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Bag of Bones [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Aug 1998
When Mike Noonan's wife dies, he is drawn to their summer home in the town of Sara Laughs. He finds the town in the grip of millionaire Max Devore, who is hell-bent on getting custody of his deceased son's child. Kyra and her mother turn to Mike for help, but there are sinister forces in their way.

Product details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; AirportOpen market ed edition (6 Aug 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 0340718730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340718735
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,820,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Bag of Bones is partly inspired by Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca, but there's more than homage in this novel of horror and romance. Like du Maurier's Manderley, King's scary old place (on the shore of Maine's remote Dark Score Lake) is haunted by the late lady of the manor. There are many gory ghosts afoot though: men, women and wailing kids. The hero, a thriller novelist, stirs up hell's angry shades while investigating his wife's death. It turns out she either had a dark secret herself or was onto some dread scandal lurking in Dark Score Lake. As in King's previous book, Wizard and Glass, the fabric of reality is thin and nosy narrators are in peril of plunging right out of this world and into a rather hostile otherworld.

Bag of Bones is a writer-haunted book, too. The spirits of Herman Melville and Ray Bradbury are deeply felt, and so are the tale's two romances (the hero muses on his marriage and falls for a young single mum with a marvellous psychic daughter). There is also good- humoured satire of the real bestseller book world--the hero complains that "the publicity process is like going to a sushi bar where you're the sushi." In its deep concerns with love, sprawling families, the writer's life, endangered children and good old-fashioned storytelling, the book resembles a John Irving novel. It is also absolutely classic Stephen King, packed with nifty turns of phrase, irreverent wit and lurid ghouls who grab you from beneath the bed while you cower under the covers. --Tim Appelo, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Accomplished...unputdownable...his mesmerising best (Robert McCrum, Observer)

Splendid entertainment (Frances Fyfield, Express)

Will make perfect holiday reading (Daily Mail)

An incredibly gifted fluid that you often forget that you're reading (Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bag of Bones 24 Nov 2008
By J. Hull
I was up until midnight last night finishing off this book, which has taken me ten years since it's original release - but unfortuneatly it was one of King's books that passed me by. However, I recently decided to go through all of King's work again, starting with Carrie, and Bag of Bones was next in line. I think the reason I delayed reading this book, was because it wasn't King's typical early "horror" style of writing - but a more developed of late King style, where he incroporates more of a supernatural, psychadelic thriller atmosphere, rather than going for all out horror and gore. This, however, isn't a bad thing, and to be honest, after reading this book, I have come to realise that King's more developed style is his best--and Bag of Bones, in my oppinion, is also his best.

Never before have I felt so involved with the characters--not to the same degree as I did with this book. It follows the story of Mike Noonan, and Irish writer living in Derry, America, who's mourning the sudden death of his wife Jo. So much so, that he encounters writers block--a writers worst nightmare. After confronting his fears of returning to his holiday home where they shared so many wonderful memories together, Mike encounters a young woman called Mattie, and her three year old daughter Kyra. Ironically enough, Mattie has problems of her own, after the death of her husband, now her extremely wealthy father-in-law is seeking custody of Kyra claiming that Mattie is not fit to be a mother. And so, the story unfolds as Mike gets involved with the case, and eventually finds the two girls irresistable.

Romance, horror, thriller, dark comedy--there's a lot of genres incorporated into one, and although my synopsis of the story makes it sound like a romance story, it's so much more than that.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Captivating but not one of the greats 18 Feb 2000
By A Customer
I thought this would be another top class gruesome horror but I realised last week that I was 2/3 the way through the book and nothing gruesome had happened compared to a lot of his most horrfic scenes. i found myself disapointed but also enjoying this whole other world that king was showing me other emotions that are in the human mind, not just fear. But now fear of the unknown. i also felt it was a bit of a crime novel than a horror. DON'T buy this if you want a horror novel or a classic King book but do if you want a couple of weeks on a book that will captivate and entertain you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I miss the Old Style Stephen King 24 Sep 1999
By A Customer
I have been reading SK novels for more years then I care to remember, but I have found his recent novel rather boring and hard to read. It took me months to finish 'Bag of Bones' (I could previously finish a SK novel in a day)! This novel could of been half the pages. I wish he would get back to some good old fashion writing. The Stand/IT etc. I will still carrying on reading SK hoping the old magic will come back.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 100 words on Bag of Bones 7 Jan 2009
By MrAsh
It's about a writer (no surprise) suffering from chronic writer's block. He retreats to a cabin in the woods (where else?) and battles personal demons, an evil tyrant, and a ghost. There is a love interest in the real world and his dead wife in the nether. It's classic King and I loved it. Detailed characters and enough wit, plot and surprise to maintain the pace. A meaty book, but a nimble one. Now we all know King can drop the baton towards the end, but not this time; the conclusion is honest, brave and satisfying. Definitely worth a look.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that I found hard to put down 29 Aug 1999
By A Customer
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading on Three Levels 2 Jun 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
I'll risk looking gushy and amateurish according to the standards of book reviewing (see The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing) by giving Bag of Bones 5 stars. So be it--I'll leave the literary analysis to those more qualified. I'll skip a plot summary, too, since there's a nice one-pager for this book on Wikipedia. Bag of Bones stands out from three different perspectives. If you connect with even one of them, the read is well worth your time.

First, it's a solid ghost story. The protagonist, Mike Noonan, begins by dealing with events in the natural world. Chief among them are his writer's block and the aching absence of his late wife. He gradually encounters the supernatural. We marshal our courage with him as he meets frightening people, both alive and dead. He has to figure out what to believe and who to trust. And we have to figure out the nuts and bolts of the author's supernatural world, what creatures inhabit it, and what they can do. What they can do to Mike--and how he can fight back.

Second, it's a typically good Stephen King story. There is a complexity in both the seen and unseen worlds that engages the reader. There are walk-on characters and passing references from his other works. These are enjoyable for experienced fans, but aren't necessary to enjoying the book or figuring out its supernatural world. There are few enough main characters that we can get to know them. And sufficiently many that the story can still go on after we lose some.

My third reaction is more personal. I read Bag of Bones about a year after my wife Lynnette passed away unexpectedly. I had gone through my numb, zombie phase and was beginning to function a bit more normally.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
no read it yet but I love Stephen King
Published 9 days ago by michelle turpie
5.0 out of 5 stars Bag of bones
Three words ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC BOOK!!!!!!! X x x x x really enjoyed this story. Kept me reading all the way through the book well done Stephen king you are shamazeballs!!!!
Published 1 month ago by kayleigh hayes
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as great as I thought it would be
I like Stephen King but I have to say, this wasn't the best book he has written! Too slow and nothing really happened until the last 50 pages.
Published 1 month ago by L4ur4
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific horror mystery!
For those readers who wish to read a Stephen King book but are put off by the horror aspect this is an ideal and riveting read. It has elements of horror, minus the blood and gore. Read more
Published 2 months ago by john
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid King
Our main protagonist, Mike Noonan, is a writer suffering severe writers block. His wife had recently died, she suffered a stroke whilst going to the shops. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Pegster
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read from the first to the last page.
Great read from the first to the last page. One of those books that makes you wish the train journey to work was 10 minutes longer.
Published 5 months ago by NealC
2.0 out of 5 stars A lethargy-inducing novel
I really struggled with `Bag of Bones' and for three quarters of the time found myself fighting lethargy and concentration. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Sarah Brown
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This is the first Stephen King I have read for about 20 years and I was really looking forward to it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by K Parks
4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King - Bag of Bones
Mike Noonan is a man grieving for the loss of his wife, in search of closure and in need of a respite from his current life he heads to the lakeside retreat he shared with his... Read more
Published 10 months ago by molko
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed both book and film
I saw the film a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it so really wanted to read the book.I thought this was a great read,far better than the film.
Published 10 months ago by takethatfan
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