This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

16 March, 2011

REVIEW: BAG OF BONES

Cover Illustration: Tom Hallman
Cover Concept: Lisa Litwack

BAG OF BONES
BY
STEPHEN KING

ISBN: 978-0-671-02423-9
Pages: 732
Publisher: Pocket Books 
Publishing Date: 22 September 1998

On the cover:

Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra's struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here - and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

   This is one of those Stephen King books that you usually won't hear about. And let's face it, most people, even those who like the horror genre, seem to have trouble coming up with titles for King's books that hasn't been filmed.
   I almost never seek out reviews of books by authors I like before buying them. And with this book I started reading it without knowing anything about it. In fact I didn't even read the flap copy (,the "On the cover:" above,) before starting it.

   King doesn't waste time pulling you into this story. By the end of page one, we know that the wife of main character Mike Noonan has died, and by the end of page two we have been told there is something mysterious connected to her death. By this time I was hooked.

   This is one of King's novels where a writer tells us his story, and this time it is done in first person. The choice of first person works very well, King uses it to really get us to know Noonan, and it certainly adds to the suspense that we get inside his head.
   King uses the first seventy or so pages to get us to know Noonan before ratchetting up the tension. For me this worked excellently, when things started to happen I was already invested in Noonan's story. And the set-up part doesn't feel boring or unnecessary.

   The central theme here is a ghost story, and it is this that gives the novel its horror aspects. But there is also much more than that. There is human drama in abundance, all excellently done by King. We get the almost obligatory small-town setting that King is the master of, and a cast of very interesting characters.
   I have trouble thinking of anything that weakens this story, and it is in my opinion worthy of a high placing on the list of good King novels. Whether you like Stephen King, ghost stories or suspenseful human drama this is a book I can heartily recommend.
   If you are a King fan, and have yet to read this, you really should make it a priority in my opinion.

I'll leave you with a great quote from the book (, found on page 102 in the edition I have read for this review):

I like people who read actual books, and not just because I once wrote them myself. Bookreaders are just as willing as anyone else to start out with the weather, but as a general rule they can actually go on from there.

Reviews: The Shining
               Four Past Midnight

Links: Stephen King  Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books)

2 comments:

  1. Nice review! I do agree with you that you don't hear enough about this one - It is a really good book.

    I "read" the book in the audio version, narrated by King himself. I highly recommend that version as well if you ever get the chance to listen....

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  2. Thanks Glinda :-)

    Haven't tried many audio-books, will make a note of this one.

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