The Dark Half
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The Dark Half

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  72,404 ratings  ·  846 reviews
Creating George Stark was easy. Getting rid of him won't be...

The sparrows are flying again. The idea - unbidden, inexplicable - haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont's mind. Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona 'George Stark', author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own na...more
Paperback, 469 pages
Published October 7th 1990 by New English Library (first published January 1st 1989)
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The Stand by Stephen KingIt by Stephen KingThe Shining by Stephen KingMisery by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Best of Stephen King
44th out of 120 books — 2,072 voters
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Best Horror Novels
65th out of 1,115 books — 3,400 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kemper
Stephen King once wrote some books under the pen name Richard Bachman, but the gag was blown by a book store clerk in 1985. In The Dark Half, a writer using a pen name is exposed and a murderous rampage occurs as a result with numerous victims getting killed in a variety of gruesome ways, including one guy getting beaten to death with his own prosthetic arm. Uh…Mr. King? I can assure you that I have no interest at all in revealing any secret of yours that I may accidently come across someday. I...more
Shanti
Dec 04, 2013 Shanti rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Short read and my first Stephen King book. I used to regard King as a pop-writer. I had a neighbor who couldn't get enough of him about 20 years ago. I just rolled my eyes at her. Now I'm her. LOL.

This book is a great gate-way drug to King. It was left in my apt. laundry room in the giveaway pile. I picked it up whilst waiting for my laundry to finish and stayed in the laundry room for the next hour. Character development from page 1. I have to admit ... now I have a bit of a problem. Is there...more
Delee
Before and after reading THE DARK HALF, I read some reviews of this book...as usual, some I liked, and some I didn't. I don't normally argue with someone about their thoughts on a novel- because everyone has a right to their own opinion, but I will say - I really dislike when people call Stephen King a hack. Fine I get it, you don't like him...you will never read another word he writes, but name calling is really unnecessary, and it not only insults the author, but it insults the people who enjo...more
Mara
Brace yourself for some layers of authorship! Ready? This book was written by Stephen King as Stephen King not too long after the "death" by exposure of his pseudonym Richard Bachman. The story is about an author, Thad Beaumont, who, under similar circumstances, has just laid to rest his own successful pseudonym, George Stark. Trouble is, George Stark isn't too keen on going quietly into the night. And George Stark can be one high toned son of a bitch.

High Toned Son of a Bitch

I love it when King writes about writers (...more
Kent
Oct 01, 2007 Kent rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no
I don't like Stephen King, and this book is a great example why. He is, at best, a hack writer. While many people consider him a master of horror, there is nothing horrific here. What King does seem to be a master of is gore! With his attention to detail, and need to describe every bloody act down to the last audible pop, you'll have quite a picture painted for you, but you won't feel fear. Here's a clue he needs to get. If you want me to feel terror, paint the landscape, and place a few images...more
Richard
6.5/10

This book had some good ideas and I liked how it felt that Stephen King was a little cross that Richard Bachman was ousted and did what he does best and got mad with his words.

An engaging story to a point; the start is well set out with a nice setting up of the background with Thad reading his write up of his family in a magazine and then there is the introduction of the "dark half" and then there seems to be a large portion in the middle which lacked any real momentum in my opinion. Whils...more
Stephen
2.0 to 2.5 stars. It has been a long time since I read this, but I remember thinking it was one of my least favorite Stephen King novels. I think the fact that I remember so little of it is probably indicative of my relative lack of interest in it at the time. I will probably go back and read it again at some point so I can do a proper review.
Jean-marcel
I had a best friend when I was growing up. As we entered highschool we discovered we had different interests, were living in different towns, and didn't have the same sort of friends. However, up until that point we were virtually inseparable. We would sleep over at each others' houses and stay awake all night making up all manner of crazy stories, playing pranks on friends and enemies, and sometimes, reading books.

I remember we listened to the audiobook of this one. I'm pretty sure it was the f...more
Rade
Don’t care what others say, I personally loved this book. Although I am a bit late to the game and am just now reading this book, I can honestly say I loved every page of it; from Thad and his wife to the adorable little twins and their need to always seek each other and cuddle together. The detective was also good without coming off as cocky or too heroic. The writing is great as always, the dialogue is very realistic considering the situations, and even the “villain” is awesome. I know, he doe...more
Jane Stewart
3 ½ stars. Above average crime suspense.

I didn’t feel that I “really liked it” which is my definition for 4 stars, because at times things felt a little slow. But it was very good with good ideas.

A scary guy is killing people. The victims have links to Thad who is an author. There are paranormal elements to the bad guy, but it doesn’t feel supernatural. He is cunning, strong, and can frequently sense what others are thinking. It’s hard to beat a bad guy who can sense your thoughts.

This is not th...more
Kit★
I haven't read this one since high school, nigh on ten years ago, twelve if I say I read it as a freshman, I can't remember. That time was the only time I'd read this book, so it was way past due for me to give it a re-read. All I really remembered about it was the phrase "The sparrows are flying", and the fact that it was about a writer whose alter ego or pseudonym comes to life and starts causing problems. So reading this now was almost like reading a story I'd never read before. Almost. Some...more
Madeline Knight-Dixon
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of talking about how incredible this man is. How terrifying and shocking and thought provoking I find his books. How they light this intensity in me while I’m reading, and capture me so completely I don’t even realize the passing of time.

The book is about a man who’s pen name comes to life. Weird? Yes. Who thinks of that? Better question; who turns that into one of the most brilliantly horrifying things I’ve ever read? Only King.

One of my favorite things about t...more
Shannon
So I'll admit that I didn't read this of my own volition. My husband is a big Stephen King fan, so after years of begging me to read one of his books, I finally conceded. The Dark Half is the book he handed me. I think he only wanted me to read it because he shares the same somewhat rare name of the main character.

Anyway, Stephen King can write. There's no denying that. However, he is overly and excessively verbose. At times his descriptions bordered on word vomit. I appreciate the particulars...more
Bryce
One of the usually ignored books in Stephen King's bibliography, The Dark Half is sort of a ghost story, sort of a zombie story and sort of a reflection on the Writing Life. While the book itself is typical King, it's not extraordinary King. Enjoyable, but not something that I would adamantly say to a friend "You HAVE to read this."

But there is one particular aspect of this book that I absolutely loved. One aspect that I will praise in a roundabout and long-winded fashion...

One of the things t...more
Typicalfrost
I love Stephen King quite a bit but that doesn't mean I'm ignorant to his faults. At his best, his books and compelling, detailed and deliciously gruesome. At his worst, it's the Dark Half. I get that The Dark Half was an allegory for his own struggle with creativity and his pen name, but seriously this book was ridiculous and followed the terrible King pattern.

It begins boring and tedious. You struggle through till it picks up. Eventually you become deeply engaged, the climax builds and then se...more
 ~Geektastic~
I’ve been writing excessively long reviews of Stephen King books lately, and I think I’m getting a bit repetitive. So, I’ll try to keep this (relatively) short and to-the-point.

I like this book. My first encounter with it was when I was about 15, which is about the time I read most of Stephen King’s work. I remember this being one of my absolute favorites at the time, but I think that place has been usurped by Pet Sematary and The Shining. This is definitely a horror story, relying heavily on si...more
Austin James
I got about 150 pages through this book - and stopped reading for awhile. It wasn't because I didn't like book, it just wasn't keeping my attention like the other King books I've read... When I started reading again, I was hooked and as I do with most King novels, I read the book in a couple of days.

I love when Stephen King's main character is a writer. They say write what you know. Well, Stephen King knows writing. And I suspect he may know something about writing with your dark side (He did wr...more
Yulande Lindsay
It's interesting. I first read this book in 1991 and unlike most other Stephen King books, I have not read it since. I decided to reread it because of a reread series on Tor.com -http://www.tor.com/features/series/th.... I realise now why I haven't read it since then. Because I know what happens after the story is done and it breaks my heart. In most books, the story ends and you suspect that maybe, may...be...there is very little chance of a happy ending. But you hope, after all, its left up to...more
Josh
The Dark Half is vintage Stephen King circa 1989 in which the reader is taken to a world infused with the supernatural and most heinous of crimes. Thad is a writer, his alter ego, dark half if you will - George Stark (ode to Westlake), is also a writer albeit a far more successful one who likes to emphasise the macabre. By some freak turn of events, Thad's piece of fiction turns to reality - no one is safe as the very pages that made Thad wealthy, turn against him. The Dark Half was a lot of fun...more
Vitor Frazão
Se existe um thriller feito para escritores é “A Metade Sombria”, pois embora qualquer pessoa o possa apreciar, aqueles que partilham com King os altos e baixos do processo criativo conseguirão percepcionar toda uma nova camada.
Um vilão que é uma mistura entre um pseudónimo que ganhava vida e o clássico evil twin, é daquelas ideias que tem tanto de simples quanto de genial. A cereja no topo do bolo é a habitual escrita visceralmente realista de King.
Dito isto, apesar das suas qualidades, con...more
Patricia
Logré terminarlo este año jeje, excelente libro! Tenía pensado leerlo mucho mas adelante pero preferí respetar el orden de la trilogía de castle rock y no me arrepiento, ahora voy a leer el perro sun y ya sigo con la tienda, termino el año leyendo a King, inició el año leyendo a King :)
Lisa
3.5 really...

Thad Beaumont is suffering from an acute case of killer pseudonym. Having been an unsuccessful writer under his own name (with everyone bar a few critics), he's since gone on to become a best seller - as George Stark. But when Thad's identity is outed, leading him to bury George, it turns out that George has other ideas. And George is not a nice guy...

While remaining as tense as you'd expect from reading King's previous nail-shredders, unfortunately I felt the idea behind this was g...more
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Io posso capire che non si può scrivere tutti i giorni "L'Ombra dello Scorpione", ma che diamine questo è veramente un libraccio da peggior rigattiere al mondo, con tutto il rispetto. Qui King si cimenta con una situazione che forse lui stesso deve aver provato, dopo aver fatto morire il suo alter ego Richard Bachman di cancro allo pseudonimo dopo che l'avevano smascherato nel 1985. Questo romanzo arriva dopo un blocco dello scrittore e forse era il caso di rifletterci un pochino di più, se si v...more
S.H. Roddey
After reading the other reviews and staring in amazement at how mixed they are, I felt compelled to add my own.

This book, like many others here, was my introduction to not only Stephen King, but the realm of adult fiction. It was the first "grown-up" book I read, and though I have read thousands of books since then, it still sticks with me as my absolute-favorite book. Granted, it isn't as frightening as The Shining or as masterful as The Stand, BUT...

It presents a fear that as a writer, I am a...more
Zoe
True fact: I have owned multiple copies of The Dark Half in my life, but have always somehow lost those copies without reading the book. I bought this...third copy, I believe, and I finally committed myself to reading it. I really wish I hadn't.

King is typically known for monsters that are abstract and fuzzily defined. I get that, and I'm okay with it most of the time because he makes up for it with characters I want to follow. But Thad and Liz Beaumont are severely flat cardboard characters who...more
Drew
The kid has finger nails in his brain!



I read The Dark Half by Stephen King. The book centers on Thad Beaumont, who writes under the pen name, George Stark. Thad himself inst a very good writer, but the writer he created, is a national celebrity known for living life on the edge. After several successful books, Thad stops using the name George Stark which springs several murders in the small town in Maine where Thad lives. Soon he realizes Stark is very real, the and two share a mental bond. What...more
Squire
This was a reread for me. I last read The Dark Half when it was published in 1989. And while I found the book better on a reread, I'm keeping it at three stars.

The first half of this novel is exciting, suspenseful, intense and scary. We're introduced to Thaddeus Beaumont and his psuedonym-come-to-life, the murderous and insane George Stark. But after Stark's rampage is over and his endgame becomes clear, the novel loses it's steam. I still don't know as much about Beaumont as I would have liked...more
Chris
I really enjoyed this book. The premise caught my attention right off the bat and I had high expectations when I started it. Thankfully I was not let down. Thad Beaumont decided to change up his writing and take on the pen name George Stark. After some success he feels it is time to let the name fall and put to rest George Stark. As soon as the article comes out announcing the Death of the fake author, strange murders begin to happen. The evidence is puzzling, and it seems that Thad, whether he...more
Kerra
This book was amazing and it was also fun to read. I had watched the movie a long time ago and really liked it. However, as with movies and books go (as you probably know) are always better than the movie. That is hard to say about S.K. movies though because they are usually dead on with the book and follow it pretty well. It was the same with this book too, but I still enjoyed the book more than I did the movie. I think this book was not only entertaining to read, seeing how S.K. used the (fake...more
Erin
"She climbed the stairs of the L Street apartment building with the stolidity (and nearly the bulk) of a rhino crossing an open stretch of grassland. ... Her meaty arms swung like pendulums. ... Dodie was a whore with the heart of a bank-teller and the soul of an acquisitive cockroach."

This wasn't the best of Stephen King's novels, but he really outdid himself with the writing. For instance, the above quote is some of the best character description I've ever read. And Dodie isn't the only person...more
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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“You're dead, George. You just don't have the sense to lie down.” 45 likes
“He didn’t know if that was really true or not, but he discovered something which was tremendously liberating: he didn’t care. He was very tired of thinking and thinking and still not knowing. He was also tired of being frightened, like a man who has entered a cave on a lark and now begins to suspect he is lost. Stop thinking about it, then. That’s the solution.” 15 likes
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