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Needful Things

Narrated by: Stephen King
Length: 25 hrs and 10 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (186 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1991 Stephen King (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A sophisticated literary craftsman . . . his work anatomises . . . the social fabric of small-town American life." ( Observer)

What listeners say about Needful Things

Average Customer Ratings
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Very intriguing

It is an interesting story although a bit dragged out and really no final explanation at the end as to why but fantastic narrating

3 people found this helpful

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Really wanted to like it.

Needful things has been given to me to read by a friend who LOVED it. It’s always one of every King fans fave when you talk to them. I never got around to reading it. I got so excited when I saw it on audible and it was narrated by the man himself, Stephen King. The story was alright, not my fave King story but ok. However I HATED his narration. I hated the way he read his own book and the worst part was the strange sound effects and the corny 80’s music that was louder than the actual narration at points and usually at the beginning or end of a chapter when you really should be able to hear what’s being read. Such a shame but the production killed this book for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MK
  • 08-07-2018

Please use a professional narrator

Huge fan of King books and so excited to be rediscovering them on Audible but after amazing narration by Mueller, Patton etc, listening to Stephen King reading is like nails on a chalkboard. Flat nasal delivery, every word with an ‘L’ in it sounds like ‘ngl’ and the music often completely undermines the mood. (The music or whatever it was on Insomnia was awful). But the stories are always absolutely fantastic, I just have to avoid any he narrates.

2 people found this helpful

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A must for King fans

A classic good vs evil story and how desire can be manipulated towards a desired end. Very enjoyable and read by King. Ties in elements of other novels in the King Universe (Cujo, The Dark Half, and The Dead Zone).

2 people found this helpful

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Great except the sound effects.

I'm not a fan of sound effects and music through audiobooks. It wakes me up after setting the sleep timer and drifting off. Great book though. I'm a fan Stephen King's writing. I'd read this as a kid and enjoyed hearing it again now.

1 person found this helpful

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another banger

at first I was a bit worried as I've seen parodies but man did it deliver!

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Good Story!!!

I found it hard to start this story but really enjoyed it once I got into it. Great to hear the author reading his own work.

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Needful Things Stephen King

I love this book hadnt read it in Years but to have Stephen write and read Needful Things Thank you Stephen ..you gave it a personal touch a double whammy..

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A master storyteller delivers again.

This intriguing story delivers a Pantheon of new characters just as wonderful and awful as only Stephen King can create. A gripping yarn from start to finish.

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Love it!

Stephen King has done it again!! Another stellar story, loved it! Well worth the read/listen.

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  • Billy
  • 20-04-2016

Great Book and narration

Great story and wonderful narration from the author. The only thing out of place is the music. Totally unnecessary. Still worth a listen though!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nikki
  • 25-01-2014

Why ?

What did you like best about Needful Things? What did you like least?

What is WITH the random music ? I'm really not liking it !

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

No loud unexpected music !

What aspect of Stephen King’s performance would you have changed?

The music

Was Needful Things worth the listening time?

I'm sure the story is worthy of the master wordsmith that is Stephen King but I just can't concentrate on it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Toni
  • 09-10-2012

Hang in there.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not bad, at first it took some time for me to get used to Stephen King's raspy voice, I am not always a fan of Authors reading their own work, just because you can write dosn't mean you should read it. However, once through that it was ok.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The characters, I always like Kings mix of busy characters coming and going and their individual lives within the story. As usual I am finding all this effort goes into the story and characters yet the ends don't seem to hold or produce the impact I expected.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The use of Raul Esparza [Narrator for Under the Dome] may have been a better choice than the Author himself.

Could you see Needful Things being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

This book was made into a movie in the 80's I believe.

Any additional comments?

All in all an ok book to listen to, just allow yourself to get beyond Mr King's rough voice.
Enjoy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • sally earl
  • 23-09-2020

Another spell binder from mr king

I read lots of reviews before listening to this book and was a bit worried about the comments on the music. Have no fear. The music is appropriate and fits in wonderfully. As for Mr King narrating the book. I love it. He does it best of all. The story was very clever and I enjoyed every bit of this book.

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  • Suzanne Beacroft
  • 26-05-2020

Rivetting!!

This is a " can't put it down" kind of book. Fast moving plot with believable characters. Great read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-09-2019

Superb

Superb book. No one knows a book like it’s author, Stephen Kings delivery is excellent.

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  • Karl
  • 26-03-2019

Simply great

While Mr King might arguably not have the best voice for audiobook narration, there’s something very special (to me any way) hearing the author read his own tale. More so, Mr King’s voice, particularly when narrating Leland Gaunt, took on a slight Vincent Price tone, which I loved. I devoured this book, finding reasons to keep my headphones in for longer each day. Some reviews also lambasted the music, though I found it helped the story - each key character had his own theme - which helped me keep track as to who was being featured, particularly when the story jumped from character to character. After giving this a listen, my next step is to look up the movie version, with Ed Harris.

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  • Fen
  • 17-03-2016

Typical early King quality, poor performance

Why did King narrate this himself? How on earth has he been allowed to narrate 3 (that I know of) of his books? He really needs to stick to the writing, at which he's brilliant. As a narrator... Let's just say I don't think he'd make a living if that was his day job. Good story, but perhaps not up to the awesome standard of most of the work he's produced in the last few years, but hard to recommend in terms of this recording because of his boring, toneless and dreary delivery.

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  • kobus slabbert
  • 31-10-2015

Needful things

The best reader I hat the pleasure listening to.
The best writer.
I only rate books with stars and don't write a review.
This is my first review. It was so good I must say something.

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  • jo
  • 09-08-2015

Wonderfully compelling

Would you listen to Needful Things again? Why?

I would listen to this over and over. This book keeps you entranced from beginning to end. This was the second book of Stephen King's I have read and it will not be last.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • T. Norman
  • 19-09-2012

On the whole, good...

I have nearly finished this story, and have to say how good it has been. It's really enjoyable to hear the author reading the characters, as they will use the accents they imagined at the point of writing.

But, the music and sound effects interspersed throughout the reading are very off putting and don't really add anything to the atmosphere, but rather puncture it just at a point where I'd found myself lost in the importance of the events.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Caroline
  • 23-12-2012

usual Stepehn King

Any fans on Mr King, will enjoy his usual style of writing, he brings each character to life in his own special way, and this book is no different.



The story is great and I found myself waiting for the ring of the shop bell to see who was going in to buy something " needful". I found that the reading by the author added to the book and he little bits of music and the jingling of the door bell also added to the whole experience.



So why only 4 stars...the ending. I do find a lot of stephen King books have a bit of a let down with the ending. It was not a bad ending, it was such a good and gripping tale that I was expecting something a little more. Having said that, dont let it put you off the book, it is a superb read.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Mike from Bury
  • 21-07-2017

Narrated by the author

Perfect! Stephen King knows his characters and their inner voices better than anyone else could! You get the full 3D version here!!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 15-11-2012

Naff ending

Reminiscent of Salem's Lot in that an old guy opens a shop in a quaint town and is not all he seems. The residents find themselves buying items they feel they 'need' and go to extremes to keep them.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Debbie
  • 26-10-2012

Very engrossing

This was my second Stephen King novel and I am now a fan of his. This story is creepy and kept you wondering what each character was up to but to me the best thing about the novel was the way commercialism is portrayed. What would you do for the object you have always wanted? If you are a character in this novel the answer is a lot.

I'd highly recommend this novel if only to question if anything you own is "needful".

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jules T
  • 19-04-2017

Really enjoyed

As it is read by the author you know the story is being told as intended to be.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrsmcnair
  • 10-02-2017

Rereading an old favourite

Rereading in a fashion, as this is the first time I've listened to the audio version. An added bonus was that it is read by the author, and that gives it a special feeling. There's nothing not to enjoy about this book.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carrie
  • 15-02-2014

Mr King is not an actor

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I think this book should have been read by an actor as Stephen Kings voice is enough to send you to sleep. A real shame as I love his books.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Drone drone drone

7 people found this helpful

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  • Benjamin Wearden
  • 22-08-2020

The music ruins it massively.

Overall, Needful Things is a fantastic book. Hell, it’s SK, what more can we expect? However, the one thing that lets this audiobook down is the excessive use of music during the opening scenes. There have been times when I’ve actually been unable to hear the story because for some reason, there is ‘atmospheric’ music playing in the background. If the music played for 10/15 seconds at the most, it’d be bearable. But no, you’re talking about 5 minutes of music playing OVER the narration. Why? Please someone, why?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-06-2020

why ?

the music was terrible there was even a slow xmas carol at 1 point . and during a gruesome scene when there was knifes and a cleaver involved u couldn't hear the narration for the stupid music. there was static noises throughout the recording aswell

1 person found this helpful