Every Stephen King Novel Summarized in 140 Characters or Less


Stephen King introduced me to horror. He got me addicted to reading. I try to devour anything he writes, and most of the time, I am not left disappointed. He is my favorite writer, so obviously I felt compelled to summarize every one of his books using the character limits of Twitter. And before you say anything, don’t worry: Steve and I were recently published together in the same anthology, so now we’re BFFs.

And yes, I realize someday I will have to explain to my grandchildren why I spent an entire Sunday writing this article. I’ll worry about that when the time comes. Until then…

Carrie (1974)
The tale of a brave girl with telekinesis taking the ice water challenge during prom.

‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
A writer fights vampires.

The Shining (1977)
A writer fights his family.

Rage (1977)
Breakfast Club, but with guns.

The Stand (1978)
An overly long advertisement for Kleenex.

The Long Walk (1979)
A cautionary tale against blue balls.

The Dead Zone (1979)
Man wakes up from a coma and decides to assassinate a political figure for killing a dog.

Firestarter (1980)
A 426 page lesson about why children shouldn’t play with fire.

Roadwork (1981)
Construction workers are assholes.

Cujo (1981)
Dogs are assholes. 

The Running Man (1982)
Television producers are assholes.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
Clint Eastwood chases Johnny Cash.

Christine (1983)
Boy meets car, car and boy fall in love…

Pet Sematary (1983)

Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
Werewolves are assholes.

The Talisman (1984)
A boy and his wolf hitchhike through worlds. Nothing snarky here. I love this book so much.

Thinner (1984)
Fat people deserve to die.

It (1986)
Small town kids join together to battle evil and then celebrate by having a sewer orgy.

The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
The book that inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
Clint Eastwood rescues Jesse Pinkman.

Misery (1987)
A writer fights his #1 fan.

The Tommyknockers (1987)
A writer fights aliens.

The Dark Half (1989)
A writer fights his pseudonym.

The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
Clint Eastwood and Jesse Pinkman adopt a raccoon.

Needful Things (1991)
Materialism is evil.

Gerald’s Game (1992)
50 Shades of S.K.

Dolores Claiborne (1992)
Husbands are assholes.

Insomnia (1994)
The book that everyone always says “cured their insomnia” but in reality is actually quite good.

Rose Madder (1995)
Haha, I don’t think anybody knows what this one was about.

The Green Mile (1996)
Jesus Christ heals a prison guard’s urinary tract infection.

Desperation (1996)
Fuck the police.

The Regulators (1996)
My brother spoiled the ending of this novel when I first started it. I’ll never forgive you, Jeremy.

The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass (1997)
Clint Eastwood falls in love.

Fear Nothing (1998)
A man and his dog challenge the sun to a dance-off.

Bag of Bones (1998)
A writer fights his ghosts.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
In a shocking turn of events, a nine year-old girl joins the Boston Red Sox.

Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
People with bad fashion sense are out to kill you.

On Writing (2000)
A writer fights writer’s block.

The Plant (2000)
A writer sends a manuscr—

Dreamcatcher (2001)
Four friends battle a shit-weasel.

Black House (2001)
The story of a man who eats children and generally pisses everybody off.

From a Buick 8 (2002)
Christine 2

The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
Clint Eastwood becomes a Jedi and plays Quidditch.

Odd Thomas (2003)
The story of what happened to Haley Joel Osment’s character in The Sixth Sense once he grew up.

The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004)
Clint Eastwood and Jesse Pinkman break the fourth wall.

The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
Clint Eastwood climbs a tower and pisses a lot of people off.

The Colorado Kid (2005)
Cold case files are assholes.

Cell (2006)
Cellphones are assholes.

Lisey’s Story (2006)
A writer’s widow fights her demons.

Blaze (2007)
A man and a baby go on wild adventures together.

Duma Key (2008)
A writer painter fights depression. 

Ur (2009)

Throttle (2009)
Truck drivers are assholes.

Under the Dome (2009)
After Homer accidentally pollutes the town's water supply, Springfield is encased in a gigantic dome by the EPA.

Blockade Billy (2010)
Baseball players are assholes.

Mile 81 (2011)
Christine 3

11/22/63 (2011)
A man travels through time and punches Lee Harvey Oswald in the face.

The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)
Clint Eastwood tells a story.

Joyland (2013)
The story of a young boy with psychic abilities, a concept never before included in any other King novel.

Doctor Sleep (2013)
A writer’s son fights alcoholism.

Mr. Mercedes (2014)
An ex-cop comes out of retirement to hunt a crazy killer while declaring he is, in fact, getting too old for this shit.

Revival (2014)
The story of a preacher who challenges God to a duel.

Finders Keepers (2015)
Christine 4

And now, to close this column, I'll attempt to do the same for my own novel, which was just released earlier this week:

The Mind is a Razorblade (2014)
The story of a man who kills anybody who attempts to steal his funny bunny slippers, written by the sexiest, smartest author in the universe.

Get Stephen King Novels at Bookshop or Amazon

Max Booth III

Column by Max Booth III

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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YouAreNotASlave's picture
YouAreNotASlave from Birmingham United Kingdom September 19, 2014 - 10:02am

Nearly spat my drink out at the It one, spot on

Paul Kunath's picture
Paul Kunath September 19, 2014 - 10:10am

Odd Thomas was written by Dean Koontz. Other than that, pretty darn accurate descriptions.

Erica Henson's picture
Erica Henson from Houston, Texas is reading Rereading 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' September 19, 2014 - 10:37am

Epic. I have hiccups. 

Skygrotto's picture
Skygrotto from Southwestern Ontario is reading Europe: A History by Norman Davies September 19, 2014 - 12:44pm

All writers should be able to sum up their stories/novels in so few words, just to prove they know what their books are about.

cshawnmcdonald's picture
cshawnmcdonald September 19, 2014 - 2:01pm

Eyes of the Dragon: "Kids, this is why we don't do drugs while we write,mmmmkay?"

Benjamin Martin's picture
Benjamin Martin from Portland, OR is reading ... September 19, 2014 - 2:44pm

Rose Madder:
Husbands are real assholes.

Rebecca Ingalls's picture
Rebecca Ingalls September 19, 2014 - 2:44pm

I'm pretty sure SK didn't write Odd Thomas. Is this a King/Koontz joke?

Bret Fowler's picture
Bret Fowler September 19, 2014 - 2:57pm

Any particular reason why there's an image of a Koontz book mixed in there? 

Alison Smart's picture
Alison Smart September 19, 2014 - 3:54pm

Stephen King didn't write Odd Thomas

Cynthia Grey Tolbert's picture
Cynthia Grey Tolbert September 19, 2014 - 4:00pm

Stephen King did not write Odd Thomas or Fear Nothing, So let's try to be bettert at your job.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books September 19, 2014 - 4:01pm

Stephen King did not write Odd Thomas or Fear Nothing, So let's try to be bettert at your job.

Let's try to be better at humor (and spelling).

Hoosier Max's picture
Hoosier Max September 19, 2014 - 4:03pm

This was great, Max. 

Malissa Wheeler Littleton's picture
Malissa Wheeler... September 19, 2014 - 4:10pm

The writer of this article is an asshole. You aren't as clever or acurate as you think you are. Also, as others have pointed out, Fear Nothing and Odd Thomas are by Dean Koontz. 

Samantha Chauvin McKee's picture
Samantha Chauvi... September 19, 2014 - 4:10pm

HEY! You apparently made a mistake. If you didn't catch it in the other 6 comments as well as I'm sure the HUNDREDS that are going to be after this one. Just making sure you know. PS-Epic. Clint Eastwood and Jesse Pinkman adopt a raccoon. HI-larious.

justforthis's picture
justforthis September 19, 2014 - 4:11pm

Rename this to add a simple "badly" before "summarized"

Andrea Burke's picture
Andrea Burke September 19, 2014 - 4:12pm

You forgot DANSE MACABRE...other than that well done!

Paula Shablo's picture
Paula Shablo September 19, 2014 - 4:12pm

Why are "Odd Thomas" and "Fear Nothing" included in this list? Dean Koontz is not Stephen King.

Otherwise, clever!

Sara Manchester's picture
Sara Manchester September 19, 2014 - 4:22pm

Did you publish this on 9/19 on purpose?

Jeff Hicks Anderson's picture
Jeff Hicks Anderson September 19, 2014 - 4:29pm

Looking forward to reading all the other comments that feel the need to 'splain that King didn't write those Kootz novels, but even more so... your explanation. :-)  I loved the article. 


Becky Farrell's picture
Becky Farrell September 19, 2014 - 4:30pm

Pretty accurate except for the fact that Dean Koontz wrote the Odd Thomas series

Mary Melton's picture
Mary Melton September 19, 2014 - 4:33pm

The Creep Factor of 'Thinner' and 'Pet Sematary', on a scale of 1 to 10, is Nine, in my opinion. 'Salem's Lot' is an Eleven or Twelve-the book and the movie. 'The Long Walk' is my favorite.

kinglegu9's picture
kinglegu9 September 19, 2014 - 4:58pm

On Writing is not a novel (please look up definitions before writing articles). If you insist on including it, change "novels" to "books" and add Danse Macabre, also not a novel. 

dmciver's picture
dmciver September 19, 2014 - 4:45pm

Funny. But at least two of these books are by Dean Koontz - Odd Thomas and Fear Nothing.

David Ploss's picture
David Ploss September 20, 2014 - 3:58pm

[redacted] waste. Of. Time.

Jamilah Cooper's picture
Jamilah Cooper September 19, 2014 - 5:15pm

This is hilarious! But You forgot the stories from Four Past Midnight. And it's been rumored that King ghost wrote for Koontz, is that what you're implying here by posting Koontz summaries? 

Kim Possible Payne's picture
Kim Possible Payne September 19, 2014 - 5:17pm

Odd Thomas is a Dean Koontz book.  You had me til then!


Barbara Ruiz's picture
Barbara Ruiz September 19, 2014 - 5:18pm

This one is perfect:  The Plant (2000)

A writer sends a manuscr—

Paul Michael Anderson's picture
Paul Michael An... from Virginia September 19, 2014 - 5:19pm

This conversation is too precious.  Please, keep going.

Essel Pratt's picture
Essel Pratt from Indiana is reading Too many to name September 19, 2014 - 5:24pm

This may not be the place for this.  However, I can explain the Odd Thomas reference. You see, Max and I have a love child, we call him Thomas.  Really, he is a baby that we found in the dumpster one night after slaming Jaegers and Zombie Dust.

Ayway, we name the baby Thomas.  He was quite odd.  He liked to suckle Max's nipples as I hummed the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The baby's official name was Sora Odd Thomas, but we found that anyone that knows who Sora is, is probaly a childish little bastich, so we went with Thomas. 

It was a lot of fun raising Thomas that night, but alas we sobered up.  We left him on the door step of a local monestary, only to see a news story the following day proclaiming that the babies first words were "C Ded Peple", although it could have just been gas.  Just then, sone trick or treaters appeared at the door.

Other than that, we miss the little shit.

Ms_Rose's picture
Ms_Rose September 19, 2014 - 5:24pm

I'm never going on vacation to Maine.

Emily Blanz's picture
Emily Blanz September 19, 2014 - 5:27pm

Fear Nothing and Odd Thomas were not written by Stephen king. Otherwise, this was dead on.

rollergirl's picture
rollergirl September 19, 2014 - 5:32pm

The Talisman: wolves can be very loyal friends....

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics September 19, 2014 - 5:42pm

You know what, I usually am the first to have a hissy fit about inconsequential things done by others whose jobs I covet - but other than the fact that I was beaten to it by MANY much more anal, douchey, nitwits, there's also the fact that I fouund this article hilarious, light-hearted and just fun.

To those who had a fucking kitten because they couldn't get the Koontz joke, get a damned sense of humor, stop telling others they're assholes because you take shit way too seriously, and maybe realize that your worshipful attitude toward a work of fiction - which causes you to get uber-bitchy if anyone makes a little joke at your precious holy book's expense - only succeeds in making you undatable except by the mentally infirm.

I mean, JESUS PEOPLE, I used to think I was wound too tightly, but y'all are a bunch of fucking whackamoles who make me look so laid back I'm actually Bob Marley.


Derek L Reagan's picture
Derek L Reagan September 19, 2014 - 5:44pm

You seem to be missing some other books such as Four Past Midnight, Danse Macabre, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, and Night Shift.

Jen Oney's picture
Jen Oney September 19, 2014 - 5:45pm

Joining the multitudes of "UHM, Fear Nothing and Odd Thomas are Dean Koontz."

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics September 19, 2014 - 5:49pm

*facepalm at all of you*

Marla Wickham's picture
Marla Wickham September 19, 2014 - 6:33pm

King IS Koonz!

Marla Wickham's picture
Marla Wickham September 19, 2014 - 6:34pm

King  iS Koonz...

Paul Michael Anderson's picture
Paul Michael An... from Virginia September 19, 2014 - 6:40pm

It's all a wicked ploy; Koontz is really King.  [cue gif from the opening of SCANNERS]

Erik Parshall's picture
Erik Parshall September 19, 2014 - 6:47pm

I don't really think your description for Cujo is very accurate. Maybe, "Rabies bites" "Rabies sucks"? "Boy is scared of monster in closet but should be afraid of dog."

Brian Hardin II's picture
Brian Hardin II from Memphis, TN is reading The Mind is a Razorblade by Max Booth III September 19, 2014 - 6:48pm

WOW this was funny, so sad that so many don't see the humor in what Max wrote.  It reminds me of the time when all the lights went out and there were mice hunting with little pieces of popcorn for shields, that time out in the mid-west.  Or was that zombies?  I always get the two mixed up. 

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres September 19, 2014 - 7:17pm

Max Booth III is a fucking idiot...Stephen King didn't write The Stand OR Carrie. Maybe somebody needs to read better more!

Lisa Gordon Delgado's picture
Lisa Gordon Delgado September 19, 2014 - 8:16pm

Umm.......if this article was about King's books then why did you also include a few by Koontz?


Katherine Stover's picture
Katherine Stover September 19, 2014 - 8:29pm

Fear Nothing and Odd Thomas are written by Dean Koontz, but I loved all of the descriptions :)


Beth Spinder's picture
Beth Spinder September 19, 2014 - 9:08pm

Ever hear of Richard Bachman? Stephen Kings first 4 novels...


ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig September 19, 2014 - 9:25pm

Funny how someone could read every King novel and miss that Dean Koontz thing, eh, commenters? 

Robert Shane Wilson's picture
Robert Shane Wilson September 19, 2014 - 9:47pm

Hey!!! Stephen KiNg didnt right Teh MiNd is a Razorplade! That's was Koontzt! Get you're facts right, dumb Assss!

Teresa Hainline-Hall's picture
Teresa Hainline-Hall September 19, 2014 - 10:03pm

Much if it is spot on. And those that took it too seriously, lighten up a little. Thanks for the smile!

Annette Parr-Melton's picture
Annette Parr-Melton September 19, 2014 - 10:07pm

Where's Night Flyer, Everything's Eventual, Silver Bullet, The Mist, Maximum Overdrive, Graveyard Shift, Sleepwalkers, Children of the Corn, The Mangler, Cat's Eye, Rose Red and Storm of the Century, etc.. or do short stories and screenplays not count, but books by someone else does?

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading currently too many to list September 19, 2014 - 10:38pm

This is awesome. Gave me a good laugh. The comment section, however, made me want to slam my head into my desk. Repeatedly.