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The Dark Half [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Nov 2011

Creating George Stark was easy. Getting rid of him won't be . . .

The sparrows are flying again. The idea - unbidden, inexplicable - haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont's mind.

Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona 'George Stark', author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own name, and his menacing pseudonym has been buried forever.

And yet . . . the sparrows are flying again, and something is terribly wrong in Thad Beaumont's world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (10 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444708155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444708158
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In 1985, 39-year-old Stephen King announced in public that his pseudonymous alter ego, Richard Bachman, was dead. (Never mind that he revived him years later to write The Regulators.) At the beginning of The Dark Half, 39-year-old writer Thad Beaumont announces in public that his own pseudonym, George Stark, is dead.

Now, King didn't want to jettison the Bachman novel, titled Machine Dreams, that was he working on. So he incorporated it in The Dark Half as the crime oeuvre of George Stark, whose recurring hero/alter ego is an evil character named Alexis Machine.

Thad Beaumont's pseudonym is not so docile as Stephen King's, though, and George Stark bursts forth into reality. At that point, two stories kick into gear: a mystery-detective story about the crime spree of George Stark (or is it Alexis Machine?) and a horror story about Beaumont's struggle to catch up with his doppelganger and kill him dead.

This is not the first time that Stephen King has written a dark allegory about the fiction writer's situation. As the New York Times writes, Misery (1987) is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his audience, which holds him prisoner and dictates what he writes, on pain of death. The Dark Half is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his creative genius, the vampire within him, the part of him that only awakes to raise Cain when he writes, the fratricidal twin who occupies "the womblike dungeon" of his imagination." --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


America's greatest living novelist (Lee Child)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Stephen King...very gory!!! 22 Feb 2004
By Sue Lewendon VINE VOICE
I read this a few years ago and the story has managed to stay pretty well intact in my mind. That shows that this is a good story.
It's about an author who, as a child, suffered with bad headaches. On examination, the doctors find that he has a growth in his brain. When they go in to operate, they discover the growth is actually body parts of what can only have been his twin. Somehow they have started growing and so they are removed.
Years later, Thad Beaumont becomes a very successful writer. But the books he writes are beginning to get him down as they all tell tales of a pretty nasty character. As well received as these are, Thad decides to retire the character and move on to other, nicer stories.
The character, George Stark, isn't happy about this and decides to stop Thad. How is this possible you might well ask? Anything is possible in the safe hands of King.
Then begins a truly horrifying tale of good vs evil as Thad comes to realise that George isn't just a figment of his imagination. He will do anything to protect his wife and twins, and George will do anything to stay a part of this world....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Pulp Horror 6 July 2013
By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Dark Half is, appropriately enough given its subject matter, one of those novels where the author's life and the author's work overlap. Stephen King published a few early books under the name Richard Bachman and then, when the secret was out, he 'retired' Bachman from service. In The Dark Half novelist Thad Beaumont publishes literary works under his own name and violent pulp thrillers under the name George Stark. When a needy lowlife stumbles across the secret Thad decides to kill Stark off anyway and avoid the possibility of blackmail but the trouble is Stark refuses to stay dead.

I think the premise behind The Dark Half is about as good as a horror novel can ever hope to have - a respected novelist with a wife, kids and a comfortable lifestyle in staid middle-class America who finds himself pursued and threatened by a violent alter ego who really shouldn't exist. I sense King had great fun with the idea himself and the result is a fantastically over the top homage to Jekyll and Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray on the one hand and the pulp EC Comics - notably the Tales from the Crypt series from the mid-1950s - on the other. The tag-line for the novel is 'George Stark. Not a very nice guy' and Stark's insane murder spree as he bumps off interfering cops, nosy journalists and literary publishers before targeting Thad and his wife is as accomplished and unpleasant a piece of pulp noir writing as you'll ever find. It's to the book's benefit that even though Stark is an abomination it's impossible not to have a sneaking admiration for him. He may have no right to exist but having crawled into reality from the dark-side of an author's imagination he's going to have a damn good stab at staying there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Written shortly after Stephen King revealed his own alter-ego, The Dark-Half takes the pseudonym author idea to the worst possible case scenario! What would you do if your alter-ego came to life and started killing everyone close to you in a desperate bid to make you write the book which would save his soul. A great yarn and a wonderfully abstract view of the heart of schizophrenia. Read it and see for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great story from King 25 Aug 2010
I like Stephen King. He does what a popular writer is supposed to do: he writes gripping stories so well you just have to keep reading. And I like the fact that he deals with contemporary America in a mythologising but totally realistic way - he is the Spielberg of the novel. More than that, the plot of this book is tight, simple, and memorable. Any sub-plots are kept that way - just sub-plots - so there are no silly diversions. I found the ending a little obvious as it approached, but even so, I wanted to be there to see it happen! A great story from one of the best living writers.
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My favourite King novel of all time, a small but significant inch above "Misery". Like "Misery", this is the story of a writer, a close-to-home topic through which King's genius really shines.

Thad Beaumont, a serious and seriously undeappreciated author, has been paying the bills writing under the pseudonym of George Stark for some time now. Stark's novels are gritty, gory, sadistic blood-fests which the public can't get enough of, but the real writer in Thad has had enough of living a lie: he stages Stark's funeral, announcing to the world Stark's death and, hopefully, the birth of his success as himself.

George Stark, as you may imagine, is less than thrilled at being proclaimed dead... terror ensues.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good - but not the usual 30 Jun 2008
good but strange King novel.
feels like he wanted to write two different stories (one about evil and sparrows and one about writing) but ended up mushing them together instead. and its all the better for it.
the first half is intense and gruesome, lots of murders and mystery, then the second half is an inevitable slog to what we know has to happen.
the supernatural stuff is great, but the story as a whole is quite unlike Steven King.
anyways, action packed, convoluted and manic (it reads like a vastly superior Philip K Dick) King manages to create very interesting characters that you begin to care about very early on. great characterization throughout.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As always - a brilliant writer with a gripping story!
Published 1 month ago by Sue'sViews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book
I thought this book was pretty good good story line easy to follow. it kept me read in til the end. worth the read in any circumstance wether you like stephen king or not. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gather the dark
This is a great story of darkness and fear.

The true strength of this tale is that it continues to influence authors today, from the amazing A Gathering of Twine (The... Read more
Published 2 months ago by M Sockel
4.0 out of 5 stars horror reading.
the dark half stephen king good reading typical stephen king writing very all his other works.worth 4 stars.regards

r cawthorne.
Published 5 months ago by roystonroy
4.0 out of 5 stars Great dark tale
A dark side in us all but never should it come to life and take over the good inside.

Will never look at twins in the same way :-)
Published 9 months ago by lnhagat
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King.
Great book at a great price .May be biased because i enjoy Stephen King books . But this is up there withhis best.
Published 10 months ago by Robboscrew
4.0 out of 5 stars I hope Bachman was never like this!
George Stark is the pen-name of "serious" Maine author, Thad Beaumont. Dreamed up while Thad was suffering from writer's block, Stark writes the sort of pulpy, violent thrillers... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rowena
5.0 out of 5 stars What does one say?
I'm still reading this book and, as with all Stephen King creations, just love it. I think the whole population of the world should read all of his books ...
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. Elizabeth Hodgson
4.0 out of 5 stars One of his better thrillers
Thad Beaumont, a famous author (yet another author - King loves writing about what he knows), has just killed off his nom de plume, George Stark, whose name he used to write his... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Craig Manton
5.0 out of 5 stars Angela
Loved it. Had a nightmare about birds halfway through though. I was worried as I had never heard about this Stephen King book before, I have nearly read all of them now, but like... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Angela Phillips
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