Full Dark, No Stars

  • by Stephen King
  • Narrated by Craig Wasson, Jessica Hecht
  • 14 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger...." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922", the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.
In "Big Driver", a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.
"Fair Extension", the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.
When her husband of more than 20 years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It's a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.
Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

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What the Critics Say

"[T]hese tales show how a skilled storyteller with a good tale to tell can make unsettling fiction compulsively readable." (Publishers Weekly)
"King has gone on record saying he believes that American readers should pay more attention to the virtues of short fiction... if anyone can get reluctant short-story and novella readers into the swing, he certainly can with this book." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Dark Collection, Four Stories

King says that these short stories are about ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances.
The first story set in the 1920s, follows a desperate act carried out by a father and son in a frantic attempt to save their farm. They become haunted men, and although their hope was to be able to continue their simple life on the farm, things turn out quite differently for these two. I like the feeling of creepy suspense and the gruesome moments in this story, This is Mr. King's signature type of tale.
The next three stories set in current times keep the pace with the first.
The second story is about a female mystery writer who finds herself all alone with a broken down vehicle on a deserted country road. This story maintains tension and suspense throughout, keeping the reader engaged to the end. I like the way the writer makes us think he has forgotten a loose end, this keeps us second guessing him.
The third story was my least favorite. The main character who has only a few months left to live, visits a roadside stand manned by Elvid, who sells "extensions". For me, this story seemed predictable, lacking the depth of the other short stories in this collection.
The last story was also quite good; a wife learns more about her husband than she ever wishes she had. This story for me, was less about the husband's evil side, and more about the wife's dilemma. This story has great suspense and keeps the reader thinking.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed these short stories and look forward to more from SK!
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- Suzn F "I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?"

Eerie, honest, frightening!

Listening to the first fifteen minutes of King's latest novella were not only mesmerizing but horrifying. My knuckles were white after listening to the opening minutes of 1922. In this story we are introduced to Wilf James, his wife Arlette and son teenage Henry. In just 15 minutes my hands hurt from squeezing the steering wheel. Why? Wilf does not like his wife much. Not much at all. He quickly tells us some of the reasons for his loathing. I do not care much for her myself after listening to Wilf. But Wilf displays his revulsion for Arlette in a way different than I would. He plans, with his son of course, her MURDER. Yep, and he has already discussed her extermination with Henry before we tune in. Does Henry help? I 'ain't' telling. But what happens during those first few minutes of 1922 sets off a rocket that flies an errant path that Wilf never intended it to follow. Nor did I. Nor will you.

1922, Big Driver, Fair Extension and A Good Marriage are all fantastic stories. Some parts of these tales are very, very difficult to listen to. But you will dear reader. By turn I was sympathetic and full of hatred for the "bad" people populating Kings creepy mind. I was surprised at how much sympathy I did have for the villains. That is scarier than any BOO in the dark. And disturbing. There is no way for me to pick any of the four as a favorite. The best I can do is say I loved 'em all and will listen to them again. King gives the listener a lot to think about. The recurring theme in all four stories is the real person inside each of us. A stranger or a monster lurks inside everyone. The stranger we know least lurks in those we love most-how comforting.. Right?
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- Parusski "Loyal member since 1998"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-09-2010
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio