"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 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.
Thoroughly enjoyed this Stephen King.... particularly the last three of the four stories. Jessica Hecht reads beautifully.
Am giving this four stars because I had a little trouble with Craig Wasson's interpretation... just a little over the top.
As for the stories I thought they were just okay. While I understand King's intention was to put ordinary people in horrible situations but they were kind of boring and predictable. I did not find they the least bit scary. As for the narrators, I thought they were both pretty bad. Craig Wasson sounds like Casey Kasem which was distracting and Jessica Hecht makes all the female characters sound a bit whiney. This book gets three stars for the stories and zero for the narration.
I listen to audiobooks on my commute. I am often slow to get one started...I might listen on my way home in the afternoon, but not in the morning. I RARELY listen in my house from my IPOD or at the computer. But I did with this one. Stephen King cannot really think up anything TOO awfully original at this point, but he is a consummate storyteller. He weaves the cloth of a story so that you are in the action, feeling like you not only know the character, but you ARE the character at some points. The first two short stories are the best. The ending to the third one (Extensions) seemed premature and disappointed me, but I do think about possible endings for the main character alot, so maybe that was what King was trying for there. Either that or he could not think of how to end it. Last story was an interesting story, but the way the main character deals with her new knowledge doesn't seem plausible. But people do strange things...that I know. Obviously, you can tell from this review, that they were entertaining (albeit graphically gross and violent, as per usual with King) and thought-provoking. Very suspenseful at times. I listened to this one much faster than about any audiobook I've ever bought.... Worth your while if you like King.
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.
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