Friday, May 6, 2011

Full Dark, No Stars; Stephen King

Author: Stephen King
Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Edition: audiobook
Readers:  Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht (both excellent)
Source: Library
Date Completed: 5/6/2011 
Setting: New England and Midwest
Rating: 4.5/5
Recommend: Yes
It has been many many years since I've read or listened to a Stephen King book, but recently I felt the need to read outside of my comfort zone, so I decided to try King once again.  I am so happy that I did. None of the stories were really gory, and I only felt the tiniest bit squeamish was with the first story, 1922, as there were some scenes with rats. Other than that, I think this book was a pleasantly toned down Stephen King.

The audiobook is on (12) cds, and the two readers, Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht were simply fantastic. The book has (4) separate stories.
  1. 1922 - is about a rural Midwest husband who murders his wife because she wants to sell off part of family farm, so she can move to the big city-Omaha. The husband, Wilfred, evens convinces his teenage son Hank to help carry out the deed. The story takes place in 1922, when farming was a way of life. In this story, nothing goes as smoothly as Wilfred Leland James envisioned.  In this story there are a few scenes that rats kept appearing, and that part made me a bit queasy.  Despite this, I liked the execution of this story and thin it was my 3rd favorite of the 4 stories.
  2. Big Driver - Tess is an author of detective mystery books; she is in her 30s. She is invited to speak at the, Chicopee Public Library....(it's a real place in New England. I grew up in this Massachusetts city). After her talk at the library, she is given alternate directions for a shortcut by the head librarian. The shortcut, turns out to be a near deadly experience for her that she'll never forget.  In fact, all she can think of is getting her revenge. My 2nd favorite of 4 stories.
  3. Fair Extension - The weakest story, in my opinion is about a man with cancer who makes a deal with the devil, at the expense of someone else, in exchange for a longer life.  It is quite funny at times, but this story ranked 4th out of 4 for me.
  4. A Good Marriage was my favorite story...#1 out of 3 for me. In this story, Bob and Darcy Anderson, a couple from New England, have been married for 28 years, and have had a happy marriage and now adult children. When Bob is away on a business trip, as is often the case, Darcy, accidentally uncovers, the elements of her husband's secret life tucked neatly away in a secret area of the garage.  What is a wife to do when she discovers that her husband has a darker side which he has long kept hidden?
Each of these stories was good in its own way, and the first person narration worked like a charm . Stephen King is a master of his trade. I love the way he made me as the reader see just how easy it can be for some people, at least in these stories to be conniving, deceitful, and vengeful. There were times that the revenge even seemed right in these stories, and I found myself rooting for the person who was carrying out the act.  At least in one or two stories, I found myself wondering what I would do under similar circumstances.

If you enjoy audiobooks, and would like to give a gentler Stephen King a try, this book of (4) short stories may be just perfect for you.  My husband even got caught up in one of the stories on a brief trip, and commented how great the readers were. Seriously, I don't think you will lose sleep listening to these stories. I thought they were great.


  1. I've always thought King's work would be too scary for me, but this one sounds like one I could handle. Thanks for your review!

  2. First I have to chuckle, I just came from a course devoted to all things Faust, and here you read Fair Extension, which sounds like a Faustian story. I cannot get away!
    I have not read King for years either. I used to be a hard core King fan, but found his writing starting to become tedious. I may pick this up and try him again.

  3. I read this one and posted about it last week. I think we felt just about the same about the stories. Fair Extension was my least favorite too. I really liked it.

  4. These do sound good, and not too scary. But I'd still like to read (or watch) Pet Sematary!

  5. I have just read one book by Stephen King - it scared me so much that I could not sleep for almost a week !
    Full Dark, No Stars sounds like something I will be able to read - it doesn't sound as scary as his other books.

  6. I've got this one on my shelf - I am looking forward to reading it. Great review!

  7. I generally consider myself too much of a wimp to read King!

  8. I like Stephen King, even some of the gory stuff. I haven't read any of his books in the past few years, he writes too many for me to keep up. My favorite collection of his is Four Past Midnight, which I didn't find too scary. Anyway, thanks for the recommendation. I think I'll get the audio from the library on this one.

  9. I think King shines at shorter fiction. It sounds like these are novellas rather than short stories? I haven't read King in awhile. I should try him again. I remember wanting to read his Dome book and then not following up.

  10. I've been a fan of Stephen King since before he became well known. I have this book in my stack of books to be read. I'll have to move it to the top of the stack.

  11. I've loved Stephen King since I was in high school, but it's been forever since I've read one of his books. Sounds like this might be a good one to pick up where I left off! =)

  12. I may have to give this one a chance. Like you, it's been eons since I've read King. Maybe he's mellowed out huh?

  13. Not every book of Stephen King worked for me but I would try these short stories - thanks!

  14. I feel as if King has mellowed a bit with age. Not that he's lost that edge (certainly not!) but that his stories are less graphic but somehow scarier. I am so glad you enjoyed this one. I so wanted to read it when it first came out but I got sidetracked.

  15. I don't know that I'll read the whole book, but I'll definitely check out your favorite story of the collection: A Good Marriage.

  16. I gave up reading King years ago, until Under the Dome came out and Dave and I read it together. He is such a wonderful writer - if only he could write happy stores :) I may give King another try. Short stories might be easier to take.

  17. My husband listened to this audio recently and highly recommended it.


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