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Candles Burning

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  786 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
A mix of magic realism and Southern gothic, this stunning collaboration between King (Survivor) and McDowell (The Elementals), who died in 1999, moves at a hypnotic pace, like an Alabama water moccasin slipping through black water.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,486)
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Leah Polcar
This review refers to the audiobook version.

4.5 for McDowell's portion/2 for King's portion -- somehow this works out to somewhere between a 2 to 2.5, whatever, don't read it

Okay, it can't be the easiest thing in the world to pick up an unfinished novel and finish it, but I deeply wonder why someone would want to? How can this possibly turn out well? I think this is the first book I have read (listened to) of this kind, so I really don't know if other endeavors of this type turned out well, bu
Jun 28, 2011 Elke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, sold, ghosts, review, womens
I read some of Tabitha King's novels as a teenager and really enjoyed them. This novel is quite different from her earlier work, which is understandable considering that the manuscript was written by another author.

Reading the book was something like a rollercoaster: from great expectations at the beginning to slow motion with only a few twists and loops in between. At the beginning I was sure I'd love this story, but my enthusiam was slowed down somewhere in the middle, where the story dragged
2.5 stars.

I have been LOVING all of the books written by Michael McDowell lately. This one was unfinished at his death, and completed by Tabitha King. While I was immediately drawn into the story, it began to get overly descriptive about one third of the way in. Yes, there were some genuinely good ideas in here, unfortunately, (at over 400 pages), I ended up feeling like the story could have EASILY been cut by at least 200 pages, and managed to keep my interest better. This one is very difficult
Dec 09, 2010 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very very disappointing. Michael Mcdowell is one of my favorite authors. I have read and re-read most of his books. This book felt so disjointed and Mrs. King's lack of skill was so clear. It was easy for a fan to pick out what was her ideas vs. the original manuscript.
Chelle Newton
Mar 13, 2011 Chelle Newton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book, but it's fairly obvious where Mr. McDowell stopped writing and Ms. King started. I have a feeling that this was not the ending that Mr. McDowell envisioned, but I think she did a good job of finishing the book. It was an interesting story, but I found that there were a few things that weren't explored quite enough or developed to the point where I could understand what the writer was trying to convey. But it did keep me interested, so I would give it a 4 out of 5. Horror is ...more
Guillermo Jiménez
Esta es una joya literaria, que me informan, gozó de mucha fama en su momento. Sí, está bueno, es una historia de vampiros; y, sí, acaban de realizar la segunda o tercera peli 'inspirada' en la novela (que a mi parecer es un filme excelente), sí, sí, y sí a todo lo que me digan, eso no le quita a Matheson ser un autor dentro y fuera de género.

En mucho tiempo no había leído una 'buena' historia, escrita con una pluma directa y concisa. Escrita con solo lo necesario, sin paja, sin añadidos, etcéte
Tabitha King is Stephen King's wife.

I've read most (if not all) of Michael McDowell's books and especially loved his Blackwater series. He definitely knows how to write creepy stuff.

I really enjoyed this book of his finished after his death by Tabitha King (Stephen King's wife). It was subtle and insidious!
Sep 19, 2010 wally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: king-mcdowell
i enjoyed this story. Calley brings to mind huck finn, in pigtails. she hears things. was reading the sundial by shirley jackson and was reminded of this one...michael mcdowell is another i need to add to the pile to read. read one other by tabitha king, the trap...

here's a quote or two from the story i liked:

to this day i have found no reason to believe that the human soul, duplicitous to is core, suddenly becomes truthful just because it comes to be divorced from a corporeal form

yeah, and so y
Jun 04, 2008 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-fiction
This was a fascinating Southern Gothic horror novel about a young girl named Callie whose father is kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. Her mother, suspected of being involved in the murder, takes off with her daughter. They end up in a strange boarding house in Pensacola, run by a mysterious woman who encourages Callie to develop her gift of speaking to "spirits." The book is written by Tabitha King and based upon an uncompleted ms by horror author Michael McDowell, who died before the book was ...more
Apr 25, 2016 Jessie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I admire the ambition of Tabitha King for taking this story on. Michael McDowell had started this novel, had passed away sadly before he could finish it, and Tabitha had decided to take on the mission of completing it with his incomplete notes and manuscript. Ambition is a good thing, but failing to complete it is not. I understand how it could be a difficult thing to attempt to do. But she decided it on her own, and I hope that her agent doesn’t bring any opportunities like this to her.

I’m not
Stacia Ahlfeld
It was ok, but that's not really descriptive. There was a lot of suspense, and I really wanted to know the secret of this book. So, I read and read and read, and I didn't want to put it down, but I got to the last 30 pages or so and realized that I had no idea what the point of this book was. In fact, I still don't really know. The mystery was solved, but by that point, I didn't really care. It wasn't a surprise. There was no major "Aha!" moment that blew my mind, which I was really coming to ex ...more
S.L. Ellis
Jul 20, 2014 S.L. Ellis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Candles Burning is a southern saga or a dark gothic begun by Michael McDowell and finished after his death by Tabitha King. I haven't read anything by Michael McDowell prior to this book (he died in 1999 and Candles Burning was published in 2011), but will most likely look for his previous works after reading this one.

I enjoyed this story a great deal and appreciated its atmosphere and setting which both become character in the book, although Calliope "Calley" Dakin is the main character. Calley
Jul 31, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book and I loved the narrator. I thought she kicked butt on this book... perfect voice. The story got off to a pretty strong start, I was immediately engaged and curious as to where the book would go. Unfortunately, by the end I was disappointed because it just didn't go much of anywhere. It's touted as a ghost story, but it didn't feel like a ghost story. It gives you a feeling that there is something otherworldly going on, but then maybe there isn't? I d ...more
This was an odd book. It felt somehow disjointed, incongruous. It started with the discrepancy between the back-cover blurb and the reviews quoted in the front:
Calliope "Calley" Dakin is no normal little girl. She hears things that maybe a little girl shouldn't hear — and knows things a little girl should never know.

Just seven when her beloved father is tortured, murdered, and dismembered by two women with no discernable motivation, Calley and her mother find themselves caught up in inexplicable
I thought this book would scare the crap out of me. The manuscript was found in McDowell's effects after he died. Apparently, I was too scared to read any of his work before. His genre is horror and while I will delve into the occasional Stephen King, somehow this guys work scared me. I picked up this book at a library book sale. I thought D would enjoy it, but somehow it worked it's way into my hands.

And I loved it.

Written from the perspective of Calley Carroll Dakin, the unfortunate daughter
K.B. Hallman
Candles Burning is a beautifully written Southern Gothic novel. As with most Southern Gothic novels, you take the least direct path from start to finish. So if you like a plot-driven novel, pass this one by. But if you want to spend a lot of time immersed in atmosphere and the psyche, this is a good book to do it with.

The plot is very simple: (1) Calley Dakin's daddy is brutally murdered and (2)everyone treats Calley like a misfit, and she'd like to know why. The POV is all Calley's but sometim
J'ai acheté ce livre pour quelques euros dans une station service (on y fait de très bonnes affaires dans ces endroits là d'ailleurs, ouvrez l’œil !), parce que j'avoue que de voir le nom KING sur la couverture, m'a grandement alléchée.

Toutefois le talent ne se transmet pas via une bague au doigt (sinon ce serait trop facile). Maintenant le livre n'est pas mauvais, loin de là, mais il manque d'un je ne sais quoi de fluide, et il reste à la fin un goût de précipitation et d'inachevé. Tabitha Kin
Lisa H.
Sep 06, 2011 Lisa H. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Note: I usually burn through a book within a couple of days. This one took me nearly 3 months, in fits and starts, between other reading. It just wasn't a good fit.
Candles Burning was completed by Tabitha King (wife of Stephen King, and a good writer in her own right), from a partial manuscript by Michael McDowell (author of a number of other mystery/Gothic/horror novels, and the screenwriter for Beetlejuice.) In some ways it reminds me of both Pat Conroy's The Princ
Dec 25, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is coauthored by Tabitha King (Steven King's wife) and Michael McDowell who left the unfinished manuscript upon his death in 1999. The narrator is a 7 year old girl who has suddenly lost her father to a horrific murder dismemberment when the family was attending a convention in New Orleans. There are multiple character storylines threaded through the book - Callie's Southern Belle mother who steps into the barely acted role of grieving widow that dotes on her son and ignores Callie; Ca ...more
Oct 22, 2008 L rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted more ghosts. That's the truth, plain and simple. Perhaps it's a seasonal thing. If scary stories are too intense for you, you shouldn't have to worry. This is more atmosphere and character than spooky.

In any event, this was a satisfying, albeit uneven, read. I don't know where McDowell left off and King picked it up, but the tone of the book is inconsistent. Calliope (and what a great name, no?) suffers abuse at damn near everyone's hands (maybe not so much the ghosts) . . . more psycho
Shannon Yarbrough
Jul 20, 2013 Shannon Yarbrough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Candles Burning was Tabitha King's last stint at novel writing, though after you read the book it's obvious that Michael McDowell had more than likely finished most of this novel before he died in 1999. I could easily find the parts that McDowell wrote over the parts that King added.

If you have read McDowell's previous work, you know he was a master of painting images in your head using words. He was so good at giving things odd descriptions, or presenting them in such a way that they were hard
Kristina Harper
Aug 17, 2013 Kristina Harper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
After reading an article about the Stephen King family recently, which made clear husband and children's complete respect for and admiration of wife Tabitha's talent for writing, I decided to find something of hers to read. I had only ever read one of her novels, One on One, and liked it, but her books way back when -- before Amazon and my discovery of the independent bookstore as a resource -- were hard to find and I never read another until now. This one caught my eye -- she didn't start this ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for May 2012 Mini-Challenge: One Particular Harbor--extra credit. Finished it just under the wire!! I very much enjoyed reading this although there were various parts thru out that kept making me think I'd read it before. But only a couple and the rest of it struck no cord at all. It was sufficiently "Kingish" to be enjoyable but I've never liked anything by Tabitha as much as I like her husband's writing.
Debora Sebelin
I had a problem with this one. The paranormal aspects felt worn down. The only creatures of the night that actually scare me are ghosts and this book didn't even made me feel unsettled. More than a paranormal book it felt like a mystery one. Despite that I wanted to know more so I kept reading until I finished it. It WAS enjoyable it just wasn't what I was expecting, it WAS creepy (at times) but not scary.
Jeanne T. Houde
Mar 03, 2016 Jeanne T. Houde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Page Turner

I've read Tabitha King before and was not a fan. This book was a revaluation. I loved this book. When I finished the Epilogue, I took a few deep breaths so that I could let the words fill my brain. The story of a young girl told by her older self was intoxicating. I hung on every word, every sound. This was a tale masterfully told.
Jan 05, 2014 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this novel ten stars, I would. It took me forever to read it because each chapter was such a surprise left-fielder. I enjoyed it like a box of truffles. I made it last forever. And in the end, the payoff was sweeter than I ever could imagine. A King and a MacDowell hybrid is sure to be over the beyond. And that it is. In droves.
Great quote from the inside: Forgiveness wracks the guilty far worse than hate ever could.

For Southern Gothic Supernatural lovers to be sure. And one las
"Credimi sulla parola Calley. Devi stare molto attenta a ciò che ami , xchè l amore si paga"
"Il perdono è una cosa terribile. Distrugge chi è colpevole più di quanto possa l odio"
Bellissimo libro
Sep 13, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't get the one star reviews. I loved this sucked me in and I read until it was done. I couldn't leave it unfinished. Granted, I've never read a Michael McDowell book, so I'm judging this book on its own merits. Engrossing with a satisfying ending.
Jul 08, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time reading a book by either of these authors. I was confused about the genre for most of the book and many questions about the story are left unanswered. It seemed a bit of a hodge-podge of ideas combined into a not-very satisfying story.
Barbara L. Trapp
Kept hearing Scout's voice.....

The farther I read in this book the more I could hear "to kill a mockingbird" and Scout' voice when Callie's narrative. Truly loved this book. Anyone hungry for some literature with meat on the bone should read it!
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Tabitha King (née Tabitha Jane Spruce) is an American author, the wife of author Stephen King and the mother of authors Joe Hill and Owen King (her daughter is Naomi King).

Tabitha King was born Tabitha Jane-Frances Spruce in Old Town, Maine. She was born to Raymond George and Sarah Jane White Spruce and is one of eight children.

Her primary education took place at St. Mary’s Grammar in Old Town, fr
More about Tabitha King...

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“The clocks had nothing to do with time but were merely instruments, the clicking and ticking of silver and gold and bronze and pinchbeck arrows, a droll and slapstick rhapsody of lies.” 0 likes
“I myself was so often hell-bound from my sinful pride that I was sinfully proud of it. Mama” 0 likes
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