Graveyard Shift All the Opening Sentences from Stephen King Books, Ranked  

Jacoby Bancroft
29.6k votes 4.3k voters 65.8k views 45 items

The first lines in Stephen King books set the stage for the stories that follow. Over his long career, King has written opening sentences that are funny, informative, scary, and downright odd. But which one is the best?

Is it the simple statement about the gunslinger following the man in black through the desert in The Gunslinger, the novel that begins his epic eight-novel fantasy cycle? Is it the more in-depth breakdown of the Boston Globe reporter's surroundings in The Colorado Kid? Is it the random gurgles and moans that kick off Misery? Or is it something else entirely?

There's certainly not a shortage to chose from. Check out the list below to view every first sentence from King's novels and vote up your favorite ones! 

list ordered by
1
1,732 292
The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years - if it ever did end - began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.
It
2
2,000 368
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger 
3
928 234
YOU'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.
Needful Things
4
905 228
The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.
The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon 
5
813 240
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.
Cujo
6
897 275
Jack Torrance thought: Officious little pr*ck.
The Shining
7
568 150
No one - least of all Dr. Litchfield - came right out and told Ralph Roberts that his wife was going to die, but there came a time when Ralph understood without needing to be told.
Insomnia
8
636 178
She sits in the corner, trying to draw air out of a room which seemed to have plenty just a few minutes ago and now seems to have none.
Rose Madder
9
664 191
This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain.
The Green Mile
10
625 175
Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he entered his middle age, but that was exactly what happened...although he called this man a friend, as a grown man must do when he finds the man who should have been his father relatively late in life.
Pet Sematary
11
619 173
Almost everyone thought the man and the boy were father and son.
'Salem's Lot
12
631 179
People's lives - their real lives, as opposed to their simple physical existences - begin at different times.
The Dark Half
13
650 189
This is the story of a lover's triangle, I suppose you'd say - Arnie Cunningham, Leigh Cabot, and, of course, Christine.
Christine
14
604 170
I have never been what you’d call a crying man.
11/22/63
15
546 152
On the second day of December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado's great resort hotels burned to the ground.
Doctor Sleep
16
582 169
On September 15th, 1981, a boy named Jack Sawyer stood where the water and land come together, hands in the pockets of his jeans, looking out at the steady Atlantic.
The Talisman 
17
482 130
Pere Don Callahan had once been the Catholic priest of a town, 'Salem's Lot had been its name, that no longer existed on any map.
The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower
18
422 123
By the time he graduated from college, John Smith had forgotten all about the bad fall he took on the ice that January day in 1953.
The Dead Zone
19
529 179
"ASK ME A RIDDLE," Blaine invited.
The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass
20
438 141
The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on the afternoon of October 1.
Cell
21
456 151
SSDD, it became their motto, and Jonesy couldn't for the life of him remember which of them started saying it first.
Dreamcatcher
22
368 126
"How long will the magic stay?"
The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah 
23
340 112
Jessie could hear the back door banging lightly, randomly, in the October breeze blowing around the house.
Gerald's Game
24
363 126
"Daddy, I'm tired," the little girl in the red pants and the green blouse said fretfully.
Firestarter
25
373 133
The gunslinger came awake from a confused dream which seemed to consist of a single image: that of the Sailor in the Tarot deck from which the man in black had dealt (or purported to deal) the gunslinger's own moaning future.
The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three