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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 (122 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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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 of 3 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An enjoyable listen

I quite enjoyed this story. King’s narration is fun, and fits the story as I believe he intended. His vocal style changes are just frequent and distinctive enough to know when individual characters are speaking. The musical score is spot on, with its distorted keyboards and jangly melodies being appealing yet at the same time eerily unsettling and shrill, much like Mr. Leland Gaunt himself.

Definitely worth a listen.

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Definitely not a favorite.

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

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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!

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Stephen Kong’s performance

It was absolutely wonderful to have Stephen King read this audio book, I felt like he really captured the way it was meant to be read, I wish he did all of his books!

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Always do what mr. Gaunt says!

Nice to listen to the author express himself.
Excellent listen with nail biting sequences. #Audible1.

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Stephen King...

... needs to narrate his books more often! I read Needful Things years ago and have completely enjoyed this audio book. I highly recommend it!

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Needful Things

The narration by King himself was fun, I've always enjoyed listening to him read. But in the grand repertoire of his novels, this was fairly middle of the pack for me. I'll remember Leland Gaunt perhaps, but the other characters not so much. The novel was a bit verbose, but I know that's not a new criticism for this novel.

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Great read by the King

good story even with the obvious twists and decision paths. some neat references to other king works.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

38 of 44 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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!

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kylie
  • Vermont, USA
  • 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.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Telephile
  • 2019-01-09

great story, poor quality audiobook

The story is gripping, of course. Stephen King always delivers in that regard. As a narrator however, I felt like he fell a bit short. Even that would be forgivable if the audio quality was crisp, but this seems to have been digitized from a damaged tape. Hiss, crackling, changes in timbre, unexplained pauses - just generally bad quality. The music is also like a bad joke, with super cheesy synths playing super cheesy theme music for different characters. I muscled through it for the story but this one really needs to be updated.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful