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Full Dark, No Stars [Hardcover]

Stephen King
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 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

Review

“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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good! Nov. 17 2010
By J. Macgillivray TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
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
3.0 out of 5 stars FDNS - 3.5 Jan. 13 2014
By Chris TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full dark No Stars July 27 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very good read, four seperate stories, and each one is different in the way that it is written and the story lines.I can't say too much about the stories or I will spoil it for you, but the last story is a shocker, and could well happen! It just goes to show that you don't know ANYONE at all. You really don't know who your lover really is.
I was totally gripped throughout this whole thing, and enjoyed each and every paragraph. Stephen King does a super job here, one of his best!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing too original, but still a great read Jan. 24 2012
Format:Hardcover
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 House on the Left" (it actually even mentions that movie in the book). I thought more could have been done with the last story but perhaps the short length of it was the reason that I didn't get completely drawn into it. The book is still an excellent read. I don't think King could write a bad story if he tried! I have books I consider my "junk food of reading" (fun and easy reads) and this would be one of them. All in all, I recommend it.
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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
Format:Hardcover
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Best King in Years April 20 2011
By JRD
Format:Hardcover
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fastest Opinion Turnaround... Well, Ever. April 18 2011
By IDGS
Format:Hardcover
FULL DARK NO STARS.

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 revenge, and matters of that nature. The tales themselves are interesting, very King-ish in every way - well thought-out, comical in their own right, a nice touch of chill, and a critical examination of the human psyche - damaged, or otherwise.

Now, I have to say, upon reading this novel before reaching the afterword, I found myself slightly disappointed. I found that many of the stories lacked the critical 'twist,' detailing more the reaction of someone to a bad situation (sometimes of their own making) rather than a true intricate tale. I found myself waiting for twists that didn't come, or shimmers of the usual SK horror that just didn't deliver.

I finished the last story, a little taken aback. This was an expensive book, and one I had waited a long time to read. I'm a long time King-fan, and this was supposed to cure my craving for at least a short while.

However, and there's always a however.

Upon reading the afterword, my entire opinion on the collection was given a drastic 180. King doesn't usually explain himself or his writing in the novels themselves, usually choosing to detail his thought processes either in other works, or in interviews. In FULL DARK, NO STARS - he does. He gives a clear statement of his intention with the collection, and the aim he sought out to achieve in writing it. This make the whole book that much more interesting to me - the stories being variations on a theme, rather than a bunch of similar tales.

In any case, a 5/5 read any King fan should heartily enjoy.

Just read the afterword once you've finished.
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