The Dark Half(1989). Stephen King's Nineteenth Novel.
In many ways, 'The Dark Half' is King at his most personal, and his most revealing. As any of his "Constant Readers" know, he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman for many years. Richard Bachman, very much like Thad Beaumont's Dark Half, was in many ways, Stephen King's Dark Half, where the world was in a state of pessimism, and the endings were never happy. So, in many ways, Stephen King's alternate personality is the direct inspiration for this book, Richard Bachman being in direct relation to George Stark, a pessimistic alternate personality of Thad Beaumont. The Dark Half has gone on to become one of Stephen King's most admired novels of the 80's, right along novels such as IT, The Talisman, and Misery.It is one of his most memorable, telling the reader a grisly fact they will never forget: 1 Out of Every 10 Women have twins, but one of them sucks up the other In Utero. At its time of release, The Dark Half debuted at #1 on the New York Times List, and showed Stephen King's popularity was fully intact, and gave him his Ninth Bestseller. The Dark Half was also made into a movie, and it still stands as one of the best. Read on for my review of The Dark Half-
Thad Beaumont, Husband of Liz Beaumont, and Father of Two Twins(Liz and Wendy), appears appears to be normal to the outside world, a humble Writing Professor and a Novelist(Popular with critics, but poorly selling), living his life alone with his family in Ludlow without a care in the world. But he has a secret, that few people know about, and that secret is that he is George Stark, Bestselling Author of Dark Grisly Thrillers, Thad Beaumont's Alternate Personality, or in this case, his Dark Half. Thad, after being blackmailed, decides once and for all to put George Stark to rest, because when Thad is Stark, he isn't himself, but a half-crazed writer. So amidst heavy press, Thad Beaumont tells the world that HE is George Stark, and that George Stark is dead. Thad Beaumont's quiet life is turned upside down when his part-time Handyman, Homer Gamache, was found beaten to death, with his fingerprints all over the Crime Scene. Thad doesn't know what to think, and soon his past will come back to haunt him. Early in his life, Thad Beaumont suffered headaches, and finally a convulsion(Brought on by the sound of sparrows), and doctors discovered and removed an eyeball and two fingernails from his brain, the leftovers of his would-be twin. Police are baffled at Thad's case, because he had alibis the night of the murder to attest he was at a party, and they learn more murders(Of people Thad knew) have taken place in New York, with fingerprints of Thad included, but Thad wasn't possibly there. So, along with the help of Sheriff Pangborn, Thad sets out to unmask his silent killer, and he begins to think that maybe it is the person he once killed: George Stark. As Stark inches nearer and nearer to Thad, he and his family's life will come down to his bravery, and if he can defeat his Dark Half.
The Dark Half, much like Stephen King's Gerald Game, centers around Stephen King's ability to tell a story, and focuses less on Writing Mechanics. Although there are subtle similes/metaphors here and there, unlike many of his novels, grisly and humorous descriptions are the main draw here, and his descriptions of Sparrows might make you think twice about going near them. He tells the story straight out, and unlike "The Tommyknockers" or "IT", King doesn't care about side-plots, he focuses his story on Thad and George Stark, and the reader is enthralled every page from the mysterious beginning to the macabre end, and it is impossible to put this book down. In many ways, this is a Thriller, but towards the end of the novel, Stephen King reverts to his Horror ends, and his Disturbing End might give Fainthearted readers a sleepless night. I must remark how The Dark Half, unlike many of his novels, has an ending that PERFECTLY complements the plot, and I found myself smiling at King's carefully plotted ending, reveling in Horror's King's cleverness.
Overall, I found The Dark Half to be an excellent read, enthralling and mysterious, and hard to put down. After reading the dissapointing "Bag of Bones", "The Dark Half" really showed that Stephen King, while he has his lows, always has his undeniable highs.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! FANS OF STEPHEN KING, THRILLERS, HORROR, AND MYSTERIES WILL HIGHLY ENJOY "THE DARK HALF", AND THIS IS A GOOD START FOR STEPHEN KING NEWBIES. 4 STAR AVERAGE?? I THINK NOT!
From The Corner of His Eye- Dean Koontz
Mr.X- Peter Straub
Thanks For Reading!