"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)
I am a King fan, but not always. The Dark Tower, at the end, let me down. I skipped a few books in that time where even King thought about retiring.
Perhaps it was a fog that a good truck upside the head had to clear. Regardless, both Duma Key and Full Dark NO Stars are great -though sometimes spooky - books. Though all stories in the book are pretty good. . .it is funny I find the two "guy" stories the least interesting of the bunch. The two stories that take place fro a girl's point of view are pretty damn interesting. . .
I really liked the stories. As always with King's stories, they keep your mind working even after the story is told.
One ultimate horror is that possible moment when an act forces one to think, "Nothing will ever be the same again; I'll never be able to look at myself the same again." Who, if they truly think about it, would not choose to be the victim of evil rather than the agent? What if forced to face this? What choices, consequences? // Those are the themes underlying all four stories. The first is pure evil act and consequence. The second combines evil received with the grim results of that insult. The third in its flippantly-brutal selfishness forces the reader to judge when the protagonist does not. And the fourth *shudder* shows from a second person, the vast pit that may open beneath what was thought solid foundation. That story is both completely true and completely unimaginable. // Horror is a very particular emotion. It does not come from penny dreadfuls. It is an emotion that stuns and changes us, aghast, wounded. These are horror stories: they are not scary stories; they are not thrillers. // These stories are most definitely "Full Dark, No Stars," at times so grim that I wondered how useful such stories could be to society. The unrelentingly graphic nature of the second story is extremely disturbing, so much so that, I believe, it is flawed in that it spends too much time on not what is the heart of the story but instead on a visceral horror that is almost mindless in its savage intensity. It is one tough story to read and I would not suggest to anyone that they read it, though if they do, there's still something to be gained. Be warned. // Siskel and Ebert, long ago, had enthusiastically reviewed several depressing films. Realizing this, one of them said, "I suppose that for us, good movies make us happy, bad movies make us sad." Read it in that spirit if you like King and know what you may be getting into. I liked the book far better a few days after I'd read it. // The readers were good, though Ms. Hecht's voice is almost too lovely for its subject matter.
I am a D-Bag.
Finally someone with the nerve to write how they really feel. King has always been a sick one. Just read his earlier stories. Like most other writers trying to pander to the avg. reader King has lightened up his stuff in recent years.Good for you King for writing from your dark place. I enjoyed it.
Total creep out, king style. Not for the feint of heart or weak stomach person. Every once in awile, SK can really twist your guts around, and this collection left me slightly queezy. yet, being an avid SK fan since dirt was young, i expect the weird out-of-ordinary from him. It cracks me up when people complain about his stories by saying it wasnt "classic" King. What is classic King anyway? SK stories are not same-old, same-old like other authors (koontz, saul) thank goodness. Not knowing what you're going to read is as close to "classic" King as i think we're going to get.
Just this fox who plays export analyst by day and horror writer by night.
I'm adding Jessica Hecht to my "no-listen" list. She managed t turn every female character into some whiny grating helpless lump, despite their actions. Half-way through "Big Driver", I switched back to my print version. I did the same thing about 1/4 way through "A Good Marriage".
Craig Wasson I enjoyed, and "1922" with "Fair Extension" made for very enjoyable reads.
These stories are dark and have the ice pick sting of pain and horror we've come to expect.
Stephen King is hit-or-miss for me. After listening to these I have decided that he is a much better short story writer than novelist. These were good stories that were a fun listen and renewed my faith that King can spin a good yarn.
Overall these stories were ok, but none made a lasting impression. One was memorable less for the storyline and more for the never ending gross-out factor. I've always loved the "voice" of Stephen King's characters and maybe it was the narrators in the stories, but the characters in these stories don't seem as well spoken.
Stephen King excels at the art of writing the short story and novella and this book does not disappoint. These stories are well crafted, creepy, disturbing and entertaining. In other words, typical King. This book is very well narrated as well. I highly recommend.
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