What do you Want Most in the World?


Needful Things by Stephen King

Title: Needful Things
Author: Stephen King
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 698 pages
Publication Details:1991 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought a secondhand copy.


A new store has opened in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. It has whatever your heart desires…if you’re willing to pay the price. In this chilling novel by one of the most potent imaginations of our time, evil is on a shopping spree and out to scare you witless.

Despite having some new releases on the list, I wanted this to be my first Horror October read…but that may have been a bit of a mistake.

I love Stephen King. I have issues with his endings a lot of the time, but no one can argue with his craftmanship or imagination. Needful Things however, was a massive struggle.

In this book, King makes a return to Castle Rock, Maine, which I first heard about from his previous novels, It (shudder) and Pet Sematary, and he’s right, I did feel like I’d been there before.

From the off, King works his magic in introducing you to a location and its inhabitants, making it feel instantly real and ominous. We meet Leland Gaunt, owner of the eponymous new shop with its mysterious name and strange products. In a small town like Castle Rock, this is understandably big news, and the townsfolk are full of gossip and speculation.

There is something for everyone in Needful Things, you just have to think about what you want most of all, and Leland Gaunt can find it. But he doesn’t want your money, he wants something else altogether…begging the question, how far will you go for the thing you want most?

I did love certain parts of this book. I loved the prologue most of all, where we get a tour of town from an anonymous narrator who gives it a sinister Carnie sort of feel. And as with most of King’s work to date, he slowly introduces a large cast of characters, all of them unique and intriguing.

But after the good start, my heart really wasn’t it. I found Needful Things so hard to get through. It probably didn’t help that I only manged to find thirty minutes at a time to read it, and that the font was so small every page seemed to take an age…and I just wanted it to speed up, or end.

A few of the characters did keep me reading though. Brian Rusk for one, and also the relationship between Alan Pangborn and Polly was interesting, but ultimately it wasn’t enough for me to love this book. I loved the idea of it, and appreciated the whole materialistic message, but it didn’t excite me, or creep me out like I was expecting.

I think this is one of those cases where I just wasn’t in the right mindset to read a slow-burning tome, so hopefully one day I’ll return to Castle Rock and have an altogether different experience. I live in hope.

unicorn rating 3

Needful Things is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Horror October: Necro-nom-nom-icon….Cookbook of the Dead by Braineater Jones


I can think of no better way to officially kick off Horror October than a visit by Braineater Jones himself. He has been kind enough to give us some pointers on how to keep those pesky undead friends of yours happy. Listen closely, it could just save your life… maybe even your un-life.

Hey there, cats and kittens. Braineater Jones here.

That’s right, a-holes. The man himself. Ever since I set up shop here in the Welcome Mat and became, well, let’s just cut through the froo-for-all and face it, a pillar of the undead community, I’ve been getting letters.

Whiny letters. Letters from old ladies, mostly, and churchy types. So far I’ve just been letting my “partner,” Alcibé the severed head, answer ’em. Which is why you haven’t seen anything back. Ha! Stupid head. It’s gettin’ to the point now though where I just want to say, “Shut up! I got crimes to solve and dames to lay.” But, you know, you can’t put that into writing in polite company. Or did I just?

Well, anyway, I finally decided to answer one of these inkeries, ’cause it’s gettin’ to the point where I can hardly even find a place to clean out my morning maggot hole in peace, what with all the fat stacks of fan mail lying around. So here’s a totally legit one:

Dear Brainsy,

You are so handsome and intelligent and above all else, tall. (Yes, I am a real twist with getaway sticks to die for and not somebody you just made up. But that’s neither here nor there.) What kind of tips do you have for caring for the recently deseized?

All My Love (and Panties, If You Want ‘Em)

Jane Rita Bones”

Good question, Jane Rita! And, may I say, well written, too.

The most important thing about caring for our kind is to feed us right. Now, the first thing to unnastan is, there’s two kinds of walking corpses: bubs and dims. Bubs like myself are thinky and drinky. But without booze, or, even with a little booze and a lot of time, we become dims. (Some people call dims “braineaters.” Yeah, like my nickname. But that’s not the kind of word you use around ladies. What? Don’t chastise me for being a hippopotamus. I’m reclaimin’ it.)

Aaaaaaaanyway, dims only want one thing: grey matter. Little inconvenient if you happen to be a breather, but kind of funny for the rest of us. Well, except when it results in pogroms. But I digest! Let’s take a look at some of the best recipes for both kinds of deadheads.


1. Raw Brain

One (1) human, preferably a child
One (1) ice cream scoop
One (1) bowl
One (1) crowbar
One (1) hacksaw

Knock the child out with the crowbar. Using the hacksaw, gently saw roughly one half-inch all around the head, being carefully to stop sawing when you pierce the bone, but before you hit the precious, precious brains. Pry the top of the skull off, using the crowbar again if necessary. With the ice cream scoop, move the brain into the bowl, being careful not to sever the spinal column. Be sure to serve warm and bloody, or dims won’t touch it. Garnish with chunks of scalp to taste.

2. Brain a la mode

(Same as above, but serve with a scoop of ice cream. Wash the scoop off first or not, depending on taste.)


1. Old Crow, Neat

One (1) bottle of Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon
One (1) lowball glass (substitute shotglass if necessary)

Pour bourbon into glass and serve.

Well, there you have it, folks! The best way to take care of the undead is to keep us fed and keep us happy, so hopefully these recipes have gone a long way towards helping you satisfy the overpowering and all-consuming bloodlust with which we live daily. Toodles and cheers!



Braineater Jones is the author of his own bestselling autobiography, available for purchase here. To share a drink with him, tweet #cheerstobraineaterjones. Otherwise you can find out more at http://manuscriptsburn.blogspot.com.

Huge thanks to the man behind the zombie, Stephen Kozeniewski! I reviewed Braineater Jones here.

Horror October: Coming Up!


It’s time to dust up your costumes and cultivate your spiderwebs, because Horror October is back.

It’s the best time of year to read all of those books you’ve been too scared to open, and curl up on the sofa to watch you favourite scary movie, so I’m dedicating a whole month to doing just that.

However, if you’re not a fan of horror, do not fret, I’m using the term quite loosely and hope that there will be something to suit everyone (it’s not like I could go a month without reading any Children’s or YA)!

Join me!

The Books

I clearly won’t get round to all of these within the month (especially considering how long it’s taking me to read Needful Things), but I’m going to give it a bloody good try.

Click on the images to for the Goodreads page

New & Upcoming Releases

Printer’s Devil Court
A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times.

Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves.

An English Ghost Story

A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside.

At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most—threatening to destroy them from the inside out.

Ice Massacre
A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.


Wakening the Crow
With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

From the TBR Shelves

Needful Things
Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little “deed,” usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population’s increasingly violent behavior.

Doll Bones
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . .

Dark Satanic Mills
Set in a near-future Britain, Dark Satanic Mills tracks a young girl’s journey from the flooded landmarks of London to the vast, scorched and abandoned hills of the north. Framed for a murder she did not commit, the innocent and beautiful Christie has no other choice but to run for her life. Both a cautionary tale and a rip-roaring road trip, Dark Satanic Mills is altogether an intelligent, captivating and thrilling ride – The Wizard of Oz for a new generation, told in exhilarating shades of light and dark.

Killer Spiders
It is 2005 in Great Britain, and an invasion of venomous spiders has hit the country. Hitchhiking’ in imported food, the spiders are able to thrive in the changing climate. At first, coverage of the attack is overlooked in favour of world events, but soon the spiders begin to take over. They cover everything they come across in gigantic webs and kill everything in sight. Their favourite food? Humans. Immune to insecticides and pesticides, the spiders multiply and take over towns and villages, spreading outwards from the London sewers. Dire consequences ensue for many residents of Great Britain as they fight to keep the killer spider epidemic under control…

Ghostly Guest Posts /Features

I have some great features and guest posts lined up – here is but a taster (in other words the ones I can remember off the top of my head/the ones that are finished and ready to go).

Necro-nom-nom-icon: Cookbook of the Dead by Braineater Jones

Ever wondered how to feed your pet zombie? Braineater Jones himself stops by to give us some tips on how to keep the undead happy.#Cheerstobraineaterjones

Revisiting Point Horror

I take a look at some of my favourite Point Horror books and see how reading them today compares.

When the 90’s Come Back to Haunt You

Kimberly G. Giarratano, author of Grunge, Gods, and Graveyards takes us back to the 90’s with a haunting Halloween playlist.

You’ve Been Here Before

Think horror, and you can’t help but think of Stephen King. I have a gander at some of the most King-esque non-King things there is. Try saying that when you’re drunk.

Forgotten Fangers

You might have missed these Vampire Movies. Shame on you!