Full Dark, No Stars is the ninth short-story volume from horror master Stephen King, and is by far one of the best. In a time when short fiction has gone the way of the dinosaur, King still manages to produce engaging examples of story-fiction.
Some of my favorite movies even are based off his shorts. The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, and Hearts in Atlantis are among them. I can’t wait to see some of these as movies… With one exception. There’s one I hope they never make a film from… Though I know they will. Hollywood loves this type of drivel.
First, the good. 1922 is an amazing and genuinely emotional story. Despite being on the surface about a man who murders his wife, down deeper it’s the story of the fall of his son. Even though both father and son engage in reprehensible behavior, you emphasize and understand them both. The only downside is the fantastical element if the zombified victims, but even this can be set aside as a manifestation of the husbands guilt. Overall a wonderful tale.
The same can be said of ‘Fair Extension’, a new and grisly take on the ‘it’s a wonderful life’ / deal with the devil scenario. This again is beautifully told, and the twist at the end is marvelous.
The final story, ‘A Good Marriage’ is the one I want to see on the silver screen the most. A great concept that is deftly written, you can’t ask for better.
The ‘dud’ then is ‘Big Driver’. While I enjoyed this at the start (its the classic abused woman revenge tale, and actually makes reference to ‘The Brave One’ within it ) it quickly meanders and becomes unreadable. The plots twists stretch suspension of disbelief past the breaking point, and I found myself continuously counting the number if pages I had left to the story while I was reading it.
What’s sad is, I’d lay money that this one will get a film adaptation. Hell, Neil Jordan will probably direct it.
All in all, it’s a good collection. 3/4 ain’t bad, and even then it’s only the last half of the one that is. Let’s call it 4/5 and be happy that, at least King is still treating us.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disagree? Comment below and rate yourselves on Goodreads!