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Full Dark, No Stars | [Stephen King]

Full Dark, No Stars

"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.
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Publisher's Summary

"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

What the Critics Say

"[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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (2697 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Everette camillus, NY, United States 11-20-10
    Everette camillus, NY, United States 11-20-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Disturbing but not scary"

    A series of stories about generally good people pushed to do bad things for their own reasons (greed, revenge, survival, etc.). That idea isn't new exactly, but SK puts it to good work in these stories. With the exception of "Fair Extension" they are all even plausible, and "A Good Marriage" was adapted from real life events as SK notes in his remarks at the end. I think the most obnoxious thing was the product placement throughout the stories. Vehicles are one thing but there's really no need for name brands to explain a sandwich and drink or other minutia. I really don't like advertising stuffed into the pages of my books (regardless of format).

    I enjoyed the narrators. The only thing I found somewhat lacking was the expression of emotions vocally. Their reading voices were great (I especially liked Jessica Hecht), but there were times the anger, desperation, fear, etc just wasn't there. Or at least not as I thought it should be. However it does not take away from the overall experience.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Hill Brooklyn, NY USA 03-05-13
    R. Hill Brooklyn, NY USA 03-05-13 Member Since 2014

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great stories, mixed narration, and RATS"

    These are some of the best stories King's done in a long time. They are all riveting. Oh yeah, and watch out for the rats.
    I would have enjoyed the two from the woman's point of view even more than I did if the narration had been better. Jessica Hecht seemed to have been told by someone that she should smile while she read, a technique that really didn't work. I don't know if she thought the heroines were stupid, but she seemed almost to be mocking them, especially in the last story. The listener who described her as burbling and baby-talking really captured it. It's too bad, because both the characters could have been read as much more grown-up and intelligent people, and I wondered several times what they would sound like in my "mind's ear" if I was reading instead of listening. Craig Wasson, on the other hand, was very convincing as both characters, though they were quite different from each other.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen arlington, texas, United States 02-12-13
    Stephen arlington, texas, United States 02-12-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If your happy with 50% then buy it"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, only half of the narration and stories were Stephen King quality


    What didn’t you like about Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht ’s performance?

    I love to listen to Craig Wesson his performance made the first story full, colorful and intriguing. His voice is like a fine wine with a good meal. Jessica Hecht's voice is way to sweet to be palatable.


    Any additional comments?

    I miss Roland, the Gun Slinger series

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Cary, NC, United States 11-29-10
    Kimberly Cary, NC, United States 11-29-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Compelling narratives, but a good talk spoiled"

    Many of Stephen King's stories scare me, but few horrify me the way these stories did. I found myself stopping my iPod a few minutes into two of the stories, and it was a couple days before I could bear to go back to them ... but the phobic attraction of King's well-shaped narrative drove me back as surely as the subject matter drove me away.

    However, I found Jessica Hecht's narration to sharply undercut the two stories she performed. Although she developed distinctive voices for the characters, her tone was so chirpy that I swear I could HEAR her smiling as she read, and more than once I imagined bluebirds of happiness flitting around my earbuds as I listened. Her tone was much like the one you'd use to read the narration of Lemony Snicket books to children under the age of 8. It was so grating when placed up against very stark and dark prose.

    But you'll note that not even a cheerful, chirpy reading of murderous and grisly scenes could tear me away from the stories. King's knack for turning off the lights on the everyday world to show the glow of monsters from within our otherwise familiar surroundings and people kept me "turning the page" and looking forward to every spare minute I had to let the stories unfold a little more, a little more, a little more.

    I'm eyeing my neighbors a little more suspiciously this week. I wonder why ...

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan ANNISTON, AL, United States 05-22-15
    Susan ANNISTON, AL, United States 05-22-15 Member Since 2013

    Busy single mom, here. I am passionate about my books, but have so little time to sit down and read. I am loving my audiobooks!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great stories, annoying performance"

    As always, Stephen King has outdone himself.
    Unfortunately, the performances by Jessica Hecht are not very good. Her voices for the female characters are too whiney and airy-sounding... read at an annoyingly high register. And she sounds like she is smiling throughout the reading, even when the suspense in the story increases.
    I will avoid future performances by Jessica Hecht.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Alexandria, KY, United States 01-20-14
    Jeff Alexandria, KY, United States 01-20-14 Member Since 2012

    "something about yourself"

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Craig Wasson=great! Jessica Hecht=not so much."
    Any additional comments?

    All four of the stories in this book are worth the read. Some are better than others. Both stories read by Jessica Hecht were good stories but her narration is very poor in my opinion. Her voice is just plain weird. When she speaks as the character, her voice is lilting and it makes her character sound stupid and flighty.
    This is the first book I have listened to with a woman a narrator. I thought at first that perhaps I just needed to get used to it but in the end, I realized it was her, not me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew payette, ID, United States 01-29-13
    matthew payette, ID, United States 01-29-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The first story alone is worth the credit!!!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Each story was worth a credit. They were very gripping and very dark. These stories are not for the faint hearted, but some of Kings best work.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. A. Frank cali 05-23-12
    R. A. Frank cali 05-23-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Loved the Narration"

    Craig Wasson is the reason I bought this book. He was so good in 11-22-63 I wanted more! I was not disappointed with his performance in 2 of these Novellas. The other Narrator, Jessica Hecht was different for sure but the stories were perfect for her. I was thrilled with both "Big Driver" and "A Good Marriage". It was appropriate since the lead character was female, and compelling with her distinctive style and character development. I find myself missing her now that I am on to "From a Buick 8" and the female voice is someone else.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Titusville, FL, United States 12-15-10
    Kathy Titusville, FL, United States 12-15-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow!!!!"

    A few times I was actually scared out of my pants!!!!! I love King and he does his readers well. I would suggest to anyone who is a fan of his.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rod San Diego, CA, United States 05-23-12
    Rod San Diego, CA, United States 05-23-12 Member Since 2014

    As a Letter Carrier with 6 hrs free each day I began with talk radio and podcasts, and now I have found my salvation with Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "Loved the Narration"

    Craig Wasson is the reason I bought this book. He was so good in 11-22-63 I wanted more! I was not disappointed with his performance in 2 of these Novellas. The other Narrator, Jessica Hecht was different for sure but the stories were perfect for her. I was thrilled with both "Big Driver" and "A Good Marriage". It was appropriate since the lead character was female, and compelling with her distinctive style and character development. I find myself missing her now that I am on to "From a Buick 8" and the female voice is someone else.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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