Book Review: Needful Things by Stephen King

Needful Things - Stephen King

“Everyone loves something for nothing…even if it costs everything.”


There was a new shop in town. Run by a stranger.

Needful Things, the sign said. The oddest name. A name that caused some gossip and speculation among the good folks of Castle Rock, Maine, while they waited for opening day.

Eleven-year-old Brian Rusk was the first customer and he got just what he wanted, a very rare 1956 Sandy Koufax baseball card. Signed. Cyndi Rose Martin was next. A Lalique vase. A perfect match for her living room decor.

Something for everyone. Something you really had to have. And always at a price you could just about afford. The cash price that is. Because there was another price. There always is when your heart’s most secret, true desire is for sale . . .


King has done it again, masterfully crafted another tale of mystery and intrigue! So much takes place in Needful Things, it’s nigh on impossible to relay all the fantastic, and noteworthy, things that occur; so, I hope you’ll take me at my word when I say, this book is definitely worth reading! Before I picked it up, I hadn’t heard much about it, it doesn’t seem to garner the same “hype” his other books do, but it should, Needful Things is seriously underrated.

The main intrigue in this book lies in the mysterious character of Mr Gaunt. Who is this character who has set up shop in Castle Rock, how is that he manages to have the items the residents most desire, and more disturbingly, why do the residents feel a wave of revulsion the first time they shake his hand?

“Needful Things is a poison place, and Mr Gaunt is a poison man.”

But once you’ve visited the shop, set your heart on something, no matter the cost, you pay the price. And we’re not talking money, were talking morals and sanity – what on earth has gotten into the good people of Castle Rock? And what is Mr Gaunt’s end game? I just can’t get over King’s brilliant character creation in this book, and every other one of his books I’ve read; the aura of wonder he created around Mr Gaunt so early on was utterly captivating.

I’d like to take a moment, and talk about my favourite character, Netitia “Nettie” Cobb – I actually can’t say much about Nettie as I don’t want to give anything away, but, I personally feel, she needed an acknowledge in my review. When you’ve discovered the character of Nettie for yourself, come and find me, so we can talk about the levels of unexpected crazy that surround this woman!

Needful Things was an all-round pleasure to read, I love the way King writes and it gets me every time when he drops some shocking information in a super casual way. You’ll find this book in the horror section but this is one of those books that’s perfect for people who “don’t read horror”, this book is definitely more thrilling than it is scary. You just never know what adventures and wonders await you when you pick up a King book, and I looking forward to continuing my journey, discovering his books.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

44 thoughts on “Book Review: Needful Things by Stephen King

    1. Thank you, I’m glad I could help you decide which one to read next! I’m reading 11/22/63 next. Which King have you really enjoyed so I know which to read sooner rather than later? (I’ve already read It and Under the Dome)


      1. I LOVED 11/22/63 (mostly – wont spoil anything though) so that’s definitely a good choice. I think my favorite might be The Long Walk, which isn’t really horror and barely thriller, it’s more just psychological tension, but it’s amazing. The Stand might be one of his best, too, and there’s a lot more to that one. I mean, I haven’t yet read a King that I WOULDNT recommend, but those I think were my favorites.

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  1. Sleeping Beauties, which he co-wrote with his son Owen, is a great read. I also loved his book of novellas called Full Dark No Stars. I’m currently making my way through his Dark Tower series. I’ve never read Needful Things, but it’s on my eventual King list. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Sleeping Beauties has been mentioned to me a few times, it must be so great to co-write a book with your son! I’ve scheduled the Dark Tower Series for 2019! There’s so many books, I’ve read three (well four, as I’ve read The Shining but I plan to re-read it), I’ve got a long way to go on my King journey, haha!

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  2. About twenty years ago I read a lot of King titles in the space of about three years. Since then none. Not because I feel I wouldn’t like his work anymore – more because I’ve got so many review commitments that I don’t indulge myself with many titles from my own personal TBR. This novel sounds like I’d really enjoy it. My favourites of his were the ones that were more creepy thriller than horror. Thanks for a great review Janel.♥

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my review. And I totally understand about overwhelming review commitments, especially if you want to tackle one of King’s bigger books. Each of his big books this year, I’ve split into 4 weekly chunks so it’s much more manageable, also we have weekly discussions on Instagram! If you’d like to join a readalong for a particular King book, just let me know 🙂

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  3. Excellent review Janel. This is the one and only Stephen King book that I’ve read, because it’s not a horror book. I really enjoyed it and I’m glad that you did too. Leland Gaunt is such an unforgettable character!

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  4. Yaaaaay Janel! So glad you enjoyed Needful Things as much as I did. You’re right, it’s definitely underrated but it’s been a while since I read it so I might have to go back and do a re-read and then talk to you about Nettie! The Long Walk is brilliance and one of his less known titles. I have it in a collection with another short book of his, Rage, that he has now banned from re-publication as it was about a school shooter. 😕

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    1. I’m still so mad at King about Nettie, haha! You’re the second person today to mention The Long Walk, will have to prioritise that one! Oh maybe I should get my hands on a copy of Rage soon as then, as it’s out of print now…

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    1. That needs no pushing, I’ve seen the film, and that was emotional as f*ck, so I have no doubt the book will be too. I’ll probably read it in July as I’m reading 11.22.63 next month 🙂

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    1. Haha, the size is definitely something too contend with when deciding what to re-read, there’s so many newly published books every day, it’s so hard to actually take the time to re-read old favourites!


  5. I haven’t heard of this King book before, but the plot is intriguing! It seems more up my alley than other King books, so now I’ll have to check it out for sure.

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  6. I don’t know why but I suddenly thought of Nettie and Wilma today and had a lazy google search. This review of Needful Things came up. I only ever read it the once and it took such a looooong time to get through as I found it to be slow and tedious… until the Nettie and Wilma chapter. Then, it just exploded. 😀
    I read quite a few King stories in the ‘90’s, most of which were really enjoyable even the Bachman books.
    Dolores Claiborne was read several times it was that good.
    Then I tried Insomnia and have never picked up a King book since. 😦

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