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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 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!
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on 1 December 2010
King himself calls these stories "harsh" and indeed, I cannot think of a better word to describe them. Not easy reading by any means, but an excellent, riveting read. I was hooked from start to finish but had a few sleepless nights in the process (as I couldn't put book down, and when I did it was not easy to get the stories out of my head!).

A thought provoking book that delves into the darker side of life. If you have never read a Stephen King book before, I would perhaps suggest you do not start with this, as it is one of the darkest books of his I have read, but die hard King fans should really enjoy it.

One more point, I do not understand why people put spoilers on here?! I am glad I did not read these reviews before I read the book.
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on 22 February 2012
I was a huge fan of King's books growing up, but somewhere around 'Dreamcatcher' and 'Rose Madder' I gave up. This was recommended by several people and critics and was heralded as a return to form, with some saying King was having a renaissance in his later years. I'd say that's true.
These four novellas revolve around death, murder, guilt, revenge and redemption and only the third story (the weakest in my opinion) hints at anything supernatural. The strength of the other stories comes from the characters and the way their minds wrestle with their actions or events that unfold. He's always been very good at winning the reader over with a warm and inviting voice (think of 'Red' from 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption') that can charm you whilst simultaneously pulling you further and further into a dark and twisted world. It has to be said, at times this book is incredibly grisly and graphic, with vivd images of decaying corpses and monstrous crimes dancing around your head long after you've stopped reading. I think King may've been inspired by some of Cormac McCarthy's work when writing the first tale, "1922". It's by no means in the same league but there's an undeniable feel of darkness that's reminiscent of 'Child of God'.
As I mentioned, the third of the four is the weakest and it jarred against the sustained tension and pace of the others. It's a shame as overall it's some of the best work he's ever done. If you like horror but have grown weary of werewolves and vampires, then this will keep you entertained and reinstill some faith in one of the best mainstream writers of our time.
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It's difficult to give this collection of stories a star rating. It'd be easier to rate each of its five tales individually, as I enjoyed them differently. A couple ('1922' and 'Fair Extension') were marginally above average in terms of originality, but written with King's distinctive passion for the macabre. The former failed to stir up in me the horror that Stephen King presumably aimed to arouse in readers. The reason for this failure: the story relies almost exclusively on readers' fear of rats to drive home its emotional horror. I have no fear of furry creatures large or small; I find them cute. The tale does include some incisive observations of how humans behave under pressure. This kept me turning the pages, even though the story could have been improved by cutting its length. 'Fair Extension', on the other hand, was eminently readable from start to finish, and loaded with King's blackest humour. It's not an original story (a modern take on the Faustian deal), but the author throws in enough new details to make the upgrade effective. 'Big Driver' is an edge-of-the-seat tale of redemption told from a woman's perspective. Rich in originality, full of tension and containing beautifully fleshed out characters, it is the book's standout piece of work. 'A Good Marriage' delves into the question of how a wife might react if she discovers that her husband of several decades - the father of her children - is not the man he claims to be. It's well written and eminently satisfying in its conclusion. The bonus story - 'Under the Weather' - is short and sweet (in a sick way).

All in all, an impressive collection. Don't be afraid of the dark. Delve in.
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on 2 October 2011
Over the decades I've read a selection of Kings books not warming to the short stories and novellas besides the non horror Different Seasons which released the cult Shawshank redemption and The original Green Mile Series. For Full Dark I was instantly captivated on the direction King chose in the 4 stories the versatility and situations from the vintage farmer Wilfred in 1922's cold blooded murder comits with his son and the chilling consequences brought back shades of Pet Cemetery as I imagined giant rats scurrying around to, the contempory issue of brutal rape in Big Driver. All four stories see a different side to the Horror master. The themes are cold dark, brutal and merciless but one hell of a read , and after my last King novel read Duma Key . Duma Key's cosy fire side reading compared to the backlash of Full Dark No Stars. Which I see as Kings darkest collection ever but it's done King no wrong by the critical acclaim it's received . Dare you to risk reading this alone ! Superb.
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VINE VOICEon 19 August 2011
Basically King just knows how to spin a really good yarn!! Just the right amount of horror to fire your imagination then send it into overdrive, combined with his unique way of bringing characters to life by letting you in on their thoughts and inner voices.
I was really looking forward to reading this latest compilation of short(er) stories and I wasn't disappointed with any of them! My favourites were '1922' and 'Big Driver', but the others were all interesting in concept. Full dark...with plenty to provoke thoughts.

Next please Mr King!! :)
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on 20 January 2013
I used to be one of Stephen King's 'Constant Readers' but have lost touch with him over the years as work has taken my time and reading for pleasure seemed indulgent. A Kindle Fire HD for Christmas has given me a reason to read again and, I've got to say, I made an excellent choice for rekindling (pardon the pun) my acquaintance with Mr King.

This book is relentless in it's exploration of the darker side of the human psyche. Wonderfully penned characters put in extraordinary and dangerous situations - asking the question "What would I do?" I thought to myself then I picked up this book, has Steve still got it, or has he lost his touch as he's grown older ( and richer...?) The answer is no, if anything he has gotten better and more terrifying. Long live the King!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 February 2012
This is the third collection of four novellas Stephen King has released. The first two are Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. The common theme among the stories in this volume seems to be revenge or retribution. Readers shouldn't miss the Afterward section in which King discusses the events that prompted him to begin writing each story.

The four stories are:

"1922" reads like a Stephen King treatment of The Tell-Tale Heart. A depression-era Nebraska farmer and his son commit murder and seem to get away with it. But the experience festers in their minds and in their lives.

"Big Driver" tells about the rape of a woman on a lonely country road and the steps she takes to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. She gets some good advice from those around her. But she makes a mistake.

"Fair Extension" is a deal-with-the-devil story. Dave Streeter gets an "extension" on his life that makes his cancer go away. He doesn't have to sign away his soul. Not exactly. But he no longer envies the happy life of his best friend, Tom Goodhugh.

"A Good Marriage" introduces Darcy Anderson, who has a happy life and a part-time rare coin business with her husband Bob. One day she discovers that he is a brutal serial killer. It isn't at all clear what the next steps are.

The collection is highly recommended, especially as an audio book. I don't often sit in my car, becoming later and later for work, while I listen to the end of a story. This book did it to me twice.
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on 29 August 2011
First Steven King book to ever give me nightmares. May not mean its the scariest, i mean, i was ill when i had the nightmare and couldnt get to sleep, and my mind was still pondering on the last short story i had read - "1922".

To be precise, i actually had my wisdom tooth trying to come through (or so i assume, the dentist man wasnt very helpful). And i woke up at around 3 in the morning, and found it impossible to sleep.
I knew i had awoken from a nightmare because you get that horrible feeling where you think someone is under your bed, or in the closet. And i did think i heard a bang come from the closet - But it was my mum and dad in the next room. However i can honestly say it scared the hell out of me. And no matter how hard i tryed to sleep, i kept seeing rats lined up on my beds head board, waiting to eat me. Or Arlette's half eaten corpse in the closet.
...Yes im crazy.

All of the stories are unputdownable, and they are all quite believable. Therefore, King has done his job well. You feel like your living the life of the character. Alot of points in the story actually nearly made me physhically jump, Then smile and re-read it again, thinking how stupid i am and how clever King is for making this reaction.

All the stories are very dark, but they pull you in until the end. I myself love short stories by King aswell.

So if you dislike short stories, or are turned off by a gloomy atmosphere, this book is not for you.

If you like stories that stay with you, stories that pull you in and dont let go. This is for you ;)
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on 21 March 2014
I think that it deserves five stars because I had a lot of pleasure reading it.
I wanted to read it for such a long time since I saw it for the first time on shelf in a bookstore. Here I am writing this review around three years later or so. Why I was waiting so long to buy it? I thought about this book many times. Till I saw it again couple days ago and this time I bought it.
I was fascinated about the subject of death brought by a killer. I wanted to know what makes some people do it. S.K. creates a few really good stories. Stories full of horror, as dark as a night with no stars.
You can say that you would not be able to kill. I could say the same. However, now I do not know. How would I behave if I was the participant in one of those stories? What if something like that happened to me? I hope that I will never find out. What if it happened to you?
You think you cannot and never kill. Read this book and maybe you will be surprised.
I recommend this book to those aware that there is darkness in us and around us. Something that is even uncomfortable to consider as a reality. So I hope and maybe you too that it will never envelope, swallow, take control - call it whatever you want - that we will express it trough our action or be part of someone`s dark deed.
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