Top positive review
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A dark voyage into Crime and Punishment, in company of the Devil...
on 14 May 2012
As one of Stephen King's "constant readers" I was delighted to discover this collection of four extremely dark tales.
The title is very well chosen - there is hardly any light shining in this "voyage into the heart of darkness", therefore you should be ready for the very tough stuff, even harder and darker than the rest of King's works. Here, evil is everywhere and it leaves a mark even on the good people - and sometimes swallows them whole.
The first story, "1922", is the longest, the darkest, the hardest - and the best! Without providing too much spoilers let's just say that it describes a troubled family of farmers from Nebraska who, in 1922, find themselves in financial and personal troubles - and something must be done about it... It is a "crime and punishment" story, described in a very King'ish style, with just a very slight (but masterly applied) touch of Lovecraftian atmosphere in the second part. I was deeply shocked but also very very impressed by this story and I count it amongst the best things Stephen King's ever wrote!
The second story, "Big Driver", is not as excellent as the first one, but it is still a very honest read. This one is also a "crime and punishment" story, but here the word "punishment" should be in fact understood as "revenge" or "vigilante justice". The main hero here is a woman who was victim of a terrible crime and who, at the peril of her life, wants retribution... A very dramatic story, well written, with a great lot of unexpected twists.
The third story, "Fair extension", is a retelling of a Faustian deal with the Devil. It is very shocking, and it could seem to be completely immoral - but watch carefully for the one and only Biblical hint in the story and then judge by yourself, if the hero of "fair extension" really got such a sweat deal... A good, clever story, with a hidden level...
The last one, "A good marriage", is maybe not a masterpiece, but again it is a good, dramatic and well written thing - and in my opinion it carries the prize for the most ironic title...))) A happy, middle-aged house wife has the silly idea to clean the garage when her husband travels for business - and her world crumbles all of a sudden... I will say no more, as you deserve to discover it by yourself...)))
All in all it is a very, very good book, which I enjoyed greatly. Just, please, be warned again, that "1922" is an absolutely horrifying, heartbreaking story and this is a stuff that can feed your nightmares for months. Not to read if you feel already a little bit down or are experiencing a moment of financial or personal problems. Except for this little warning, I have only one more word to say - ENJOY!