I must admit, even though I’m a horror fiend, I haven’t got through all of Mr King’s books yet. It’s probably worth pointing out that his books don’t always gel with me, but when they do they DO. Up until now my favourites have been Misery (one of the best books I’ve ever read), IT and The Shining. And now I’ll be adding Needful Things to my list of King favourites.
So, what’s it about and why should you read it?
When a new shop called Needful Things opens in the small town of Castle Rock, everything in the community goes to shit. The shop’s owner, sinister Mr Gaunt, is very persuasive at encouraging people to buy things for more than a monetary fee, and soon people find they are paying far more than they’d expected.
In King’s typical style of adding dark humour to any situation, Needful Things is a whole lot of fun. He expertly fleshes out a cast of village residents then goes on to create a whole spate of neighbourly rifts between them. So much so, it gets a little tense at times.
The character I ended up rooting for most was Sheriff Alan Pangbourn – as well as his girlfriend Polly. Compared to the rest of Castle Rock’s petty, conniving and generally messed up residents, Alan and Polly seem to be pretty decent people with their own sets of issues, which makes you warm to them even more.
Needful Things is a bit of a whopper at 800 pages, but it’s a fast-paced read and doesn’t lose momentum, not for a moment. Overall I’d give it five stars, because there really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it.