"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)
Jessica sounded way to happy and up tight. Some parts of the book that were really scary and awful....she sounded like she had a smile on her face when she read it. It was strange. Craig was awesome! Just like he was in 11/22/63.
As Craig Wasson launches into the first lines of 1922, “My name is Wilfred Leland James, and this is my confession. In June of 1922 I murdered my wife, Arlette Christina Winters James, and hid her body by tupping it down and old well.” You can feel how much you’re going to love this audio book. Even if you feel like a sick deviant as you delight in their sinister plot lines and unshakably vivid characters.
And then, Jessica Hecht begins to warble through Big Driver, the story of a Tess, a mystery novelist, who is brutally attacked and that’s just the beginning. Though none of the women in all four stories are treated with particular care (the men don’t fare much better), Hecht’s Tess was particularly weak and a little whiny.
Wasson comes back with King’s clever take on the deal with the devil tale in Fair Extension. The story of Dave Streeter terminal cancer patient who is seduced by the idea of extending his life, this is easily the most uplifting of the four stories, and it almost feels out of place amongst the sheer dire straits some of the other characters land in.
But of course, Hecht begins to prattle and baby talk her way through A Good Marriage. Though the story of a longtime wife who makes a gruesome discovery about her husband, is hands down the most fear inducing story of the four (King states he was inspired by the BTK murder and his wife in a killer afterword), it’s the worst performance.
Thankfully, some merciful producer selected Wasson to read the afterword in which King describes the collection: “I have tried my best to record what people might do, and how they might behave, under certain dire circumstances”. He does that in spades. All in all, he written four unforgettable stories that are sure to haunt readers long after the book is finished.
No, only half of the narration and stories were Stephen King quality
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.
I miss Roland, the Gun Slinger series
Stephen King has spent years perfecting female characters. In the early days someone made the remark that he couldn't write a strong female character between the ages of 7 and 107. Happily, that has changed in recent years and he has produced some good female characters. The reading of the two female leads in this book did a huge disservice to the stories. Frankly, I thought the character of Darcy sounded like some little housewife straight out of the 50s without a brain in her head. Unfortunate, as it was a very good story.
These are all great stories, well told. The first one is so dark it was very uncomfortable to listen.
My only criticism is the trend of actors "over-performing" the books they read. There's a fine line between telling a good story and imposing one's interpretation on it. Wasson was over the top in the first story but much more even in his second. Hecht goes way too far in both her stories and her voices are distractingly similar in each even though the characters are completely different. If I were running the zoo I'd stop hiring actors to do these reading and enlist storytellers instead.
I agree with everything that Ron (an earlier review) said. OK stories, not Kings best, but still King. I too had a hard time with the readers, the book version would have been better. Audio is tough like that. An unpleasant reader can ruin even the best book.
It's nice to see the master back in full form. This collection of novellas doesn't have a dud in the bunch. I found myself eagerly awaiting to see what happened next, which is odd considering they were short and simple stories. The characters are incredibly strong and placed in real situations so vivid that I found myself caring about them. The narration is excellent.
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!
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.
Something from Clive Cussler
All readers were awful. The intonation wasn't right and it all seemed forced.
I'm an eternal optimist and kept thinking that it would get better and be worth my time. I'm still an optimist, but it didn't get better. BTW, I own many books by Stephen King and have enjoyed the majority of them immensely.
I absolutely love Stephen Kings books, I haven't been brave enough to try another author yet...
As always I truly enjoyed the stories in Full Dark No Stars. My favorite King books are the ones with short or shorter stories. The 4 in this book kept me amused during many miles on the road driving. Also keeping me wide awake wich is the goal when starting an audio book in the car. Stephen King books wont, or shouldn't put you to sleep for sure...
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