"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 would really love to give this book higher praise because the set of short stories had interesting plots. However, what nearly ruined the book for me (and I struggled to actually finish listening to it) was the voice interpretation of the female reader. Somehow she managed to make the women in the stories sound like whiny, weak and pathetic characters. Such a difference could have been made with just a slightly different voice! The situations that the women found themselves in, how they reacted and their dialog would have been the same, but they could have been much more likeable. As it was, I found myself wanting them to get killed just so they would shut up and I honestly don't believe that SK wrote these women to be snivelers! For a different book & weak characters the reader's voice would have been fine; but the women in the stories acted a lot smarter/tougher than they were interpreted by the voice. Too bad... in an audio book it's not just the story that makes/breaks the experience; having the reader project the appropriate personality is key.
Great collection of stories, the best being the first, 1922. The only weak link is "Fair Extension". I felt there should have been some sort of twist at the end. Stephen King is back in rare form!
I'm a huge SK fan. But damn, Steve! Throw us a bone, sometimes. I couldn't finish it.
First off, the two readers are quite good. Unfortunately the text doesn't equal their performances.
This collection of 4 or so short stories falls well short of Stephen King. I'm a huge fan of a lot of his work, my favorites being It and Stand By Me. He normally does a great job of creating compelling characters and filling his stories with thrilling tension.
These stories, however, are just disgusting. The first story starts with "a brutal murder so horrible I can't recount it" (paraphrase) and then proceeds to describe the death in horrible, nausea inducing detail. (I literally got sick to my stomach during this story.) There is no excitement, just pure over-the-top grossout.
The second story is one of brutal rape that only a sadist can enjoy. Seriously... unless you like hearing all the details of a horrible rape, this is a terrible story.
The remainder of the stories are dull and once again lack his normal genius. What they ARE full of us forced, dated references to 2008-2009. It seems like he's trying to hard to show that he's 'hip' to the new age... forcing in mentions of GPS, google, twitter, and other tech buzzwords that already feel dated just a year or so later.
If you love stephen king, you will be disappointed. If you don't know his work, this is a terrible place to start. Skip this book entirely and save yourself the disgust. There isn't a single redeeming story here.
I wanted to cut my own head off before the 1st story was over. Sooo boring, slow and dull.
I surely hope the remaining bits can salvage this one.
The female narration spoiled the 2nd and 4th stories for me. She sounded weak and pathetic, not the kind of person that could endure the situations presented in the stories. The narration in the last kept taking me out of the story because I found it so odd and unbelievable.
It was endlessly gruesome, just awful, weird, incomprehenibly evil, and disgusting. I can't imagine how anyone could like this book.
I have read every short story collection SK has and loved most of them. This pile of steaming, boring, worthless garbage made me so mad that I wasted a credit on this crap. First story is so boring you listen to it hoping something would happen!!
This is a depressing book, I have read nearly all of Stephen Kings book and I really did not like this one. I wish he had left his political views out of it, not all of us feel the way he does. This will be the last of his books I will buy or read.
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