"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.1922 was my favorite of all four stories. It was dark, it was gross, and it was highly entertaining. King paints a vivid picture you don't want to see, but can't take your eyes off of.
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.
All of the stories in Full Dark, No Stars are human horrors. Big Driver delves into the human emotion of rape, and it was definitely the most uncomfortable tale for me. I had a harder time letting myself enjoy this one.
Fair Extension explores making a deal with the devil. What would be darker than making a deal with the devil? Making a deal and actually enjoying the consequences. I enjoyed the unexpected on this one.
I listened in on an interview Stephen King did regarding Full Dark, No Stars, and he mentioned there being a screenplay for A Good Marriage. That would be fantastic. I loved this story. As a devoted wife I could relate to the trust the main character had in her husband, but at the same time there was this voice "You have to go through that box. You can't just let it go. It will eat at you. Somethings not right here!" This tale made my heart race.
I really enjoyed this collection. Humans are down right scary.
Are you a King fan? Have you read any of Full Dark, No Stars?
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