Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Genre: Fiction

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 1992, the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerising tales from Stephen King, linked by the theme of retribution. 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 Harry 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.

About Stephen King: Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947. Stephen attended grammar school in Durham and then Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, The Maine Campus. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, with a BA in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. He and Tabitha Spruce married in January of 1971.
Stephen made his first professional short story sale (The Glass Floor) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. In 1973, Doubleday & Co. accepted the novel Carrie for publication. Stephen wrote his next-published novel, originally titled Second Coming and then Jerusalem's Lot, before it became Salem's Lot, in a small room in the garage.
The Kings have three children: Naomi Rachel, Joe Hill and Owen Phillip, and three grandchildren.

Review: I picked up my first Stephen King novel, Misery, when I was a teenager. Like so many people, I went on to read several of his books and short stories. At some point though, the King and I grew apart and I had not read a Stephen King novel for around fifteen years before picking up Full Dark, No Stars. King has an increadible way of getting under your skin. Reading his books is like picking a scab, you know you shouldn't be doing it, you know it will bleed but you just can't help the temptation. His latest round of short stories will not disappoint. Dark, macarbe and utterly fascinating, it is everything you expect from the King. I just love the way he is able to get into his characters head and believably rationalise their motivations and intentions. It was a refreshing change to get stuck into some short stories again too.

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