Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: November 9, 2010
Hardcover, 4 stories, 384 pages

My Review:
Disclaimer #1: I have been a Stephen King fan since reading It when it came out in paperback when I was 14 or 15. I fell in love with that book, yes it was scary, but It was the book to turn me on to the horror genre and Stephen King. I went on to read many of his books (but I have by no means read all of them). I even read his short story collections and a couple of his early novella anthologies. I was not as crazy about the short format, but I could never dispute that Mr. King wrote a full story even within a confined word limit.  After reading Full Dark, No Stars, I am converted and will go back to his novella collections with a new eye for the details and stories presented.

Disclaimer #2: This book is not for the faint of heart. Mr. King even mentions that in his afterword. Death, murder, rape, serial killing, beatings are mainstays of the stories and these events may seem awful at the time and hard to read about, but the truth is by the end of the story you will understand why he wrote them that way. There is a point to each story and he does not write the scenes just for the shock value.

Okay, disclaimers out of the way. What can I say about Full Dark, No Stars? It was amazing, it was hard to put down and to me it was vintage Stephen King novellas. Whether exploring what happens to a family when the father and son decide to murder their wife/mother or what to do if you find out your husband has a terrible secret, Stephen King crafts a great story from simple plot lines. The stories grab you and never let you go. And when the story is done, you as the reader are happy. The story is complete, the plot was well-developed and the characters are developed too. Each story was great to me. Each story had it's own creepiness factor whether it dealt with the depravity of humans or whether it had a supernatural spin on it. All were satisfying and now I need to go back and read the novellas that I have missed over the past 10 years.

My rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
"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 twenty 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.

About the Author:
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are Full Dark No StarsBlockade BillyUnder the Dome, Just After Sunset, the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Lisey's Story and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was recently re-released in a tenth anniversary edition. King was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2007 he was inducted as a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America.  He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***