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21 July 2014

Needful Things
Stephen King
Publication Date

Needful Things In King's #1 bestselling book, the master of the horror genre takes readers to his famous fictional town for one final visit. A wonderful new store has opened in Castle Rock, Maine. It's a place where you can get anything your heart desires--sexual pleasure, wealth, power . . . but for a nerve-shattering price. "Ranks with King's best!"--Publishers Weekly. Full description

My Review
Stephen King back to what he does best - small town and everyday things taking a sinister turn. And we are back in the (fictional) Maine Town Castle Rock.
A new shop called 'Needful Things' has opened in Castle Rock which is being run by a charming old gentleman called Leland Gaunt. A kind of second hand shop which seems to have always exactly what however comes into the shop is looking for. A special baseball card, a special book etc. And he offers it at an incredible price for this one special customer. But, yes, you have guessed it, there is a price to pay other than in dollars and dimes. Mr Gaunt asks his customer to play tricks on other people in town. Nothing horrendous is asked of them initially. Simple pranks like throwing dirt on freshly washed laundry. But Gaunt seems to know exactly what makes people very angry, seems to know about some of the feuds and animosities in Castle Rock. And it doesn't take long for things to escalate. At the same time, Gaunt's customers start to feel strangely attached to the items they purchased in his shop. It slowly dawns on the local Sheriff that Gaunt is to blame for the utter destruction which is sweeping Castle Rock. And also … what is Gaunt, or is he even human?

Now one of the best parts for me was the ending, and it reminded me a bit of the ending to 'The Stand'. After Gaunt is about to be found out, he leaves Castle Rock. And we see him opening a similar kind shop in another town, continuing is business to bring evil.

Though this is tagged as a 'horror novel, I always slightly resist this label for many of King's works. In typical King fashion, he shows us the evil that everyday things and everyday people can bring. It is suggested on Wikipedia that this is the first book King wrote in 1991 after coming out of rehab. I personally can't see that it had any kind of impact on the story. I quite simple enjoyed it as what I would say is a typical King. For the seasoned King fan, I was also happy to find characters in this story we know from other books, and especially Ace Merrill, the bad boy from 'The Body'.

As it was often suggested, Gaunt is representative of the Devil here who has his many ways to do mischief here with us humans. For no other reason than that he can, and bringing pain is his business. It is quite simply his business to buy the human soul.