"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger...." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922", the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.
In "Big Driver", a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.
"Fair Extension", the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.
When her husband of more than 20 years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It's a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.
Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.
©2010 Stephen King. All rights reserved. (P)2010 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved
"[T]hese tales show how a skilled storyteller with a good tale to tell can make unsettling fiction compulsively readable." (Publishers Weekly)
"King has gone on record saying he believes that American readers should pay more attention to the virtues of short fiction... if anyone can get reluctant short-story and novella readers into the swing, he certainly can with this book." (Booklist)
Stephen King is best when he keeps it short. His best output has been his novellas and short stories. Full Dark, No Stars continues this trend with 4 great stories that are more character studies than horror stories. But they work as both. All the stories have a theme of people who lose themselves to deal with some dark side of themselves.
I do not want to give any of the stories away as half the fun is hearing how the stories and characters evolve and the decisons they make (as well as their reasons for making the decisons). There is also a bit of a feminist leaning to 3 of the 4 stories; which I thought was interesting (seeing as a large chunk of horror seems to involve damsels in distress).
This is a great listen and a reminder of how Stephen King elevates a sometimes tired genre of horror into great fiction.
Audible rawks! My taste is beyond eclectic and Audible always has plenty to choose from, no matter what mood I'm in!
The tales in this collection lean more towards Dolores Claiborne than Carrie, but King's gift is in making sure we understand how horrifically humans can act and think, even without any supernatural help. The shortest of these 4 shorts, however, does feature a low-overhead demon with a special deal to offer, and the first tale, a real gorefest, mixes bad luck and bad brains with plenty of beyond-the-grave juju. We also get to see how other, not-so-evil, humans go about surviving their encounters with frighteningly believable monsters - well, at least half the time.
What else is there to say....scary good, 4 different tales that keep you engrossed. I havent read Stephen King for a while, glad I picked up this one.
Stephen King did such a great job with this book of stories.
I've read/watched/listened too many, many horror/thrillers in my many years, watched many gory slasher movies and never had a reaction except whether I enjoyed or was disappointed, until I listened to the stories in this book.
As I lay in bed listening as I drifted off to sleep, I found the first story very good and it kept my attention until the end (usually if I fall asleep while listening I resume listening once I awaken), this was one book taht I couldn't listen too again.
I don't know which story it was (after the first one) that freaked me out to the point that I didn't sleep the night well and could not bring myself to listen to it again to find out which story it was that disturbed me so.
Maybe one day I'll be able to listen to it again, all the way through ........ lol
Great job Stephen King
I loved the stories in this collection. Scary and mind bending. The Female reader though is horrible. She sounds like she's about to burst out in joyful laughter while she's reading these horror stories. It's just really off. I'm surprised because usually Stephen King's books are also my favorite audible books because the readers are so good. But she's awful for this genre.
I would say the title is a very Apt description , for the stories for me were completely dark with no hope or empathy or glimmer of the virtues of humanity. Always, no matter the character, the setting or the plot, no matter how dark and depression, all of King's stories and the characters in them had at least a small fraction of hope, whether it as hope of redemption, or forgiveness or hope for loved ones. Even the villans, were somehow sympathetic if only in a small way. I could see myself in the good guys, the bad guys and every guy in between. I just had a deep well of depression and hopelessness that just got bigger and bigger, deeper and deeper. I kept hoping for a measure of relief, but none ever came.
I didn't feel the King's writing ability was in full swing here. I'm not sure if these were early stories or quickly written ones, but I felt like they were hurried and some aspects skimmed over. Much of the emotions and introspections of characters from previous works, even his shorts and novelles, wasn't apparent to me in the works in this book. The prose was a little sloppier than is his usual and awkward at times, which in itself is not a deal breaker, but when taken with the dark, depressing, unredeemed quality to the stories, it dropped the whole experience for me.
I purchased the audio version from audible.com, and the narrator was terrible. Overdramatic, cheesy, just way over the top for everything. I felt like a toddler being read to by grandpa. And the baby talk used for some characters had me grinding my teeth. I kept thinking I'd get used to it, but after an hour, I had to stop for awhile, I was just SO irritated I couldn't listen anymore. Why couldn't the narrator have just read it instead of overacting it? It really ruined the experience for me.
The four short stories comprising “Last Dark, No Stars” are vintage Stephen King and, with one exception noted below, are excellent. My favorite was “1922” because of the mood it captures of rural 1920s Nebraska, with King’s gothic overlay. “Broken Marriage” was a spell-binder, while “Fair Extension” was a modern dramatic re-telling of the classic Faust tale, with King handling the supernatural just right. “Big Driver” was, frankly, ridiculous because of the unconvincing choices the protagonist, a highly intelligent author, made, and her imaginary conversations with animals were annoying. Still, three home runs out of four times at bat isn’t a bad record. The readers were just fair.
I am normally a big Stephen King fan and love his books. However, I could barely get past the first hour in this one. Something about a father coercing his 14 year old son to kill his mother is just too wrong for me.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I have loved Stephen King's books for many years. I do feel that there was a period of time that his books just did not hold my interest any longer. This book made me feel like he was back to his old writings. Any King fan of the early stuff will like this one.
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