Bag of Bones by Stephen King


10 Critic Reviews

From his mint-fresh etching of spooky rural Maine to his masterful pacing and deft handling of numerous themes...this is one of King's most accomplished novels.
-Publishers Weekly


From international bestseller Stephen King, a tale of grief, of love’s enduring bonds, and the haunting secrets of the past—the inspiration for the A&E miniseries.

Stephen King’s most gripping and unforgettable novel, Bag of Bones, is a story of grief and a lost love’s enduring bonds, of a new love haunted by the secrets of the past, of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.

Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving even four years after the sudden death of his wife, Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his word processor.

Now his nights are plagued by vivid nightmares of the house by the lake. Despite these dreams, or perhaps because of them, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs, the Noonans’ isolated summer home.

He finds his beloved Yankee town familiar on its surface, but much changed underneath—held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, who twists the very fabric of the community to his purpose: to take his three-year-old granddaughter away from her widowed young mother.

As Mike is drawn into their struggle as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here—and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

As vivid and enthralling as King’s most enduring works, Bag of Bones resonates with what Amy Tan calls “the witty and obsessive voice of King’s powerful imagination.” It’s no secret that King is our most mesmerizing storyteller. In Bag of Bones—described by Gloria Naylor as “a love story about the dark places within us all”—he proves to be one of our most moving.

About Stephen King

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Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. 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. Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and writes an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key. He makes lots of noise on Twitter under the handle @joe_hill.
Published April 6, 1999 by Scribner. 752 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Action & Adventure. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Bag of Bones
All: 10 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 4


Above average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 20 2010

The supernatural elements, largely reserved for the interracial climax, are Standard King but fairly mild. Philosophically limited but a promising artistic shift for a writer who tried something like this with 1995’s failure, Rose Madder.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Daniel Mendelsohn on Sep 27 2008 the end it can't decide whether it wants to be a serious work of literary fiction or a horror blockbuster. The result is a book that doesn't quite work as either...

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Publishers Weekly

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Aug 31 2008

From his mint-fresh etching of spooky rural Maine to his masterful pacing and deft handling of numerous themes...this is one of King's most accomplished novels.

Read Full Review of Bag of Bones | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly


Above average
Reviewed by Christina Durner on Apr 21 2011

To me, it seemed to drag in some parts and there are things that could have been left out and the story would have still been wonderful. Secondly, for being dubbed "a haunted romance" I certainly saw no romance throughout the story.

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Book Reporter

Reviewed by Marlene Taylor on Jan 21 2011

King creates a warm, likeable, believable character in Mike. You feel his nightmares. You laugh at the wry humor that King is so good at portraying through his characters.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Tom De Haven on Sep 23 2008

For all of its potboiler conventions (isolated house, mysterious rappings, damsel in distress), Bag of Bones is, hands down, King's most narratively subversive fiction.

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Suite 101

Above average
Reviewed by Janina-Monique Wildewood on Oct 08 2010

Bag of Bones is a haunting story (no pun intended), dealing in usual King style with the depths of people’s emotions, and hope rising out of the ashes. ...You can feel the characters’ emotions, right down to the mundane ones...

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SF Site

Above average
Reviewed by Pat Caven on Feb 06 2013

What I will do is complain about the lack of any real plot surprises and the suspense seems remarkably tame for the King of Horror. It was easy to see that he was trying to break free of some kind of pattern...but failed.

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Reviewed by Jim Argendeli on Sep 03 2008

...keeps you rapidly turning the pages to discover the answers. There are some red herrings and very surprising plot twists. Just when you think you know how the hand will be played, King masterfully shuffles the deck to keep you guessing.

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Reviewed by Jean Bakula on Jan 03 2012

It is a creepy story, but the plotline is clever, believable, and will leave the reader satisfied at the end. It does not have a trite, happy ending, but a realistic one...

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