Review – Bag of Bones by Stephen King

12958450Bag of Bones has been on my to-read list for quite a while and I held it in backup for a time when I needed a King fix.

Last week, I decided it was time.  It’s the Halloween season so a little ghost story seemed appropriate.  Plus, I’ve been on a mystery kick lately and this seemed to have just the right combination.

I’ve seen others list this as their favorite King.  I won’t go quite that far – my favorite is The Stand or Wizard and Glass depending on my mood that day.  But…this is most definitely a 5-star read for me.  King’s writing doesn’t work for everyone but, boy, do I love it.  I always feel like I am part of the story.  Each character and their emotions resonate.

Mike Noonan, the MC, is a writer.  Early in the novel he loses his wife unexpectedly.  What follows includes 4 years of writer’s block and celibacy.  When he decides on a change of scenery to his summerhouse he hasn’t been to since his wife died, he is drawn into a custody battle gone wrong.  He learns secrets about his family history, his wife and some people he thought were friends.  King loves to write about writers.  It’s always interesting to try to figure out (if that’s even possible) how much of himself he’s put into these characters.  Mike is a prolific writer and is able to fake his way with his publisher for 4 years because he had stockpiled manuscripts he had already written but not published.  He was the only one who knew about them so he was able to present them as ‘new’ work.  King seems to be a writer who would do this.  I’ve told my husband that I sometimes think he is a machine given the amount of output he creates.  It’s almost unbelievable.  Seriously, Stephen, how many completed books do you have in your safe deposit box?

As usual, the secondary characters are key to the story.  From Mattie, the young mother Mike helps, to the caretaker for his property.  Each one plays an integral role and even if they are only present for a few pages, you can picture them in your mind’s eye.

I remember someone telling me a while back that they didn’t read King because they felt it was all horror.  I tried to show them the error of their ways but was unsuccessful.  That saddens me.  While Bag of Bones could be considered horror (not really by me, though) or a ghost story, it really is a psychological thriller that focuses on people and what they do when things go bad.  How does Mattie handle someone trying to take her daughter from her?  Will Mike be able to fight his growing attraction to a woman who is by most accounts too young for him?  When people of a small town are threatened, who do they turn against?

Bag of Bones is excellent.  I guess that’s all I really have left to say.

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