When compared to Stephen King’s other novels, there’s simply something different about and you feel it from the time you set foot into the fictional world that King has created within the covers. It’s heavier and we’re not talking about the weight of the book. There’s something underneath the words of the novel that brings an obvious sophistication to the work that perhaps would usually be somewhat out of place within genre fiction.
Make no mistake. King has crafted a tale that is filled with horror. Yet, this isn’t simply a horror tale. It’s a love story, but within the framework of that love story happens to reside a ghost. Like The Dark Half, Misery, and Four Past Midnight’s Secret Window, Secret Garden, the protagonist of Bag of Bones, Mike Noonan, is a novelist. Unfortunately, Mike has been suffering from writer’s block since the death of his wife from a sudden aneurysm incurred while she was purchasing a pregnancy test at a local drug store four years earlier. In an attempt to overcome the block as another deadline looms above him, Mike seeks refuge at Sara Laughs, his nearly forgotten lake house in the backwoods of Maine.
Of course, it isn’t long before Mike realizes that he’s not the only one residing within the walls of Sara Laughs. As Mike falls in love with a nearby neighbor, Mattie, and her young daughter, Kyra, he discovers that ghosts might be the least of his worries when he is introduced to the character of Max Devore, Kyra’s grandfather, who will stop at nothing to gain custody of Kyra from Mattie.
As Mike falls deeper into the web of Max Devore, he discovers another chilling fact: a curse has been placed upon the people of Sara Laughs to kill their firstborn children. Realizing that Mike was destined to murder his firstborn child, he begins a deadly tango with Devore and the spirits that haunt Sara Laughs. Bag of Bones is a fully realized ghost story that harkens to the classics of Hitchcock and du Mauriers’ Rebecca (which, of course, Hitchcock also adapted into a film starring Laurence Olivier). While fans of such gore fests as Pet Semetary and Creepshow might be a bit disappointed, those who realize King’s potential of being not only a master of horror, but a classic novelist will be more than pleased with .
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