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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed but gripping and sinister collection..
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...
Published on 22 Feb. 2012 by henryhunter

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of Depressing
This wasn't a bad book. It's a collection of four short stories/novellas about what could drive someone to murder. The stories weren't bad in and of themselves. They focused on a farmer trying to save his farm, a cancer survivor trying to save his life, and 2 woman after particularly disturbing incidents.

My problem was the first story. it reminded me of so...
Published 15 months ago by Jamie Bowen


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of Depressing, 25 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Paperback)
This wasn't a bad book. It's a collection of four short stories/novellas about what could drive someone to murder. The stories weren't bad in and of themselves. They focused on a farmer trying to save his farm, a cancer survivor trying to save his life, and 2 woman after particularly disturbing incidents.

My problem was the first story. it reminded me of so many other stories that I really struggled to finish it. It probably could have done to have been removed or at least placed lower in the order, but for the fact that it got referenced indirectly in the subsequent stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW - LOVED IT, 12 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Paperback)
Mr King has done it again...LOVED this book. Stephen King was back on top form with this book. I was enthralled from beginning to end. I didn't want it too finish and was most upset when I turned over the last page - I wanted more!!!. I found all the stories intriguing,enjoyable and disturbing - but most of all the characters totally believable. Stephen King is one of the authors I always return to and know I will be getting a book of high quality. He is such a formidable force of Horror writing and this one was certainly one of his best. Mr King please write more!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Despite the title 3.5 stars!, 3 Dec. 2014
By 
A. Linton (Manchester, Manchester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Kindle Edition)
I used to be an avid reader of King back in the 80s and the early 90s. Then he lost it for me, round about 1992. For me 'Gerard's Game' was the last decent King novel published. I've tried a few since then - ('Dreamcatcher' being the worst) and got tired of being disappointed by rambling tomes that started out strong and ended up going precisely nowhere.

However I always loved King's short stories - and figured that the short story structure might mitigate against the rambling self-indulgence, the whimsy, the baby talk and the failure to deliver on the plot that have blighted his post 1992 novels. `Everything's Eventual' was a pretty good read - it had at least two very stong stories -so I thought I might try this one as well. I wouldn't describe it as a major disappointment - it had one very good tale that more or less redeemed it in my eyes but don't go into it expecting another `Night Shift' or `Skeleton Crew'. On the plus side it never quite sinks to the level of the rehashed leftovers that is `Nightmares and Dreamscapes'.

The opening tale `1922' illustrates what King meant by this being a `darker' collection - in that the protagonist starts out miserable, goes on to be even more miserable and we are assured from the start, has even more misery waiting for him in the future. It's not particularly original - think `The Telltale heart' meets `Natural Born Killers' and it's blindingly obvious what the outcome of both storylines will be right from the start. It had few strong scenes but it outstays it's welcome badly, rambling on to a not very original or exciting conclusion. It did leave me feeling quite unnerved though so I have to give it at least some credit for that. Score 3.5

The second story `Big Driver' - a chilling tale of rape and revenge, starts out rather weakly -then comes the sequence featuring the actual attack and its aftermath which is very well written and imagined and kept me gripped the whole way through, sadly only to lose my attention when it turns into an overlong rambling revenge fantasy including confusing sequences where the victim appears to be talking to imaginary friends. I speedily went from being absorbed in the story to boredom, flipping pages in the hope of getting to something more exciting. A missed opportunity - 3.5

'Fair Exchange' starts out strongly but soon turns into overfamiliar territory when the protagonist - who is suffering from terminal cancer - makes a deal with a man called `Mr Elvid'. From then on King just follows a `lather rinse repeat' formula until presumably he reaches a high enough word count to just end it without bringing any closure to the reader. Score 2.

The fourth story `A Good Marriage' - which saves the collection IMO - is based pretty heavily on the story of a real life serial killer and none the worse for that. I prefer King when he is sticking more or less to reality, or some popular mythology such as vampires or telekinesis not branching off into some obscure realm of his own imagination. I've read an account of this case and King poses the question which will be on most readers' minds - did his wife really not suspect anything over all those years and if so what did she do when she found out? Once the tension kicks in it doesn't let up and this tale, for a change, kept me gripped the whole way through. Score 5.

I have to comment that the writing style in these stories seems to veer between very terse, gripping prose and feeble uninvolving sequences which I just skipped over. I wonder if he farmed it out to someone else and just wrote the gritty parts himself? Overall score 3.5.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Our dark selves under scrutiny, 10 Nov. 2013
By 
Mr. P. Labrow (Stockport, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Kindle Edition)
Don't ask me why, I'd just not got around to reading this one, even though I'd bought it a couple of years ago. Full Dark, No Stars consists of four (loosely) thematically linked novellas.

The first story, 1992, is a man's first-person confession of a killing - and in many ways owes more than a tip of the hat to Poe's A Tell-Tale Heart. The second story, Dig Driver, is darker still - the revenge of a rape victim. The third, Fair Extension, deals with a pact and its consequences - though this is far from being The Monkey's Paw. The final story, A Good Marriage, deals with the horror of discovering that the man you've lived with most of your life isn't what he seems.

Stephen King describes these stories as harsh. It's an accurate word. Although there are hints (and sometimes more than hints) of the supernatural, these are really tales of the dark that is within us all - those parts of human nature which we tell ourselves don't exist, or occur only rarely. We may tell ourselves this, yet we know even as we do that this is self-deceit. Such darkness is around us - we only have to watch the news to know this is the truth. Sometimes the darkness is close to us. Sometimes it is inside us.

It can be the case with a collection of shorter stories that there's one stand-out story and at least one lame duck. Not so here. Each story is as strong as the next - an engaging plot that's driven forwards by believable, though flawed, characters in horrific situations.

None suffer from `clockwork plot' syndrome (that you can tell instantly where things are going and nothing falls in the characters' paths). None miss a step. None dawdle or linger. None flinch in the face of giving the reader the truth - the truth that's a bone, broken, with skin and flesh torn away. These are examinations of human nature; the dark with the light - though of course mostly dark.

Yet, the stories never become salacious. This isn't horror porn, it's our dark selves under scrutiny. What someone might do if tempted, pushed or cornered.

King remains a gripping writer. Someone who is able to conjure characters that are as solid and believable as your own neighbours, friends and family. He's also someone who's a master of not just the novel but also the novella - so unfashionable elsewhere, perhaps, but here the stories are exactly right for the word count.
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4.0 out of 5 stars THE DARK SIDE, 26 July 2013
By 
Red Rock Bookworm (St. George Utah USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Paperback)
It appears that I am a couple of years late in reading Stephen King's FULL DARK, NO STARS, a set of four novellas that cover every aspect of the human behavior from rape and retribution, marriage and murder, crime and complicity to resentment, jealousy, denial and a deal with the devil. In each of his stories King's characters are all, in their way, forced to deal with the devil. You know the devil, right? He is that selfish beast, that little voice that wants what it wants, is willing to abandon conscience, make concessions, live in a world of denial and damn the consequences - and in King's world that cunning little guy is lurking just below the surface in each of us waiting for that perfect moment to make his appearance.

Other reviewers have commented at some length on each of the stories in this collection so I will not. Just know that this master storyteller has once again crafted a group of harrowing tales that are profoundly astute and often facetious in their examination of the ins and outs of human nature.

As always, King's writing is vivid and his observations are usually right on the money as he shines his light into some dark and unpleasant places so that we can all get a better look. Take for example his comments about the cancer victims' last hope, "chemotherapy". In Fair Extension, the third offering in this book a character expresses the following, "Chemo is the agony surcharge the patient pays for hope". This is certainly a pessimistic comment, but you must admit, one that is oh so true.

As its title infers these are tales that take the reader's imagination into murky, closeted places in the human soul. Hopefully we are a species strong enough to live in a way that allows us to escape this darkness......but reading the paper and watching television news each day does make us wonder and question if we hope in vain.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Less Supernatural, The Better, 1 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Paperback)
Fellow readers might not agree but I always feel when King ditches the vampires, ghouls, ghosts and aliens he is a more interesting and absorbing writer. So it is with this collection, in two out of the four stories.

The first, 1922, is that hokiest of ploys, the confession scribbled down as the forces of retribution are closing in. The protagonist, Wilfred Leland James, is at odds with his wife, who wishes to sell their farm to a corporation for big bucks that will mean their not having to scratch a living any more. Husband and son are opposed; husband eventually persuades son to do her in and hide the body down a well. Only the well attracts rats, which spread throughout the house and seem to purse Wilfred wherever he goes. Son goes off the rails, leaves home and becomes half of a sort of Bonny-and-Clyde team. The story starts off with some fusty stylistic tics like 'twas and capitalizing types like 'Conniving Man' and there are Biblical homilies but fortunately King abandons these. Still, it doesn't do a great deal for cohesion.

The third story, Fair Extension, tells of Dave Streeter, who is on chemotherapy. Stopping by a roadside to puke, he comes across a trader who promises him an extension on whatever he chooses. Which of course is his life. The roadside trader is called Mr Elvid (su pleh doG) and the catch is not that Dave has to sell his soul but the balancing aspect of evil luck has to happen to someone he hates. Dave reluctantly selects a buddy whose good fortune he has always envied. There are some fine details, as always with King: Mr Elvid's stall umbrella that glows yellow in the dying light but really turns out to be grey, the folksy sign by a dumpster: DERRY DAWG SEZ 'PUT LITTER IN ITS PLACE!' However, breaking the rule of Show, Don't Tell, King's story reads subsequently like a police report.

The other two stories in the collection are marvellous and more than worth the price of the book. Both, significantly, eschew external paranormal phenomena and concentrate on psychological realism. In Bad Driver, the second story, a lady crime writer is set up after a public reading and raped and left for dead by a grossly fat, psychopathic truck driver. Barely surviving, she nevertheless draws on her innate detective skills to exact revenge. The story is consistently gripping and convincing and again, it is King's eye for the telling detail that makes the whole thing so horribly believable. (The villainess' dreadful house, stuffed to the brim with troll dolls and The Sound of Music carolling through the stereo; the rapist grotesquely dancing to 'Brown Sugar'.) I am sure a film will be made of this at some point - at least I hope so. And a bit better than The Brave One, the Jodie Foster vehicle mentioned in the story.

You're happily married, your husband is a good father and provider, if a trifle dull. But what if, one evening when he's out of town, you discover he's a murderous rapist? Your good, honest man is Ted Bundy. This is the starting point for the last story, A Good Marriage. Particularly impressive is the denouement, nothing melodramatic or blood-curdling, and again, very psychologically convincing.

On the whole, although I enjoyed the unfolding of events in the first story, I did find it somewhat thin in terms of content, bolstered instead by powerful details that only drew attention to its absurdity, rather like putting a stained glass rose window in Wall-Mart. Enjoy the other two, and think perhaps how the third might have been an inspired black comedy, a genre King hasn't fully attempted, but could quite easily.
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5.0 out of 5 stars King Gets Back, 12 Feb. 2012
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic!, 10 April 2012
This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Paperback)
Stephen King can be a bit hit and miss. When he's good (eg Dolores Claibourne) he's terrific. When he's bad (Needful Things) he's dire. But thankfully he's well back on form with this series of novella/long short stories. The one featuring the well is a masterpiece of hideousness and had me looking behind me in the dark (I was actually on holiday and pulling up water from a well as dusk came and had been reading the book during the day!) But all the tales are good here and merit a second and even third read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why and what triggers people to kill?, 21 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping. I Couldn't Put This Down., 23 July 2011
By 
Rebecca Thompson (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Full Dark, No Stars (Kindle Edition)
I have been a huge Stephen King fan for years but in recent years have found some of his books disappointing. That changed when he published Under The Dome and continues with Full Dark, No Stars.
At £[] it was a bargain and I read it in 3 days. It's a collection of 4 short stories and each one kept me gripped. I don't want to spoil the stories for anybody so will give only a brief review of each story.
The first story is about a man who has murdered his wife and is writing his confession of the crime many years later. (This was my favourite book and I found it very upsetting in places).
The second story is about a lady called Tess who is attacked while driving home late one night. (I did figure out the ending but still enjoyed it).
The third is about a man dying of terminal cancer who is given the chance of a miracle cure but is the price he must pay too high? (A lot shorter than the other stories but still very good)
The final story is about a woman called Darcey who after having been happily married for 27 years discovers a horrifying secret about her husband (another great story with a great twist at the end that I didn't see coming).
I loved this book and cannot wait to see what Stephen publishes next.
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