Lea Ann Cornman

I read a couple of Stephen King novels a few years back....Needful Things and Insomnia. I had a very hard time getting through these and frankly found them boring. I then heard great things about 11/22/63 and I read it earlier this Spring and LOVED, it. What is this one like? I have not read any older King either, Cujo, Firestarter....etc. I want to like King's novels, but I don't want to be disappointed either.

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Darren I've read everything Stephen King has written and can say, without trepidation, that Mercedes Man is NOT a book that will go down as a good example of why folks love his writing. 11/21/63 is fantastic. Had you started reading King much earlier you could have lived through the thrill and anticipation of waiting for each new serial in the original Green Mile, which had some of the same qualities of tone.

If you really want to experience Stephen King at his best though, you have to go back... Way back. For my money, "It" is the pinnacle, along with "Pet Cemetery," "The Stand," "Tommyknockers" and even stretching as far back as "Salem's Lot" (still the only book to give me nightmares). As far as his more recent work; "Duma Key" is as close as he's come to replicating his peak in the last few years.

To love Stephen King is to love a certain style and to trust that the author will deliver. Most folks who have come to his work anew in the last ten years don't have the same attachment to him/it as those of us over forty,but if you want to understand why those of us of a certain age will always buy whatever he writes, go back to the mid 70's and start there. You'll have the bejeezus scared out of you, you might cry, you'll read some of the best short story collections of one author ever printed and you'll enjoy timeless writing in multiple genre's.

I really believe that there is something for ALMOST everybody in StephenKing's work.
Pat Leblanc Haven't read this one yet - but I highly recommend The Stand. In my opinion, it is one of his best.
Reddwhine I was never a King fan until I read 11/22/63 which just blew me away. I didn't get anything else done for a week...as you know it's a loooong book but I loved every word on every page. The paranormal books that he has written are just not my cup of tea but again, Mr. Mercedes is very different and if you like mystery/police procedural type books you will like this one. I do have The Stand and one of these days I'll tackle that one since so many King fans say it is one of his best.
Ed A very superior murder mystery. No horror, but all of this author's great writing skills- character development, plot, setting description, cultural references.
Ryan Let me start out by saying that I am not a fan of Stephen King. I have read a few and tend to prefer his short stories over his novels. But I am a big fan of mysteries, so I decided to give Mr. Mercedes a try, and I thought that King did a good job with this book. It is suspenseful and kept me reading on and on. I say give it a shot, especially if you like mysteries.
Alan Braswell I heard from Stephen King that two of his worst books that he wrote were TommyKnockers and Dreamchacters.
As far as Insomnia, you have to have read the Dark Tower series to understand half of what is in Insomnia.
The ones i recommend in the older Stephen King novels are The Shining, Pet Semetary, Misery and IT.
The ones you mentioned Cujo goes on for about 100 pages with the women and her son in the car.
Firestarter is not that entertaining. You will get bored easily.
I liked the Eye of the Dragon which no one ever recommends/
Carl Jenkins I just finished it. If you liked 11/22/63 you should probably like this one. I've never really been big on crime thrillers, but this one certainly kept my attention.
Doreen Young I loved this book,,,I am an avid King reader and have been disappointed once or twice (UNder the Dome was not one of my favorites),,,but Mr. Mercedes is right up there as a hit.....I also liked Dr. Sleep another new one and an extension of The Shining...the little boy is all grown up,,,,Two great reads,,,
Mark Gillan I love em all, IT, The Stand, The Dark Half (George Stark is probably the best villain I have ever read) is a good start. Just after Sunset and Four Past Midnight are collections of short stories that give you a good insight into his range. I reckon start with the shorts, if all good, go the 3 above. Even though I'm a fanboi I'll admit I found Gerald's Game Dolores Claiborne and Insomnia a bit hard going, and the last few of the Gunslinger series he kinda got me confused. But you gotta take Mr King as a job lot. See, it's not just a book or a story, it's a volume of work, for me, a 40 year journey with all the ups and downs, in's and out's that that amount of writing, and reading, takes. I have ended up loving the lows just as much as the highs because without the lows, you just don't get the highs, and the highs are pretty bloody good. I have shivered in fright, regularly laughed out loud, and literally wriggled in excitement as well as shed a tear or two.... and he keeps it fresh, he isn't lazy, he pushes the boundaries and sometimes when you push too hard things get a bit unstuck, he experiments, he is brave enough to travel the less well travelled road, and he is strong enough to get back up again when that road leads astray....I think that's the best way to describe he's work, a journey on a big, long sometimes winding, sometime twisting road, full of wonderful, fun, brave, terrifying, uplifting, desolate and dangerous towns and people, a few stops and breaks along the way, a few blown tires and empty tanks, but ultimately, one hell of a ride.
Lois Dutton I agree with Darren and would rate this book a 3. The bookstore said Mr. Mercedes was worth reading but it took me a while to get through as there were other, better books to read.

If you want to read the best of Stephen King read The Stand, the Gunslinger series, It, Tommyknockers or The Shining. I want to read a book I can't put down and this book wasn't it.
Louanne Sluiter I don't understand how anyone could not like Mr Mercedes or the follow up in that series, Finders Keepers. Perhaps Stephen King fans expect horror novels and this series are more in the category of suspense/thriller/detective. I enjoyed them very much.
Tim Really enjoying this (reading it now) glad it is a trilogy.

You should read The Shining and Doctor Sleep. Those are Fab. I've read everything (except for the Dark Tower...tried but can't get into them).

I'm fond of Dolores Claiborne (though the companion Gerald's Game is odd...it's kind of Cujo in a bedroom...not fond of Cujo).

His best is Dead Zone. But everyone has their favorites. Depends on what you like.
Carol Read Joyland. It is a quick easy read that nevertheless showcases King's genius. Thinner, written early on as "Richard Bachman," is still one of my King favorites. I believe Needful Things and Insomnia were two of his "lesser" novels....not as good as some others. If you like longer books, The Stand is my favorite novel of all time...just brilliant, and full of terrific characters and plot. Another one of his great earlier stories is The Shining. The movie was terrible...the book was amazing!!
Dara S. I read 11/22/1963 and liked it too. I loved the movie The Green Mile. If you like the movie, the movie follows the book.
Ryan Norman This book is amazing. I loved every part of it. The rest of the series is really good too! the third book kinda doesnt rub me the right way but if youre looking for a good crime novel, this is it! Of course its not like his other better work but its for sure worth a look.
Pat C. I feel compelled to throw in my two cents worth. I went through a Stephen King phase starting about 10 years ago which began with the audiobook version of "Dreamcatcher" while commuting. I really liked it (the narrator might have had a lot to do with my enjoyment as he did a great job.) in fact I think that King's books come off particularly well in audiobook format (as long as King isn't the reader - too nasal). I also listened to "Insomnia", and "Rose Madder" and liked both and they aren't usually on 'favorites' lists. I read and loved the Dark Tower series. I think they stand up to the test of time better than some of the earlier books. I didn't think "The Stand" was that great and "It"...well there's a sexual scene towards the end that disgusted me and also it needs some serious editing. I might have liked "It" better if it had been wrapped up in 600 pages. Definitely read "The Green Mile". If you aren't much into the supernatural you might like "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon". I enjoyed "The Black House" a lot so I read it's precursor, "The Talisman" and although I liked it, I thought it was a little dated. My favorite book from the last 5 - 10 years is "Dr. Sleep" which has a character from "The Shining" but isn't precisely a follow up in that I think a person can enjoy "Dr. Sleep" without reading "The Shining" first. "The Shining" is a great and creepy book but if you've seen one of the movie versions the impact will be diluted.
Good luck with all this advice you are getting :-)
Stephanie I think there are others that are much better however everyone's taste is different. The Green Mile as suggested is a MUST READ you will surely love that one as I have not met anyone who didn't. I also recommend The Stand, it's long but the characters are wonderful and completely unforgettable. You would probably like Christine, It, Pet Cemetery.... Carrie -- there are so many to try.
Pyeathermon I like Stephen King's earlier books, the classics for him...Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, It, Misery, Gerald's Game,just name a few. I couldn't get through Dream Catcher and didn't read anything for a while. I did finish 11/22/63 and waiting to watch the Hulu mini series. By the way the movie version of The Shining didn't follow the book completely, but it still scared the heck out of my daughter.
Michael Craffey Lea, if you like dark stories, King is the man, otherwise Dean Koontz might be an author you might like. Although I tired of Koontz and went to Robin Cook, which I tired of, too.

I started reading King, first with Duma Key, terrific. I then went to the Dark Tower series started with The Wind Through the Keyhole, a novella that is book 4.5. I then read Black House the conclusion to the series. Then read Talisman, the prequel. I then started at Dark Tower, book 1 and went straight through to book 7.

I like the old stuff, Cujo (way better than the movie, shock, I know) and I read Misery recently, very good read.

Enjoy.
TAWhite If you really want to enjoy Needful Things you need to start with his early work...NT is his final nail in the coffin of Castle Rock & coming in at the close of it could just be confusing. Seeing the loss of that town takes knowing the back story better. As with the majority of these comments The Stand is his best! I also want to recommend his collections of short stories as well...there are so many nuggets of gold in them (even a few boulders of gold). I'm starting Mr. Mercedes right now & am finding it to start out better than most of his books. It takes a few chapters for King to really get going. Start from his beginning & you will really have a better understanding of his work.
Cindy Michael My favorite is THE STAND as well as 11/21/63..and IT would rank there too! I guess we all have our favorites and not-so-favorites..just a matter of preference! King does characterizations so well, especially children..so lets add THE SHINING to the list as well. And if you enjoy The Shining, then you must pick up DOCTOR SLEEP, which is a sequel. The two novels you listed of Kings, although I liked, certainly weren't his strongest by any means!
Barbara Worn I'm not a huge King fan but this was very different and a good read.
Michelle Tackabery Personally I found it to be a page-turner all the way. King has been challenging himself with different writing forms -- he has done graphic novels, ebook singles, and a pulp paperback -- and this is his try at the thriller / detective series. What else would he do but feature a retired detective and a budding serial killer? I think if you ever liked this kind of story -- like the DaVinci Code, or an Alex Cross movie -- this book will hook you right til the end.

As far as the books you've read from King, you've picked two of the worst introductions to King ever! Sorry about that. If you liked 11/22/63, I'd suggest trying IT -- the book not the TV series (ick) -- or perhaps The Shining.
Nicole "Mr Mercedes" probably falls into the category of decent King and if you enjoyed "11/22/63" you will probably also enjoy this one. Earlier, classic King seems to be very different from a lot of his more recent (last 10 years) works. I would agree that "The Stand" still represents for me his best novel to date. Be sure to read the unabridged version though if you wish to tackle it. It is > 1000 pages and still represents one of the best apocalyptic battles of good versus evil written in modern literature.

I find it surprising that a lot of people quote "Tommyknockers" as one of their favorites - it certainly was not one of mine (does not even make the top twenty). King himself has stated (most recently in a Rolling Stone interview October 2014) this represents a novel even he thinks was a dud. Personally, if you are looking to see what got folks such as myself into his novels, start with the early stuff: "Carrie", "The Dead Zone", "The Shinning", "Cujo" "Firestarter" are all great. The Bachman books (short stories) are also fantastic - these were initially written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman but King's very unique voice led readers to suspect the author's true identify long before he came clean on it. Later works such as "Misery", "Dolores Claiborne" and "It" are equally wonderful. Much to chose from though!
Jeremy Coss As someone that has been an avid reader of King and a lover of mystery novels, skip this one. There is no character development, you don't have any interest in the outcome, everything is overly predictable, and the story felt incredibly forced.
Dave The Stand is his magnum opus, for me at least - still. Other outstanding earlier SK books are IT; Salem's Lot; The Shining; The Tommyknockers; Needful Things and a few others I can't think of now.

I like the lion's share of his work, just some more than others.

I'd recommend beginning with earlier books as I noted above, see how you like 'em, and work your way up to the more modern stuff if you've enjoyed your journey so far.

Linda Lade christopher Just finished this book last week. Very good read. I also have not read a lot of Kings recent books other than 11/21/63( which was also very good. Of his older books Salems Lot was my favorite.
Shannon I read several of King's early novels, but stopped after the Tommyknockers. I recently listened to "Dr Sleep"and enjoyed it very much. Also recently read "The Long Walk" a short story he wrote under the "Richard Bauchman"pseudonym. I also liked it as well. Currently I am listening to "Mr. Mercedes". I'm still in the early stages, but it is getting better. 11/22/63 is on my list to read!
Erik Geursen I'm a big fan of Misery, The Stand, It, The Tommyknockers, although the Tommyknockers have some passages that my mind wondered of.
Pamela If you don't want to be disappointed, give Mr. Mercedes a pass. But, if you want to spend a few hours reading the type of best-seller fluff churned out by Kellerman and Patterson--you know, the cardboard characters, the uninspiring text, the obligatory twists that really aren't--then Mr. Mercedes is right up your alley.

If you want a fascinating read that will keep you up at nights reading 'just one more chapter', then do The Stand or The Shining (not the dreck that is the sequel) or (except for the ending) It.

To misquote Miss West: When King is good, he's very, very good. When he's bad, he stinks.
Philtrum If you read some of my King reviews you'll see that I loved everything King wrote up to (about) The Tommyknockers. After that, his middle section, coinciding with his well-publicised substance abuse issues, is very, very patchy. Since the turn of the Millennium, he's been a lot better, with a few duds along the way.

I thought 11.22.63 was terrific. Joyland was also very good. Under The Dome was fantastic (until the last 50 pages). Pick either of those two, or anything pre 1988. The Stand, of course, is usually highlighted as a career peak.
Jason I loved Needful Things and found Insomnia really good too. I enjoyed 11/22/63, but it wasn't close to my fave, so we seem to have opposite tastes.

Is it the less supernatural aspect of the plot that you liked? In that case, you might like Misery, Thinner, Cujo, Hearts in Atlantis, Under the Dome, and Joyland. They're a little more normal than the rest of his stuff, though the first story in HIA and the ending of UTD are pushing it. The Colorado Kid is also very normal, but I can't in good consciousness recommend it to anyone because I found it so unsatisfying. It's one of three SK books I gave a one star rating. (The others are From a Buick 8 and The Talisman which aren't normal at all). Hope this helps.
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