Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BOOK: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King,


I decided to spread the King out a bit this month. After each other book I finish, I will read one of his novella/short stories. Each story stands on its own a little better, and I get to extend the King season for the whole month.

After reading Pretty in Ink:
1922, 131 pages
A man who convinces a son to help him kill his wife sees his life fall apart in middle America just before the depression begins. Nice homage to the Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, as the narrator is haunted by the rats from the well where he dropped his wife. So, it's creepy, and gross and perfectly King, with characters that allow you to see their hearts, however dark. "Perfectly King" is high praise as I've always loved his writing. He creates characters with layers, and stories that bounce along, and you just don't forget  his books. There have been some duds, but I've really enjoyed his shorter fiction.

After reading The Distant Hours:
Big Driver, 130 pages
At this point, part of what makes a Stephen King story scary, is worrying about how far he will take the plot. He does horrible so well, that I keep imagining what terrible event will happen next to the main character. When a cozy mystery author gets thrust into a decidedly not cozy crime, I kept thinking things would get worse and worse. When Tess decides to take revenge on her rapist, around every corner, and with every decision she takes, I kept thinking it would be worse and worse. As I think about the story, it was very satisfying as King lets her get her revenge. I loved how her cat and her GPS talk to her, or at least, the voice in her head talks back to her in this way.

After reading The Broken Shore:
Fair Extension, 31 pages
A fifty year old with cancer makes a deal with Mr Elvid (even I noticed that!)  to get revenge on his best friend from high school. Revenge is becoming a big theme in these stories. Dave Streeter gets better and his friend's life takes a turn. King is messing with my mind and my expectations of how characters will behave in this story, as he did in Big Driver. I liked it in Big Driver, and was sickened in this one. At least the story was short.

After reading Wonderstruck:
A Good Marriage, 84 pages
How well do you ever really know someone? King takes this premise and runs with it after a wife discovers her husband's secret in the garage.It's the question that everyone asks after a terrible crime is discovered: How could the wife not know? King explores this very idea. Tough reading, but again, King takes the optimistic ending for the characters.

Bonus Story: Under the Weather, 15 pages
You can see the ending coming in this one, plus King drops all kinds of hints, but you still hope this won't end the way you know it will. Young ad-man having trouble concentrating at work, worrying about his wife at home recovering from bronchitis. Spoiler if you highlight the next section: If you've read A Rose for Emily... and that's the end.


  1. Ahhhh ... lovely King stories. I need to find my copy of Night Shift. Hmmmm. And "Mr. Elvid" -- it took me a second, but I got it!

  2. I have this on my iPod, but didn't realize that they were short stories.

  3. I've been waiting to read what you thought! King really is a master of the short story. I have two earlier King short story collections that I haven't read yet. I may take a hint from you and read them a story or two at a time between novels.

  4. Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.

  5. Terri- I think Night Shift is my favorite collection of King's short stories, but it has been a long time since I'ce read it.

    Joy - well, it might be better to call them novellas as most are about 120 pages. Hope you like them! Some have some graphic sections.

    Lori - his short story collections are all pretty good. Night Shift, Everything's Eventual, and the longer Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight all come to mind as great reads.

    Amish Stories - Welcome!


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