Bag of Bones (Stephen King, 1999) – Plagued with unending nightmares and a writer’s block, widowed novelist Mike Noonan visits the western Maine summerhouse of his nightmares to confront secrets of an uncertain past.
Markedly orthodox for a King novel, Bag of Bones escapes the tedium of trite horror tropes by portraying sincere motifs.
Once a devoted husband and prolific writer, Mike Noonan is left hollow on the day that he lost his wife and muse. For four years, his chaotic mind brims with vivid nightmares as he finds himself no longer able to write. The grieving widower decides to revisit his summerhouse Sara Laughs, the settings of his frightful dreams. Mysterious apparitions point to buried secrets of an unknown past.
Of an antagonistic poltergeist and nightly whispers, Bag of Bones feels more conventional than the usual Stephen King fare. Neither the impressive sprawl of The Stand nor the outlandish fantasy of The Gunslinger series is apparent, in what initially appears as a garner of ghostly tropes.
But this is not a ghost story. Not entirely.