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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 J. 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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3.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing, 11 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Bag of Bones (Kindle Edition)
SPOILERS ALERT

It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either.

Disclaimer: I don't believe in ghosts, so a book has to be pretty good to get me to suspend my disbelief.

I have a prejudice against books where the main character is a writer - it just seems a bit too Marty Stu for my liking - and this book did go on a bit towards the beginning about the mechanics of publishing. I thought we could have done without some of the conversations with the agent, who didn't turn out to play any part in the story.

Having said that, I enjoyed the story when it finally got underway and picked up a bit more pace, and I developed some sympathy for the main character, Mike Noonan.

My main criticism is that I felt the tying up of the two plots - the custody battle and the Sara haunting - was confusing and unconvincing. I struggled to follow and to understand all the detail towards the end. Timescales and generations seemed to play quite a key role but I found I couldn't grasp them or hold them in my head easily (e.g. who is who's great-grandad, what their relationship with another character is now and how that links with the other character's ancestor back then).

The ghosts I also found unconvincing. Why go to all the effort of making someone write a 120-page manuscript and then point them to a really obscure clue hidden within it by means of an even more obscure crossword-clue-like fridge magnet puzzle? Why not just write 'owls under studio' on the fridge in the first place?

The whole fridge magnets thing I thought was hugely cliched but I could have overlooked it if it had been more convincingly written. I don't feel there was any real need for Mike to see the magnets moving.

The connection between the subplots was tenuous, and characters' motivations were poorly explained in a rushed way at the end. Also, the minor characters weren't fleshed out well during the course of the book so at the denouement it was hard to care about them or find them credible as 'baddies'.

All that aside, it was 'a rip roaring yarn' that I'd enjoy on a plane or on the beach.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bag of Bones, 24 Nov 2008
By 
J. Hull (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping page turner, 7 Aug 2008
By 
brainleek007 (Bracknell) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
It's been some time since I read a Stephen King novel and this had been on the shelf unread for perhaps 3 or 4 years! I'd always enjoyed his stories and consider 'IT' to be one of the best books I've read. I wish I'd picked this up sooner!

Anyway, I finally picked this up and was very quickly gripped by the story. The plot is compelling and the details are revealed at a pace to keep interest levels high.

The plot revolves around an author who after the sudden loss of his wife suffers writers block. He moves into their other property, a house called Sara Laughs on the edge of a lake in rural Maine. Soon after, he begins to realise he is not alone in the house (he hears wailing in the night and his alphabet fridge magnets spell messages out to him) and begins to look into the circumstances surrounding his wifes death. She left a few things behind on the day she died that could maybe point to the fact she was having an affair and this plays on Mike Noonan's (the main protagonists') mind.

In town one day he unexpectedly 'rescues' a little girl, Kyra, walking in the road. The youngster is unharmed and her mother, Mattie, is soon on the scene. Mattie is a beautiful young widow who is terrified that her daughter will be taken from her by her now dead husband's tyranical and mega-rich father. Mike Noonan sees the young family for what they are - a mother and child who love each other who are being bullied by the will and the black hearted intentions of the aforementioned father, Devore.

Due to this chance meeting and the reality that this event may lead to Devore gaining amunition against Mattie to prove she's a bad mother and take custody of Kyra, Noonan agrees to help the down on their luck duo by poviding a lawyer.

This sets the scene for what comes after. The secrets of the town and it's people, reaching back generations, are gradually unravelled, shedding light on the reason for the death Mike Noonan's wife and also illuminating the festering lies and cover-ups and a curse which is still yet to be fulfilled with the deaths of many more innocents.

This is a solid story very well told as the battle develops between Devore and his creepy assistant, all set against the background of Sara Laughs and the TR (the name of the town in the story) and it's ghostly inhabitants who may or may not be trying to help Mike Noonan. The climax is shocking and left me feeling quite cold - there's definitely no neat happy ending here although there is hope.

All in all a good story and gripping page turner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long Live The King!, 18 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
There are some things in life you never forget. The first kiss, the first job, the first time you realise that maybe you won't live forever... I have to add another first to that, the first time I read a Stephen King novel. It was then that I knew I would follow this man's work through good times and bad, for better or worse... and Bag Of Bones has to be one of the best King stories yet. For anyone wanting to get a glimpse of the style of Stephen King (and perhaps also the man himself - certainly the insider information of the main character, Mike Noonan, as an Author is intriguing and keenly observed) then Bag Of Bones is as good a place to start as any. The key elements of the best of King's writing shine out of every page. From the clarity of the man's human observations, bringing his depth of insight to even minor characters - for example the cleaner, Brenda Meserve; to the emotions King can skewer with alarming accuracy in the reader's responses, from the main character. We are left feeling slightly vouyeristic, and almost uncomfortable at the personal emotions King draws from Mike Noonan's attempts deal with one of the hardest challenges of Life, in the sudden loss of his wife Johanna. We can all too readily identify with our own answering emotional responses, and suddenly sympathy becomes empathy, and while we weren't even looking, the magical trap of King the Storyteller closed tight around us, and we were on this ride until the bitter end... no getting off, not even if it did become too scary for the unwary traveller into his woven realms of darkness. There are masterful moments that are pure Stephen King. Mike's chilling 'encounter' on the cellar stairs, Bunter's Bell, the attempted murder of Mike himself in Dark Score Lake and the storm which blasts through the TR. There are also the familiar glimpses into another place that we almost recognise, and don't want to venture further into, thank you. At once, we feel at home and among friends, and abroad amongst strangers... who don't welcome tourists. Bag of Bones takes us to some very dark places within the human soul, and back to the light as only Stephen King can. If you are a fan, you'll love it, if you haven't yet read any Stephen King... well, why not see what you've missed? Long Live The King...
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3.0 out of 5 stars A touch of the old King - but not much, 6 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
A long time King fan, I had been wondering if the master had been losing his edge lately. The last few books (with a couple of noticeable exceptions) seemed to dwell more on the "God vs The Devil" factor, than creating a horror story. Bag of Bones is better, but the sheer hide-behind-a-cushion scary stuff of old is still missing. I did like the parody of the main character's life as a best-selling author. It gives us an amusing insight into the treadmill writers can find themselves on and the sheer drudgery of having to churn out a novel every year to keep publishers and agents off your back. The main plot however revolves around a house haunted by the hero's late wife and several other ghosts. We witness their ability to leave messages via fridge magnets, but I was perplexed as to why our hero treats them almost dismissively, a nuisance. The baddie however - Max Devore - is the personification of evil. The scene where he gets his assistant to attempt drown our hero by lobbing rocks at him while he's swimming in the lake IS masterful. Bag of Bones is less a horror story and more of a "whodunnit" as Mike attempts to thread together the last movements of his late wife, partly to come to terms with her death, partly because her death is directly linked the strange goings on in his house. The final showdown is based on racial prejudice and we see how a century-old series of deaths is linked to the present. Bag of Bones is a good holiday read, but don't expect to jump out of your skin.
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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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably disappointing, 9 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
Stephen King woke up one day and thought what is it that makes me a great writer? He realised it is his ability to examine complex human feelings such as fear through original and entertaining stories such as 'it' and 'The Shawshank Redemption' also his ability to writing gripping and fast paced stories and colourful, realistic characters. Realising this he then decided to write a book that didn't use any of these features and 'Bag of Bones' was the result. The style of writing of this novel is so different to other King books such as 'Needful Things' that it's hard to believe he actual wrote it. In fact I did wonder as I struggled to turn the endless pages of tedium if someone else did, perhaps his wife (I know she's a writer) and used his name to sell the book. Perhaps he was attempting to write in a different style because he realised most authors tend to write in the same way whether they like it or not and yes he has achieved that here but with disastrous results. The story is slow and dull and the characters boring and forgettable. Please don't waste your time and money on it as I did!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic production, 12 May 2001
By 
geezasid@aol.com (Wolverhampton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Paperback)
I was very impressed with this book and I'm so glad that even though Stephen has written himself into history, he continues to produce titles like this. The originality and different storylines taken made this an easy to read, well developed and quality read. Kings recent works will probably never reach the popularity and acclaim of his earlier ones. This is a great disappointment as leaving that line was 100% necessary. King would have been finished had he attempted to submit and try to write a new 'Stand' or a modern day 'Shining'. He has a new style, which benefits from experience and which doesn't feel pressurised into writing another SK classic. As with all immensely popular artists (including musicians and actors), preoccupation with living up to past success is the usual downfall. Avoiding this, King has created another deserved bestseller and it is my expectation that there are a few more years of the same to come.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a funny little man, said Strickland, 18 April 2005
By 
Mike (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bag of Bones (Hardcover)
This book isn't too horror, as King readers would know, but is mainly revolves around the supernatural. Writer Mike Noonan loses his wife Jo one day and falls into severe writer's block, ie vomiting anxiety and loss of breath. After some time he returns to his wife and his cabin at Sara Laughs, by Dark Score Lake.
Here, he discovers a terrible mystery he wishes he never came across. Ghost begin to communicate and haunt his dreams, terrofying him to near passing out.
Noonan becomes involved in a child cusdardy trial. Max Devore, a millionaire evil man, wants custatdy of his niece, Kira. The mother of Kira, Mattie Devore, can't let that happen but theres nothing she can do, until Mike Noonan helps her. Max Devore tries to have Noonan killed insanely. You wonder who the ghosts are, his wife Jo, Sara Tidwell who named the place years ago, or her son who myseriously drowned in Dark Score Lake.
Mysteries unravel throughout the book and theres one mystery afer another. The book is about one mans sadness and depression after losing a loved one. But how can you mourn that lost loved one when you find out she'd been apart of the mystery.
I don't think this book is for fans of horror, but it is for fans of Stephen King and ghosts and creepiness. Buy this book for a chilling tale twised around depression, love, friendship, death, and mystery.
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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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Bag of Bones (King Classics)
Bag of Bones (King Classics) by Stephen King (Paperback - 7 Sep 2006)
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