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"Full Dark, No Stars" is comprised of four novellas that each deal with individuals living the reality of the common fantasy question "What would you do if..." Each tale explores the darker side of human nature and involves the characters making morally grey (or sometimes utterly black) decisions that have lasting impacts on their own lives or the lives of others.
Whilst I understand King's interest in exploring this disturbing theme, I found the majority of the stories unoriginal, with the exception of one. "1922" basically boils down to the story of a man who becomes tired of his wife and kills her. Although the aftermath has supernatural elements, I found this story dragged on for too long and wasn't very intriguing. It was however quite grotesque, which is King all over.
"Big Driver" was a little more interesting, but still mostly unoriginal: a woman is raped and almost killed and decides she wants revenge on the man that abused her. The story was suspenseful at times and the finale was quite good. However no supernatural elements were present, which is not a bad thing from King. He has written a number of stories that don't have any ghouls and ghosts and they are marvelous to read. I guess I've come to expect more from King.
"Fair Extension" was the most enjoyable of the four stories. I put this down to the enigmatic character of Elvid and what he offers to Streeter, the main character: a life extension and reprieve from the cancer that is eating him from the inside. Of course there is a catch; Streeter must put the burden on someone else, someone he knows well. The story loses its intrigue from this point and ends all too abruptly with no real closure, which was a little frustrating.
"A Good Marriage" is the last tale and once again falls into the unoriginal category: a loving wife discovers her husband of 27 years is a serial killer. This story was one of those that the reader just wants to finish, but drags on for too long again. Quite uninspired.
As previously stated, I feel I have come to expect more from King with his story ideas. That supernatural element is what he uses best and whilst its absence from the majority of these tales could be viewed as a nice diversion from the norm, the book suffers because of it. The reason being that the stories aren't intriguing and due to their seen-it-before nature, there is nothing to keep the reader interested. At least it didn't keep this reader interested.
Stephen King takes a refreshing departure from the supernatural and fanciful, to take a tour of the darker parts of soul of the average everyperson. While "Full Dark, No Stars" consists of four seemingly unrelated tales, they are all wonderfully bound together in the unasked question, "what would you do?" While not all the stories get an equal amount of time to unfold, the first story "1922" almost overstaying it's welcome, they are all well-rounded and most importantly entertaining.
The two narrators do an admirable job with these tales of misfortune, greed and human frailty, however if I was to have one complaint it is that Jessica Hecht sometimes sounds a little too cheerful for the gravitas of the material.
These aren't stories that will chill you to the bone, but they are stories that will hang around in your mind long after the narration has ended.
My first SK book and I'm looking out for my next as this was superb. All 4 stories were great but the 1st 2 were excellent and the 2nd my favourite. I was on tender hooks and thought it was just as edge of the seat as it would have been had it been on the screen, the narration is flawless, both narrators brought the stories to life and had me hooked.I suggested my son give this a go for his intro to audio and he's hooked now too! Even if you think you're not usually a SK fan you will be after this. One of my favourites now. Highly recommend.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Don't start listening unless you are prepared to fake illness so you can keep listening without interruption for hours at a time. So people are having parties to which you're invited? So it's Monday morning and you have a job? So a giant centipede is crawling across the ceiling above your bed? Tough: you've started listening to this and you have to keep going. Great stories and great readers.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The short stories in the collection are entertaining, and a good length. Not so long as to be a full-on read, but long enough to be good entertainment. well presented. Good length for a medium rod trip!