifully. When it eventually erupts, the violence feels earned as well as entertaining. The final moments of the story feel a little anti-climatic, but overall it's a very entertaining listen!

1 person found this helpful

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loved it.

love when books are read by the author. what a treat to listen to Stephen King read this book.

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Wonderful

As per usual, Stephen King is TRULY the king of litterature. I enjoyed every bit of this story.

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Great story!

Great story here. One of Kings best that I've read/listened to so far. King does a great job of reading his own story here. Don't let the negative reviews of Kings narration scare you away. He does a fine job.
Now, on the other hand, there's the music that pops in here and there, mainly between chapters or changes of character points of view. It's super annoying and distracting. Totally unnecessary. Otherwise it's great. I recommend it for sure.

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Great + book narration from King.

Love it.
Great Narration from King (same with On Writing).
Different and darker than movie.

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  • Jess Snyder
  • 2018-11-02

Disappointing

The crappy synthesizer music completely ruined this book for me. It is abrupt, distracting and in my opinion completely unprofessional compared to the regular production value of King’s books. Not to mention the prolific scratchy static that starts about 2/3 in and continues throughout. Narration was interesting, but wish King would stick to writing and let Will Patton continue to do the reading. The story may have been great, and I may read it on paper later on, but the narration and production completely killed it for me.

46 people found this helpful

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  • Larry
  • 2018-11-23

needfull

I will be exchanging this book because the music that is played sucks and ruins listening experience.

35 people found this helpful

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  • J D
  • 2019-07-27

TERRIBLE NARRATION

Stephen King is a good writer....he is a TERRIBLE narrator. Someone at Simon and Schuster needs to man up and tell him NO. I have over 100 audio books as I spend a lot of time behind the wheel and working on equipment and the books help my day fly by. Listening to him narrate makes me want to rip out my eardrums. Monotone, no sense of voice inflection, no clue how to do voices for characters..... the list goes on. There are SO MANY talented narrators out there... just pick one. Your talent as a writer is un questionable, but as a narrator you need to leave it to the professionals. Your narration is definitely Busch league and not ready for prime time.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Andrea
  • 2016-04-23

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.

71 people found this helpful

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  • Stevie Ray Germer
  • 2019-12-15

Castle Rock....the unluckiest place on earth

So, first off...the story itself...great classic Stephen King. Not one of my favorites, but great story just the same. Lots of characters, but if you roll with it, you figure out who’s who and how they’re connected. It’s not as important in most cases WHO the characters are, but what’s happening to them and the effect the store owner Mr Gaunt has on them...and the effect they in turn have on the town. So don’t let it stress you out too much.

This actually sat in my library for months. I purchased it with one of my credits in the middle of a King binge....many of which I was re-reading, but this one I had never read.The reason I hadn’t gotten around to it was because King was narrating it. I had listened to two book narrated by King. Hearts in Atlantis and Desperation. I was less than impressed with either, but after getting used it, it’s not too bad....but just didn’t feel like having to get used to it again. But it was the only King I had left to listen to in my library, and I’d never read it...so..

It was the usual seeming monotone at first, but quickly became pretty amazing. He had SO many characters to portray, and you could tell he probably REALLY likes this story, and there is a plus side to the author narrating his own book, he knew exactly how he wanted the characters to come across, and he really got into it. And of course he’s got that Maine accent DOWN. I believe he did a wonderful job conveying the emotions...and there were tons of emotions....everybody in the Rock was losing their freaking minds. Maybe it’s because I went in with lower expectations, but it was pretty awesome. My only critique would be that his bible-thumping, fire and brimstone reverend came across sounding a little bit like a caricature of an Italian restaurant owner somehow lol....but I gave him a pass on that. For those hesitant to listen for that reason, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The music added was hokey, but not a big deal....it wasn’t like it was played that much. People can be so picky. I came for the story, and I got the story....well told

8 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher Bishop
  • 2017-06-09

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.

50 people found this helpful

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  • dori
  • 2016-03-09

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. 🤔

39 people found this helpful

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  • Sean
  • 2016-10-27

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.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Victor @ theAudiobookBlog dot com
  • 2019-05-22

Another great story from the true master of Horror

Needful Things is another great story from the amazing Stephen King. He writes books that pull you in from the first words and they don't let go until the last phrase.

This was a very immersive narative experience as the author narrates his own book and you as the listener get a priceless insight into how he sees his work. Very deep character development, a vivid world, a town with dark secrets, needy people and someone who can discover it all and take advantage of it as well.

I love these stories and this author! Just listened to four audiobooks by Stephen King in the last week and am left wanting for more.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Will & Angie
  • 2016-01-25

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!

15 people found this helpful