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Needful Things

Written by: Stephen King
Narrated by: Stephen King
Length: 25 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (193 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people 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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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+

1 person found this helpful

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Really Good Listen

I really liked Needful Things. Though I wouldn't say it's King's best novel it's engaging and has an excellent premise. I liked the narrator's voice but didn't think it was outstanding. Overall, worth a listen but I wouldn't call it super noteworthy.

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ugh

King suffers from an incurable case of verbal diarrhea.. I accept that, but this voice and the sound effects are just awful. it sounds like he's recording at a Starbucks with all the background noise. I cant listen anymore after 15 chapters. AWFUL!

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Very good,

I've read the book a number of times and thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I love the story and the narration was great - my only complaint is that occasionally the music/sounds are a little too loud to hear the narration over it. I do enjoy the music and sounds and appreciate what they add to the story... Just take it down a few decibels when the story is being told at the same time.

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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.

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Great performance, story lacked meaning.

A great performance from the man himself, but the whole thing lacked anything meaningful for me. It was hard to care about the characters and the dialog was a little too folksy. Overall, struggled to finish.

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good book, but....

Stephen King is a great writer, and I love his books, but sadly he is not a great narrator. some of the attempts at voices are terrible. the performance is good enough, that the story is able to carry it along. but had I noticed king was reading the book, I would have chosen another.

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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.

23 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.

21 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.

55 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.

45 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.

29 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. 🤔

35 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.

9 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!

14 people found this helpful

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  • truman jones
  • 2016-09-25

A real dislike for Heartbreak Hotel

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

18 people found this helpful

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  • Kylie
  • 2016-02-16

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.

21 people found this helpful