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Stephen King Recommends

When Stephen King isn't writing, most often he's reading. Here are 25 books the Master Storyteller recommends.

Ask Again, Yes

A Novel

Stephen King: "This is one beautiful book. I was wowed by Keane’s writing and narrative skill—and by what she knows about trouble."

 

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie NYPD cops, are neighbors in the suburbs. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come. How much can a family forgive?


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The Chill

A Novel

Stephen King: “Wow! This is one terrific horror/suspense/disaster novel. Characters you root for and a story that grips from the first page.”

 

In this terrifying thriller, a supernatural force—set in motion a century ago—threatens to devastate New York City.


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Catch-22

50th Anniversary Edition

Introduction by Christopher Buckley

Stephen King: "To my mind, there have been two great American novels in the past fifty years. Catch-22 is one of them."

 

Now a Hulu limited series starring Christopher Abbott, George Clooney, Kyle Chandler, and Hugh Laurie.

This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction; critical essays and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos; and much more.


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Dry

Stephen King: "Dry, by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman: Terrific, well-written novel about California running out of water. Couldn't put it down."

 

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.


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The Mars Room

A Novel

Stephen King: "Most literary fiction doesn't last very long. This is going to be around. It's the real deal. Jarring, horrible, compassionate, funny. BTW, Kushner reads the audio, and knocks it out of the park."

 

From twice National Book Award–nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called “the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year” (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.


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Paul Simon

The Life

Stephen King: "Every now and then––rarely!––a book casts a little light on the creative development of a gifted artist. Paul Simon: The Life is one of those few. Read it if you like Simon; read it if you want to discover how talent unfolds itself."

 

A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon’s full participation—but without his editorial control—by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn.


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Good Girl, Bad Girl

A Novel

Stephen King: "Two terrific female characters, both with secrets. Add Michael Robotham's clean prose and whipcrack pacing. The result? A book you won't be able to put down, although you may occasionally want to hide your eyes.”

From the bestselling author of The Secrets She Keeps, a fiendishly clever suspense novel about a dangerous young woman with a special ability to know when someone is lying—and the criminal psychologist who must outwit her to survive.


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The Secrets She Keeps

A Novel

Stephen King: “Two terrific female characters, both with secrets. Add Michael Robotham’s clean prose and whipcrack pacing. The result? A book you won’t be able to put down, although you may occasionally want to hide your eyes."

In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?


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The Right Side

A Novel

Stephen King: “Brilliant. Deeply felt, but totally under control. I loved it.”

In this riveting new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, a deeply damaged female soldier home from the war in Afghanistan becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl, gains an unlikely ally in a stray dog, and encounters new perils beyond the combat zone.

Dark Corners

A Novel

Stephen King: “Every aspect of Ruth Rendell’s dark art is splendidly showcased in Dark Corners. One can’t say she saved the best for last, because a great many books by Ms. Rendell and her alter ego Barbara Vine are so splendid, but it’s among the best. You won’t put it down. I loved it.”

 

“A spectacularly creepy and macabre tale” (Entertainment Weekly) of blackmail, murders both accidental and opportunistic, and of one life’s fateful unraveling—from Ruth Rendell, “one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation” (People), writing at her most mesmerizing. Rendell completed Dark Corners shortly before her death in 2015.


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The Troop

Stephen King: “The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best."

Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror.


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Darktown

A Novel

Stephen King: "A brilliant blending of crime, mystery, and American history (Atlanta, just after WWII). Terrific entertainment."

 

Award-winning author Thomas Mullen is a “wonderful architect of intersecting plotlines and unexpected answers” (The Washington Post) in this timely and provocative mystery and brilliant exploration of race, law enforcement, and justice in 1940s Atlanta.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

A Novel

Stephen King: "A darkly poetic tale...it is probably Bradbury's best work."

 

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.

You

A Novel

Stephen King: "Hypnotic and scary.”

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner, one compared to the likes of Gone GirlAmerican Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.


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Time and Again

Stephen King: “The great time-travel story.”

 

When advertising artist Si Morley is recruited to join a covert government operation exploring the possibility of time travel, he jumps at the chance to leave his 20th-century existence and step into New York City in January 1882. Aside from his thirst for adventure, he has good reason to return to the past—his friend Kate has discovered a mysterious, half-burned letter dated from that year, and Si has good reasons to want to trace its origins.


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Savages

A Novel

Stephen King: “A revelation…This is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on autoload."

 

Ben, Chon, and O are twentysomething best friends living the dream in Southern California. Together they have made a small fortune producing premium grade marijuana, a product so potent that the Mexican Baja Cartel demands a cut. When Ben and Chon refuse to back down, the cartel kidnaps O, igniting a dizzying array of high-octane negotiations and stunning plot twists as they risk everything to free her. The result is a provocative, sexy, and darkly engrossing thrill ride, an ultracontemporary love story that will leave you breathless.

Handle with Care

A Novel

Stephen King: “Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance.”

 

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs.

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