Every Stephen King Novel Summarized in 140 Characters or Less

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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.

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Logan D Mackey's picture
Logan D Mackey September 19, 2014 - 10:54pm

Thinner:                Fat Guy Get Cursed By Gypsies, To be anorexic 
Stand By Me:        1950's kids go looking for corpse. Leeches! Kid with Gun Defeats Bully's Everybody Grows up.
Sleepwalkers:       incestuous  Catpeople
SilverBullet:          Crippled kid kills a werewolf with bottle rockets
The Shinning:       Worst Family Vacation Ever!
Cat's Eye:              Guy Trys to quit smoking, joins a cult. Then a family is tormented by a troll
Carrie:                   Daughter of a Religious fantastic has the power to open and close doors and control fire hose's, Bully's douse her in pigs blood, She then kills them.
Christian:               Guy forms romantic relationship with a car, The car then goes crazy tries to kill him.
Cujo:                      Big Dog With Rabies
It:                           Scary Clown torments kids,  They Grow up, Turn into giant spider and they kill it
The Dark Half:      Multi Personality, writer tries to kill himself
The Dead Zone:   Christopher Walker can see how people die
Dolores Claibor:   Kathy Bates kills her husband, but he deserved it.
Graveyardshift:    Giant Bat
Dreamcatcher:     Alien Ass Weasels
Firestarter:           Pre-Teen Carrie
Maximum Overdrive:  Semi Trucks become intelligent  and demand gasoline!
Green Mile:          Guy in Prison and heal people
The Shawshank redemption:   Guy framed for killing wife spends years in prison. then gets out.
Secret Window:     Johnny Debt likes corn
Pet Cemetery:       Bad advice from a new neighbor convinces a Guy Buries family on ancient Indian burial ground, they come back as zombies
Misery:                  Obsess Fan kidnaps book Author and forces him to write better books. Sledgehammer to feet says he can.
The Mist:                its just mist
The Night Fliers:    Space Goblins eat a plane
Apt Pupil:               Some Kids Neighbor is a Nazi
Children of the Corn: A Small town Cult of kids Murder their parents and worship a "Corn God" and try to kill some tourists, To Sacrifice to their "Corn God"

Kelleen Marie Thaxton's picture
Kelleen Marie T... September 19, 2014 - 11:11pm

Cycle of the Werewolf?


Christopher Nelms's picture
Christopher Nelms September 20, 2014 - 12:38am

Logan D Mackey, not only was your comment completely unfunny, you couldn't even stick to your own single rule (25 words or less).  Terrible effort.

Max...well done.  Most of these were pretty funny.

Everyone else...does anyone know who wrote Odd Thomas?

cshultz81's picture
cshultz81 from Oklahoma is reading Best Horror of the Year Volume 8 September 20, 2014 - 12:41am

If I had to guess, I'd say Max is actually getting a dig in at Dean Koontz by suggesting these novels are derivative of SK...Good books perhaps, but clearly an attempt to write like the King. The only Koontz I've read in my life is Midnight, which did feel like a King novel, though not as developed character-wise.

Amanda Bennett's picture
Amanda Bennett September 20, 2014 - 1:36am

Pretty sure the game of thrones show is
Based on A Song of Fire and Ice but ok... Hilarious otherwise.

Donna Anderson's picture
Donna Anderson September 20, 2014 - 1:45am

This --> The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)  Clint Eastwood and Jesse Pinkman adopt a raccoon.  Love it!  Only I never really thought of Oy as just a raccoon.  He's so much more than that.  

Ed Taylor's picture
Ed Taylor September 20, 2014 - 2:00am

Please tell us why you included the two Koontz books - it's killing us.

amaranthe's picture
amaranthe September 20, 2014 - 4:59am

Some of these were really good, but some bugged me. Did you even read From a Buick 8..? Not even vaguely similar to Christine in any way. Cop out. There are SO many great things you could have said about this book...

Oh, well. They can't ALL be gold. ;)

June Faramore's picture
June Faramore from Baltimore, Hon is reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Destruction of the European Jews, Haunted, Damned, In Cold Blood, Infinite Jest September 20, 2014 - 5:33am

Awesome. So many to love. DT ones are best for accuracy, as well as Eyes of the Dragon and Dreamcatcher. Which I seem to be the only person I know who liked the book. I mean, shit demons. How cool is that? Love being able to see how many amount to writer fights and how many amount to _ are assholes.

Michelle Schweinsteiger Juedes's picture
Michelle Schwei... from New Jersey is reading The Running Man September 20, 2014 - 6:34am

You people are a bunch of retards... Especially the person who asked why Nightmares and Dreamscapes wasn't on the lost. Perhaps some of you missed the part about this being a list of NOVELS. Not short stories and collections.

And obviously King didn't write Razorblades, the author of this article did.

TestGuy187's picture
TestGuy187 September 20, 2014 - 6:56am

Excellent review. Stephen King is an unimaginative, shyte author, and the only reason he sells anything is that there are unfortunately a couple million people in this world actually dumber than him. 

Alec Cizak's picture
Alec Cizak September 20, 2014 - 7:19am

Dean Koontz didn't write Tropic of Cancer.

Mitch Lavender's picture
Mitch Lavender from Fort Worth,, Texas is reading Time keeper by mitch albom September 20, 2014 - 8:23am

You read the back cover of the paperbacks and summarized it to a tweet.  Well done, you. 

Cory 'Bugsy' Goodrich's picture
Cory 'Bugsy' Go... September 20, 2014 - 9:30am

I can't get over "Clint Eastwood rescues Jesse Pinkman" and "Clint Eastwood and Jesse Pinkman adopt a racooon" XD

Tez Alexander Cupit's picture
Tez Alexander Cupit September 20, 2014 - 9:40am
This is the biggest load of incorrect and inaccurate bullshit i ever had the displeasure to read.The stand "An overly long advertisement for kleenex!? If you are a so call fan as you claim you should know the stand is one of king's classic's,even if you hated the book he learnd a'lot from this book,you could see the style what was to come.Odd thomas by stephen king? cujo a book about "Why dog's are assholes"? Are you fucking kidding me? The imagination to write in the roll of a dog is genius.I actually don't usually give dick's like you the pleasure of a comment,but the way you lied irritates me,you have used stephen king's name to get yourself a little traffic,you have obviously never read a stephen king novel in your life,infact you have read no novels in your life,lol.And sammy B,if you enjoy reading arrogant lying assholes that is your dirty business,don't judge people who are mad a guy lies to make a person read something they would usually enjoy,untill they start reading.
Utah's picture
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry September 20, 2014 - 10:13am

Booth, if this was a list of Stephen King novels, why did you leave out Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist?

ravenkult's picture
ravenkult from Sweden is reading The Keeper September 20, 2014 - 11:23am

That's Mr Grandmaster B to you, asshole.

Chantal Noordeloos's picture
Chantal Noordeloos September 20, 2014 - 11:44am

I don't know what was funnier, this article (Bravo Max,you are a freaking genius) or the comments. Am especially enjoying the angry ones. This made me laugh louder than your Stephen King interview.

Chantal Noordeloos's picture
Chantal Noordeloos September 20, 2014 - 11:47am

*[{}¥^§!! Apparently there was a digital echo on my part, sorry.

Chantal Noordeloos's picture
Chantal Noordeloos September 20, 2014 - 11:46am

Your website and my phone are not friends, can't delete double remarks O.o

Amanda Houston's picture
Amanda Houston September 20, 2014 - 12:18pm

These are hilarious. I think the description of IT is my favorite.

Also, kudos to you for sneaking that Dean Koontz in there. Well played, Max Booth, well played. 

Adam Lauer's picture
Adam Lauer September 20, 2014 - 1:01pm

Rose Madder: What about raping bull? Nice Idea!

Matt Gleason's picture
Matt Gleason September 20, 2014 - 2:01pm

Sometimes commenters are assholes! :)

Utah's picture
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry September 20, 2014 - 3:09pm

And sometimes commentors are purists.

Thinner was by Bachman, yo!  Get it right, Max!

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics September 20, 2014 - 4:44pm

I'm so glad Utah chose the Rosie pic this time, it fits so well with the context at play.

Tony McMillen's picture
Tony McMillen from Mostly glorious Tucson Arizona but now I live near Boston. is reading Not, I'm writing September 20, 2014 - 4:53pm

Good deal. Loved this. 

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami September 20, 2014 - 5:23pm

I don't know, to me trying to summarize a book in 140 characters is a bit like trying to find seven basic plots in all stories.

That's assuming your not dealing with multiple story arcs here, like Dragonball Z essentually has five story arcs.

But some of these were a laugh, like Christine. I remember watching that on a date, which reminds me I need to check on my car.

Patrick Riley's picture
Patrick Riley from Union, NH is reading Edgar Cayce's Story of Jesus September 20, 2014 - 5:50pm

The Talisman. Forever. This needs to be a movie. But a good one. Maybe an HBO series? That would be even better.

Ariana Noel Shelley's picture
Ariana Noel Shelley September 20, 2014 - 8:40pm

Fear Nothing and Odd Thomas are Dean Koontz. Where was Stand by Me? Did you skip all the short story collections?

Daniel Pruitt's picture
Daniel Pruitt September 21, 2014 - 8:15am

Fear nothing is Dean Koontz! otherwise pretty funny.    derr

Bryan Snowden's picture
Bryan Snowden September 21, 2014 - 9:25am

Since it was, apparently, impossible to make every summary humorous, I would have been more impressed had they been accurate and actual summaries.  


Matt L.'s picture
Matt L. from Texas is reading Tenth of December: Stories September 21, 2014 - 12:43pm

Came here for the comments. Was not disappointed. Hard to concentrate amidst the collective woosh though.

Paul Michael Anderson's picture
Paul Michael An... from Virginia is reading Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer September 21, 2014 - 3:07pm

I came for Max's column, but I stayed for the people commenting in their preciousness. 

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres September 21, 2014 - 7:01pm

I actually don't usually give dick's like you the pleasure of a comment,but the way you lied irritates me,you have used stephen king's name to get yourself a little traffic,you have obviously never read a stephen king novel in your life,infact you have read no novels in your life,lol.And sammy B,if you enjoy reading arrogant lying assholes that is your dirty business,don't judge people who are mad a guy lies to make a person read something they would usually enjoy,untill they start reading.

I think the above, by Tex Alexander Cupit, is my favorite grouping and ordering of words that I have ever read...ever. I don't know what it says, but there is something very poetic about it.


nathaniel parker's picture
nathaniel parker from Cincinnati is reading The Dark Tower ~ King September 22, 2014 - 4:22am

No one going to mention anything about that witch doctor post up there?

Oscar Toledo Gutiérrez's picture
Oscar Toledo Gu... September 23, 2014 - 7:24pm

Some amazingly bad summaries. It's missing the short novel The Mist. So the title cannot be "Every novel..."

Pedro Proença's picture
Pedro Proença from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil September 24, 2014 - 5:09am

This whole comment section is priceless. I laughed out loud everytime I read someone saying "There are Dean Koontz books in your list"

Utah's picture
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry September 24, 2014 - 5:24am

If this is supposed to be a list of all of Stephen King's novels, why is Gone With the Wind not mentioned.  Or Avatar?

Rd Reese's picture
Rd Reese September 24, 2014 - 6:14pm

I'm pretty sure"the mind is a razorblade" is a Palahnuik novel ....

Jenn Collins's picture
Jenn Collins from Wisconsin, USA is reading Spunk and Bite September 26, 2014 - 1:29pm

These comments are adorable.

I'm reading Four Friends Battle a Shitweasel right now.  That's an apt description.

Claire Hill's picture
Claire Hill October 19, 2014 - 1:48pm

I think you'll find that Clint Eastwood and Jesse Pinkman adopted a coati, not a racoon!

Jaime Aylsworth's picture
Jaime Aylsworth September 19, 2015 - 6:18pm

So where is The Mist??

Jason Bass's picture
Jason Bass September 19, 2015 - 7:51pm

Odd Thomas is koontz. You lose. Good day sir. 

John DeHart's picture
John DeHart from Born in L.A.; Tri-Cities, WA since 1958 is reading Mr. Mercedes September 20, 2015 - 10:48pm

Grieving loser joins dead psychic brother to kill evil ex-neighbors-turned murdering paramedics.

Wait, that's my novel, POST 60. Ha!

Funny shit, man. I bet it would crack King up, too.


Virago77's picture
Virago77 July 20, 2016 - 2:49pm

This was great, but the comments were ridiculously funny.  People really can't take a joke.  That's just sad really.

Mike Roberts's picture
Mike Roberts from Kingston, Ontario is reading Julia Cameron September 21, 2016 - 1:02pm

Joyland" should be " Guy gets dumped, gets job, gets laid, almost gets killed"

Mike Roberts's picture
Mike Roberts from Kingston, Ontario is reading Julia Cameron September 21, 2016 - 1:02pm

Joyland" should be " Guy gets dumped, gets job, gets laid, almost gets killed"

Amber Thabet's picture
Amber Thabet September 21, 2016 - 7:03pm

Loving these comments. People have no sense of humor. I love it that SOMEONE is finally acknowledging the fact that Dean Koontz has King envy so bad that it oozes from every page of his novels. I first tried his books when I was a teenager, and I gave up on himfor that. exact. reason.


He's a copycat.


Now, back to the comments. I have to say something about the person on the first page who called the writer of this article an idiot and then went on to say that Stephen King didn't write "Carrie" or "The Stand". 


I truly hope that was a joke, since those two books are among the best-known of his books.

Keyote MacLean's picture
Keyote MacLean September 22, 2016 - 1:03am

Yeah, Amber; he's a "copy cat", despite the fact that King usually ends his stories violently and Koontz usually ends his stories with hope and love and "The good guy coming out on top." *Makes sense*. 

King is overly wordy, to the point of drowning the actual point he intended to make, or going back to it after getting heavy-laced with description. Koontz is more artful with language, and uses poet's like TS Eliot as and GK Chesterton to fuel his own language in books.

Ever read any books by either author? The Dark Half Vs The Funhouse, perhaps? Other than both being writers of psychological thrillers? Both are miles apart, neither "Copies" the other, but good to think you think you know what are talking about. 

Brandon Bersch's picture
Brandon Bersch October 14, 2016 - 4:35am

Did he also write Stand By Me and Creepshow? You are missing a few.

I have a better one for Rage:

Catcher in the Rye holds the Breakfast Club hostage who slowly turn into the Lords of the Flies

And one for Blockade Billy:

Baseball player goes bad, umpires watch out

Here is another for Cujo:

Rabid dog is the Hound of Hell, is no saint, well, a Saint Bernard to say the very least

Good article. Hilarious descriptions. Keep them coming.