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Full Dark, No Stars [Hardcover]

Stephen King
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 9 2010
"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.

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From Amazon

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: When a master of horror and heebie-jeebies like Stephen King calls his book Full Dark, No Stars, you know you’re in for a treat--that is, if your idea of a good time is spent curled up in a ball wondering why-oh-why you started reading after dark. King fans (and those who have always wanted to give him a shot) will devour this collection of campfire tales where marriages sway under the weight of pitch-black secrets, greed and guilt poison and fester, and the only thing you can count on is that "there are always worse things waiting." Full Dark, No Stars features four one-sitting yarns showcasing King at his gritty, gruesome, giddy best, so be sure to check under the bed before getting started. --Daphne Durham


“King [is] the most wonderfully gruesome man on the planet… The pages practically turn themselves.”—Carol Memmott, USA Today

Full Dark, No Stars is an extraordinary collection, thrillingly merciless, and a career high point.”—The Telegraph (UK)

“A page turner.… King … seems able to write compact tales or gargantuan ones with equal ease.”—Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Might yield another classic… Solid psychological chillers.”Columbus Dispatch

“Just as gripping as his epic novels.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars King Can Excel in Short Form, But Not Always Feb. 24 2011
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
I was a fan of Stephen King for a long time, from the 1970s into the 1990s, but around the "Gunslinger" series, I lost interest and I've only read a few of his books since then. When I saw that "Full Dark, No Stars," was a group of four novellas, though, I thought I'd give it a try as I've always liked his shorter fiction. Well, I found it a mixed bag. I disliked both "1922" and "Big Driver," the first because it felt so misogynistic and the second because it was so mean. But I laughed a lot at "Fair Extension," the shortest story in this book - who hasn't experienced a sense of resentment at the success of somebody else, even a close friend, from time to time? And the last story in the book, "A Good Marriage," was vintage King all the way. So if the first half seemed to me to be King coasting on horrific imagery (particularly of rats), the second half showed that he is still on form, at least when he wants to be. Readers will already know if they like King's work or not; this volume isn't likely to change anybody's mind, but at least the second half kept me entertained over a few cold February nights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is no "Different Seasons" Dec 20 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having been a fan of Stephen King's for many years--I call his books my 'mind candy'--I'm sad to say I was disappointed with this collection. Both of his other collections of novellas, especially the very fine "Different Seasons" which we teach at my high school, were excellent. Indeed, I like to tell my Writer's Craft students that his short story about the embezzler escaping the mob across the Nevada desert in "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" is probably the finest suspense story ever written. But, except for the closing novella in "Full Dark, No Stars", which is only competent and rather derivative (seemingly loosely based on that old chestnut "Lamb to the Slaughter"), the rest seem tossed off, partials he had in an old writer's notebook, in response to which his publishers likely said, "Let's run them up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes them." Margaret Atwood once famously told us that they'd publish and probably successfully sell her laundry list, if she gave it to them, and publications of hers like "Good Bones" and "The Penelopiad" suggest she's been co-opted by her publishers' cynicism. I'm hoping the same future doesn't await Mr. King.

"1922", which opens the collection, has a murderous though thoroughly likeable narrator as its protagonist. Wracked with guilt, as we know he will be, its physical manifestation in the form of rats is well-handled and believable. Two things, however, strain the reader's credulity: first, the Bonnie-and-Clyde crime spree his son and pregnant girlfriend go on, prepostorously 'narrated' to the protagonist by his resurrected wife (but she's not; it's only his guilt again, so how does she/he know so much detail?); secondly, the tacked-on newspaper article. The rats are either real or they're not.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good! Nov. 17 2010
Creepy and disturbing. The last story was especially interesting in light of the recent trial of Canada's new serial killer/rapist/lingerie freak on the block, Colonel Russell Williams, and the speculation around his wife of nearly 20 years as to whether she was aware of her husband's crimes.
Impossible to put down, except when I went to make the sure the door was locked.
SK fans will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emphasis on "Dark" Jan. 9 2011

Any "Constant Reader" will be in awe of this book. Dark. Amazingly DISTURBING. I almost don't want to recommend...and wouldn't for a newbie to SK. For those of us who are fanatics...go for it. You will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars FDNS - 3.5 Jan. 13 2014
By Chris
I wouldn't consider this to be one of the best from Stephen King, whose collections "Night Shift" and "Just After Sunset" are phenomenal. Of the published, "Big Driver" was my favourite of the four. "1922" had good Nebraska imagery, but didn't need to be more than a hundred pages; "A Good Marriage" was dreadful - in content, not writing; and "Fair Extension" was like a "Twilight Zone" episode written by a novice (the ending stank).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Gets Back Feb. 23 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the third collection of four novellas Stephen King has released. The first two are Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. The common theme among the stories in this volume seems to be revenge or retribution. Readers shouldn't miss the Afterward section in which King discusses the events that prompted him to begin writing each story.

The four stories are:

"1922" reads like a Stephen King treatment of The Tell-Tale Heart. A depression-era Nebraska farmer and his son commit murder and seem to get away with it. But the experience festers in their minds and in their lives.

"Big Driver" tells about the rape of a woman on a lonely country road and the steps she takes to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. She gets some good advice from those around her. But she makes a mistake.

"Fair Extension" is a deal-with-the-devil story. Dave Streeter gets an "extension" on his life that makes his cancer go away. He doesn't have to sign away his soul. Not exactly. But he no longer envies the happy life of his best friend, Tom Goodhugh.

"A Good Marriage" introduces Darcy Anderson, who has a happy life and a part-time rare coin business with her husband Bob. One day she discovers that he is a brutal serial killer. It isn't at all clear what the next steps are.

The collection is highly recommended, especially as an audio book. I don't often sit in my car, becoming later and later for work, while I listen to the end of a story. This book did it to me twice.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 9 days ago by Connie Pon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of those books that will stay put and read again.
Published 1 month ago by Teresa
5.0 out of 5 stars Full dark No Stars
Very good read, four seperate stories, and each one is different in the way that it is written and the story lines. Read more
Published on July 27 2012 by christine
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing too original, but still a great read
I liked this book even though none of the stories struck me as very original. The first story seemed Edgar Allan Poe-esque and the second story reminded me of the movie "The Last... Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2012 by BlondeBomber
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic King with a Twist
For fans of King this isn't a collection to miss out on. The stories within are unique and extremely creepy. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2011 by A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Best King in Years
I thought this book was great. The stories were mean, much like the way he wrote long ago. I hope his next one will be just as good. Easily his best in a long while.
Published on April 20 2011 by JRD
5.0 out of 5 stars Fastest Opinion Turnaround... Well, Ever.

Man, what a book. What can be said for it? Well, a lot.

A collection of four unrelated (plot-wise) short stories, they focus mainly on... Read more
Published on April 18 2011 by IDGS
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of King
I have been a Stephen King fan since the early 80's, I didn't know who he was but on a rainy sunday afternoon I picked up a book, turned out to be Salems Lot and was still reading... Read more
Published on March 21 2011 by aprilrose0048
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Dark No Stars
I gave this book to my husband and a friend for Xmas and both them couldn't put it down. When my husband finished reading it, he enjoyed it so much he decided to read it again. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2011 by MarjorieLat
5.0 out of 5 stars I Liked It
Liked it; was finished in no time. A lot of the stories were difficult to read in some places, but I suppose that is what you get when you read a Stephen King novel, or in this... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2011 by Stephanie Ratt
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