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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bag of Bones
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...
Published on 24 Nov 2008 by Mr. J. C. Hull

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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
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...
Published on 18 Feb 2000


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bag of Bones, 24 Nov 2008
By 
Mr. J. C. Hull (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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. The story is well told, nicely paced, and the ending (although some have stated is a bit of an anti-climax) is superb. I really can't understand any of the complaints with this book, but I guess each to their own. The book leaves you satisfied, with everything that needed to be answered, answered, but leaving just enough questions to make you want to read it all again. I feel quite sad in a way to have finished this book, because the character are so real, that it's easy to get tied up in the problems that surround them. Amazingly enough, the book that surpassed me previously has ended up being possily my favourite book on my shelf. I really couldn't recommend this book enough.
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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
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
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
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
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
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
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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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 "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
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. Part of this was getting over sort of a "reader's block." I just couldn't read without her there. It's hard to explain, but I wouldn't have to explain it to someone who has been there. Or to Stephen King, it seems. I was helped--and impressed--by King's detailed understanding of the pain of losing a spouse. As far as I know, he has not been through this, making his skill as a writer more impressive for his having captured it so well.

He shows us how an interrupted life creates questions and doubts. Little things found in a pocketbook or closet raise questions that would be easily answered if they could be asked. Since they can't, we worry away at them, building them into patterns of greater worry. We do something similar as we relive old discussions, regretting small things we have said or left unsaid. King weaves these themes into the fabric of his story. As I appreciated them in the story, I also understood them better in my own world. I found some peace from this understanding that I am grateful for.

I recommend diving into this book, leaving the plot summaries and literary analysis for after the fresh first reading. It's good reading whether you huddle on the couch with a paperback or plug an audio book into your ear for comfort as you trudge alone along the cold paths of the winter night. It's good reading and good writing.
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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
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
I HAVEN'T READ A STEPHEN KING NOVEL FOR A WHILE, MAINLY BECAUSE I THOUGHT HE'D LOST HIS TOUCH AND THE BOOKS BECAME TOO HARD TO BELIEVE OR BECOME INVOLVED IN. BAG OF BONES IS DIFFERENT. FROM THE FIRST PAGE, KING MADE HIS MAIN CHARACTER TOTALLY BELIEVABLE AND HIS PAIN AND INTENSE FEELINGS TOWARDS HIS WIFE AND MATTIE DEVORE WERE EXTREMELY WELL OBSERVED. THE CHARACTER OF MAX DEVORE AND THE REVELATIONS ABOUT THE PAST WERE PURE EVIL AND ALTHOUGH NOT AS TERRIFYING AS "IT", GAVE ME NIGHTMARES. FOLLOWING THIS I'LL CERTAINLY BE BUYING THE NEXT STEPHEN KING AND HOPING IT COMES UP TO THIS STANDARD.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Vengeance from beyond the Grave, 28 Dec 2007
By 
Faith Donovan (New Orleans) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
Michael Noonan is a forty-year-old novelist who can't get over the loss of his wife four years earlier. Not only is he alone, but it seems his abiltity to write passed away with his wife. Fortunately for him he's had several manuscripts hidden away and he has been putting them out year by year as if he'd just written them.

But eventually he runs out of manuscripts, then he begins having horrific nightmares about the summer home he shared with his wife in the woods of western Main on Dark Score lake. Hoping to overcome his writer's block and whatever's causing the bad dreams, he packs up and goes there.

Soon after his arrival he meets and is captivated by a three-year-old child named Kyra, who is in the middle of a custody battle between her widowed mother and her paternal grandfather, a malevolent millionaire. Mike gets involved in the case and starts to fall for Kyra's mother. And now he can write again.

By the time things come to a head, Mike finds out just how far both love and evil can reach out from beyond the grave in this spooky love story.

In "Bag of Bones" Mr. King effectively plays on our fears of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. But he also delves into what else can terrify you, like the fear of losing the one you love in this different kind of love story that is also a story of redemption and of vengeance, vengeance of the dead. It is a Stephen King novel after all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A King of a ghost story, 17 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Hardcover)
A nice ghost story with the usual King detail touches (Ralph Roberts from Insomnia gets a brief mention) that allude to the greater King World of Horror, this book is definately a good page turner, if a little anti-climatic toward the end. Certainly a better read than some of his books from the early 90's, and far better than the dismal Rose Madder, you find yourself wondering if there isn't an element of autobiography in the story (with the storing of manuscripts). I hope not. The idea of Stephen King's pen running dry would be a truly miserable one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid King, 10 May 2014
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Kindle Edition)
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. Mike later learns that she was pregnant as well at the time of her death. Trying to cope with his bereavement and his inability to write, he is drawn with visions to his summer residence 'Sarah Laughs' - a house by the lake which was named after the black singer Sarah Tidwell who had previously lived in the house. He decided to move to Sarah Laughs to see if this will heal him.

But strange things start to happen at Sarah Laughs. Mike starts writing again, but he keeps hearing a child crying in the night, and letters on the fridge start to spell out messages. He also hears stories about someone trying to drown a child at Sarah Laughs previously. And than there is the added complication when Mike meets widow Mattie and her young daughter Kyra. He is drawn to them and forms a deep friendship, but Mattie's father-in-law is a computer mogul hell bend on getting custody for Kyra.

Sarah Laughs will eventually reveal its secret to Mike - too late to prevent a murder?

Steven King in familiar territory - a writer with writers block, a recurring issue in King's novels (The Shining). In fact, there are probably more similarities with The Shining as again, here we have a house which appears possessed. A solid read, as a fan we know what to expect (strong characterisation, supernatural elements). There are no bloods/guts and for someone who has never read King, this might be a good place to start.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An author of horror novels is confronted by ghosts, 5 Oct 2007
By 
Thomas Paul (Plainview, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I used to read everything Stephen King wrote. I read Carrie when it first came out in 1974 and became an instant fan. But somewhere back in the 80's, I stopped reading his new books. I suppose that as his books grew longer and longer and my reading preferences switched to non-fiction, King was just pushed off of my reading list. But my daughter Beth enjoys a good zombie or ghost story so I thought what better author for her to read than Stephen King, one of the masters of the genre. So while Beth and I were at the bookstore picking up 'Salem's Lot and Cell: A Novel for Beth, I noticed this book. I don't like to read the the summary of a book normally found on the back because I think they give away too much of the story, but I did read the reviews and they spoke of a book that was not a typical King horror story so I decided to give it a try.

What I re-discovered is what a gifted author Stephen King is and how he can spin a yarn (to use an overused cliche). After reading 100 pages, almost nothing had happened and yet the story pulled me in as I learned more about the main character, Mike Noonan. It is very few authors who can make 700 pages seem like too short a story but King has that ability. Through foreshadowing and with characters who seem real he keeps our interest piqued. As events come to a head, the story builds and builds but the ending is somewhat of a letdown. A book that requires a 15-page epilogue to wrap things up probably could have been written a little better. But still, to keep my interest for more than 700 pages is an impressive achievement.

The story revolves around an author of horror fiction whose wife dies. He then soon discovers after finishing up his last novel that he can longer write, that when he sits in front of the computer to start a new book that he becomes physically ill. And he is having nightmares so real that he is becoming obsessed with them. Nightmares about the summer house on the lake that he hasn't been to since his wife died. His decision to finally return to the house and confront the demons of his dreams will have fateful and fatal consequences. If you are a Stephen King fan you can guess where the story is going but King still has a few surprises and twists. I won't ruin the story by telling you any more... you'll have to read it for yourself.
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Bag of Bones
Bag of Bones by Stephen King (Paperback - 6 Aug 1998)
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