Review: Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars
 Title: Full Dark, No Stars  AuthorStephen King
 PublisherScribner  4star
 Publication Date: 2010  Genre: Fiction, Horror, Anthology, 

Why Picked:

It is Steven King
A new collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephen King.
The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.
Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.
Fair Extension
Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.
A Good Marriage
Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage. [1]
I always find it difficult to review anthologies.  Often stories are uneven and I wish that I could rate them all individually in the many book tracking programs I use.  This is not an exception.  While evenly divided between supernatural horror and human horror, although “1922” could be argued for both sides, I find that King is at his best when writing 1,000 page tomes.  I love him for his characters and short stories do not usually give him the length necessary to create characters who are fully developed and who I care about.
“1922” and “Fair Extension” both contain supernatural elements which are generally King’s forte.  “1922” much like Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” makes you wonder if it is it in his head or is it reality or does it even matter because in your head is your reality.  “Fair Extension” shows us the perfect picture of a heartless bastard and his deal with the devil. I disliked the character and wondered if one could really make the deal and continue to live and love like Dave Streeter. Neither Wilfred James nor Dave Streeter was developed enough that I could look past their actions and see the person beneath.  My ability to be OK with unidimensional baddies was completely broken by Al Swearengen in Deadwood and Gene Hunt in Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars. Both of these guys were bastards but bastards you cared about.
“Big Driver” and “Good Marriage” are both less supernatural horror and more psychological horror.  While both stories are about justice, “Big Driver” is at its heart a story about revenge and “Good Marriage” about secrets. I found “Big Driver” much less interesting than the other stories in this anthology mostly because the victim revenge plot is uninteresting to me and done over and over.  Now, “Good Marriage” on the other hand was my favorite.  It addressed a question from back in my academic days, “how could she have not known?”
Overall I good first read for the new year but it was no The Stand or Under the Dome.

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