"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 generally enjoy King’s novels but this collection of short stories was very mediocre. Fair Extension is probably the best of the bunch. King needs an editor who asks him if the scene he is writing advances the narrative. There is a lot of exposition that doesn’t advance the narrative or build suspense. It just plods along. I understand that he is trying to examine the mundane and everyday nature of evil that lurks in the world. I just think the subject matter could be examined in a better and more interesting way.
The only thing scary about this book is the level of misogyny. The tales are not creative, they are revolting...think "Last House on the Left" or "I Spit on Your Grave."
The best way I can describe this is, "meh."
The 4 stories did keep my interest. I wanted to know how each would turn out, but all but the first story left me disappointed.
In each story, you are taken into the mind of the protagonist in an attempt to experience the drama from their perspective. But Big Driver is experienced every week by fans of cop shows. The Darcy Anderson story is over before it gets good. And Fair Extension, well, I can't think of a way to express my feelings without spoiling it.
Full Dark, No Stars is surprisingly different from the King books I've enjoyed till now. The first story is told first person, which is very different and quite engaging. And the feminine voice in the second rings true and terrifying. I hesitated to order a collection of short stories having loved the big works...loved every minute of it.
I love all of the stories, especially Big Driver. I actually read the novel before buying the audible version. I would have loved to have heard Kathy Bates perform the two stories from the women's perspectives and I am still trying to decide if I like Wasson's narration. Having said that, I still highly recommend this book!
Nobody tells a story like Stephen King. This is my first audio King book, normally I read and actually haven't read one in a while. I used to wait for his books to come out. This took me back to when I was a constant reader and made me realize how much I miss it. Just don't seem to have as much time now. Anyway....I loved this.
I have recently begun enjoying King's books on a regular basis. I have read his books on and off but never found myself really anxious to get my hands on another one until recently. This collection of stories was easy to listen to. I particularly enjoyed Jessica Hecht's narration in two of the four stories. I found it easy to transition from one story to the other. Each of the stories has, as King himself says, an overall theme: exploring what people might do in dire situations. Without spoiling the stories, I will say that I knew immediately his inspiration for "A Good Marriage," and it was confirmed for me in his afterword. There were many parts of these stories that were hard to listen to, mostly because it is the stuff of real life. But, overall a great collection of stories.
Gritty, horrifying, and achingly insightful. Those who are faint of heart beware. Full Dark, No Stars is a look at people at their worst. King takes you inside the minds and hearts of the villains of these stories and shows you just how human they really are. How different from us they really aren't. How honest can you be with yourself and what you might or might not do after reading this set of chilling short stories. Enjoy!
I consider myself a Stephen King junkey, having read and loved dozens of his books. This compilation of shorter stories lacks the Stephen King magic I loved in the past. In the author's epilogue, Mr. King seeks to justify the disturbing nature of these stories, and they are disturbing, by describing them as ordinary people in extraordinary situations. However, sheer criminal violence by one person against another is not an extraordinary situation - at least not the kind I have come to expect from a Stephen King story. Perhaps it is a lack of supernatural elements or the infusion of a political point of view, something I noticed creeping in to this author's work in recent books (see Insomnia and Under the Dome) and something the author discusses in the epilogue to this book, but I was just a little disappointed.
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