The following quote is the first part of the first paragraph. The whole paragraph is more than half a page and gives away some of the story, so here is just enough to see the style of the story.
On a hot day in August of 1994, my wife told me she was going down to the Derry Rite Aid to pick up a refill on her sinus medicine prescription - this is stuff you can buy over the counter these days, I believe. I'd finished my writing for the day and offered to pick it up for her. She said thanks, but she wanted to get a piece of fish at the supermarket next door, anyway; two birds with one stone and all of that. She blew me a kiss at me off the palm of her hand and went out. The next time I saw her, she was ...
Stephen King is a writer living in Maine and Bag of Bones is about a writer living in Maine. Despite the cheap device of making the subject of the story a writer, the book is a great read.
The book looks a bit like the usual story of a guy and a girl and a girl and a girl ..., some alive, some dead, and some undecided, then the story changes. Just when you think the story will be like The Shining, the story changes. Dreamcatcher comes to mind just before the story changes again.
Mike Noonan is the main character, Jo is his wife, and Kyra is the new love of his life. There are lots of detailed descriptions of many characters with some repetition because some of the characters share backgrounds, but most of King's writing is tight, most of the words useful and meaningful. The 660 pages are at least 600 pages of good reading, with no fluff to fill out the pages and just a little too much light stuff in the first few chapters. As a I mention somewhere else, I had to read several chapters before the book became a page turner and I think it was mainly because a lot of the characters and background were meaningless until Kyra came under threat. From that point on everything was interesting and I was trying to recall background from earlier parts of the book.
One of the things writers do that often spoils a story is to stop a story half way through a book then start another. You have the bad guy die in the first half of the book but then come alive in the second half of the book, leaving you with the unresolved question of "is he really dead?". In Bag of Bones people really do die but they do not stop being a problem when they die, which leaves the story open to a few twists. For the most part, I followed Stephen King's red herrings up the wrong path, expecting the story to go one way then finding it going another way. The story takes a while to get going and then becomes and stays a page turner. The book grabbed me at about "yellow plastic flip-flops", which is several chapters in, so go read the book at least that far before making up your mind.
If you like to read a few pages each night, note that this book has lots of pages,lots of pages per chapter, 20 each, and it is hard to break in the middle of a chapter. Allocate 20 minutes reading per night instead of 5 or 10 minutes, to finish the book in a month. From the point where I was hooked, I read for an hour per night to finish the book in a week.
Incidentally Bag of Bones was written before Dreamcatcher but many people know Dreamcatcher from the movie. Bag of Bones is way too long for a movie, in the way that Lord of the Rings was way to big for one movie, and I hope Bag of Bones is not simplified to a Dreamcatcher style movie. Film the whole book. If a studio wants to release a short version of Bag of Bones, then release the long version at the same time. You can put both versions onto the one DVD using a menu option to choose the 100 minute version or the 3 hour version.
If Bag of Bones was a movie, what would it be like? The Constant Gardener would be my first suggestion although The Constant Gardener would be the short version, at 130 minutes. If you read The Constant Gardener, the book, then watched the movie version, you know how much is missing from the movie and how much it decreases the story. I hope Bag of Bones becomes what The Constant Gardener would have been if The Constant Gardener was allowed another 30 minutes of screen time. Bring back long movies with a 10 minute intermission.