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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)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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+

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Excellent

Excellent story and Stephen king does an awesome job with narrating his own book #Audible1

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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

terrible background music

i love the book but this was a terrible recording- i couldn't figure out what the background voices were until i realized it was an overlap of audio and as others have said the music is terrible

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A
  • 2018-11-28

Destruction of a town

I really enjoyed this book. Kings narration is spot on and he gives the characters great life. I didn't overly love the sound effects that were added in the background though. Besides the bell when somebody enters the store which I found work very well. this story is very violent near the end especially when the breadth spans the entire town. I really like the premise of this book being that many of us will do a seemingly small but bad thing to get something we want. as with some other of King's stories I found that the climactic battle seen went on a little bit too long. overall though lots of connections to the rest of the King universe and very enjoyable book.

0 of 1 people found this review 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.

27 of 29 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. 🤔

27 of 30 people found this review 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.

10 of 11 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!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

19 of 22 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.

30 of 36 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Mochnacz
  • 2018-03-21

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
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful