This is the last of the Stephen King novels that came out when I was a kid. I think the ones that I haven’t read yet past this one, I was at least in college for, and will get to those eventually. But I specifically remember my older brother going out and getting this one, and bringing it home, and the large hardback book, with the dark cover with the shop window lighted on it. It’s also a movie we watched together, but I hadn’t read it until now.
If you don’t know the plot, a mysterious store opens up in the town of Castle Rock called “Needful Things” and the new proprietor is a strange man named Leland Gaunt who promises to sell things that capture people’s specific and earnest desires. When they buy it, they enter into a kind of pact to commit what are called pranks against their neighbors and a small amount of cash. They also seem to be under a kind of trance, and these pranks are clearly designed to sow chaos, build tension, and lead to much larger consequences down the line. Sheriff Alan Pangborn is the only man in town who seems able to resist the allure of the shop.
Some things were interesting about it:
This book covers a lot of the ground of seasons one and two of the tv show Castle Rock, including Sheriff Pangborn, Pop Merrill, Ace Merrill, and a few other odds and ends.
It’s kind of a sequel to Cujo, The Dark Half, and The Body in both direct and indirect ways, and there might be more in there.
The ending is pretty solid and the supernatural elements of the book are in pretty good sync with the story itself
Some bad things about it:
There’s a truly embarrassing prologue and epilogue written in the style of barker luring the reader into the story and into the aftermath of the story, but it reminds so much of the opening to Aladdin, I cringed my way through it.
Some of the writing is pretty bad, and ultimately the story feels tiny and insignificant in a lot of ways.