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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

Critic Reviews

"[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)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    2,809
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Cyrano
  • Gardena, CA USA
  • 10-16-16

Crime Fiction and Recycled Plot Lines

Is there anything you would change about this book?

With the exception of Fair Extension, the novellas which make up Full Dark, No Stars, are crime fiction rather than "typical" Stephen King fiction (fiction with a supernatural twist), so I would substitute another crime fiction novella for Fair Extension and then make sure the dust jacket notes make clear that the enclosed novellas are crime fiction. In addition, I would publish this book under a pseudonym, so people expecting supernatural horror would not buy it, only to find it is crime fiction. Yes, Steve, we understand that you want to show that you can write about things other than monsters (baseball, crime, etc.) but not all of us want to read that. Also, I would get rid of all of the unnecessary profanity (what's the matter with you Steve?) and have a good editor eliminate the embarrassing mistakes (e.g.a revolver is not a "pistol")

What do you think your next listen will be?

While King's short stories and novellas are certainly worth reading, I feel he does his best work when writing novels. I'm not sure which of his books I will read next, but it will definitely be one of his novels.

Did Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht did an acceptable job reading these stories, but each has lapses during which it's painfully obvious that someone is just reading a book to you.

Was Full Dark, No Stars worth the listening time?

Full Dark, No Stars is worth the listening time, primarily if you enjoy reading crime fiction. If you're looking for something spooky with a supernatural bent, you're going to be as disappointed as I was.

Any additional comments?

I think King has lost touch with his audience. I have been a fan of King's storytelling since I stumbled across his first book of short stories (Night Shift) in 1978. His combination of writing style with a significant supernatural component made for horror fiction, which was escapist in nature, but felt like it could happen to anyone who made the mistake of turning his or her back on the present - even if they did so for just a minute or so. And what's with all the profanity? It doesn't add anything to the story other than a distraction. And speaking of distractions, I wish he would stop including the names of popular stores, and songs, and fast food chains, and brand names. People don't talk that way. No one says "I'm going to go to Walmart and pick up some Barq's cream soda." They say "I'm going to the store to pick up some cream sodas." I feel confident in saying that if he had started his career writing about baseball and crime, and filled his prose with profanity and pop culture references, he would not be the household name that he is today. And Steve, can you please stop whining about your fans asking you where you get your ideas?!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Back Away From This Book

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something from Clive Cussler

How could the performance have been better?

All readers were awful. The intonation wasn't right and it all seemed forced.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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car books

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...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Left me feeling empty...

I know that life, like these 4 short stories doesn't always have closure. However I felt while listening that these stories were just book ideas that were never fully germinated... I don't know if they were fully germinated that I wouldn't feel so slimy after listening.... Jessica Hecht, who narrates 2 of the 4 stories needs to stop with the weird distracting voices and accents....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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SELLING THE FARM

Typical Stephen King story emphasizing every aspect of decaying flesh and body fluids. Initially, I loathed the wife/mother who seemed to delight in humiliating and embarrassing her family. And I empathized with the husband and son, who only wanted to remain on the farm and live a simple life. But as the story progressed, I could only feel sadness for the son who was too weak to stand up to his father and follow his conscience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Hill
  • Brooklyn, NY USA
  • 03-05-13

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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

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  • Christine
  • mckeesport, PA, United States
  • 02-08-12

Delightfully dark

This is the kind of book that makes you really glad to finish it and go back "to the light", as Stephen himself puts it. The stories are great, the editing is great, and the narrator does a GREAT job. Mr Wasson is definitely one of the best!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Beau
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 11-23-11

Good ideas - some good stories - last one is SLOW

The stories were great! The last one - well - the idea was fantastic, and the story could have been amazing if it wasn't the most unending redundant repeated stuff I've suffered through in a long long time.

I listened to the last story on a 4 hour trip. My wife and I began the trip listening to it. After an hour, she begged me to use earphones. Two hours later, she asked me for an update, and amazingly, it took me two sentences to cover the ground it took this book two hours to cover.

By THAT time, I was so invested in it, I couldn't just put it down. Again - the story was a great idea - but the writing just rambled. And rambled. And rambles. HOW can a story ramble in an annoying way? I can't even remember - it was THAT uninteresting.

So. Enjoy the first three. The fourth one - I'll be happy to give you the 5-minute short story version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Engulfing!

Stephen King at his very best. I can't remember being any more captured by this storyteller engaged in his articulate craft. Don't enter into the world(s) of these stories unless you are ready to be completely caught up in the narrative(s). I will listen to them again, I think, but not until I'm once more willing to face myself wholly for one (like the characters in each tale) who may very well be possessed of two (at least) people. For the moment I'm just going to let these morality tales ferment someplace deep within me. Wonderful. Engulfing. Stephen King at his best.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful