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The Dark Half

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  97,276 Ratings  ·  1,237 Reviews
Thad Beaumont would like to say he is innocent. He'd like to say he has nothing to do with the series of monstrous murders that keep coming closer to his home. But how can Thad disown the ultimate embodiment of evil that goes by the name he gave it-and signs its crimes with Thad's bloody fingerprints?
Hardcover, 413 pages
Published 1990 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published October 20th 1989)
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Nancy Delong Sparrows, as in "the sparrows are flying again" which is found written on the walls by Stark at his murder scenes. Also whenever a young Thad was…moreSparrows, as in "the sparrows are flying again" which is found written on the walls by Stark at his murder scenes. Also whenever a young Thad was having his Tera Toma removed, (the name for the absorbed twin tissue found in Thad's brain, yes it's a real thing, as a nurse I've seen one and it gives a whole new meaning to being right brained or left brained). The hospital was besieged by sparrows following the surgery. We also learned that sparrows are "psychopomps" , creatures that guide spirits between the material world and the spiritual realm. At the end Thad uses a birdcall to summon the sparrows which attack his house and tear Stark up and carry him off to another spiritual plane, hopefully to stay. You thought Hitchcock had a scary bird story, I'll never look at Sparrows the same way again.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 29, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, book-to-film
“But writers INVITE ghosts, maybe; along with actors and artists, they are the only totally accepted mediums of our society. They make worlds that never were, populate them with people who never existed, and then invite us to join them in their fantasies. And we do it, don't we? Yes. We PAY to do it.”

Thad Beaumont wanted to write from the time he discovered that a person could make a living as a writer. He pounded away at the typewriter so much that his parents were beginning to fear that somet
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
Dec 04, 2013 Shanti rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Before and after reading THE DARK HALF, I read some reviews of this 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 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
Paul Nelson
Mar 18, 2015 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books-read
Thad Beaumont is a writer, not a very successful one it has to be said, not until he started to write under the Pseudonym George Stark, a definitive change in direction to something altogether darker and that's what brings the money in. Now it's time to out the Stark and via people magazine, the Pseudonym is finally laid to rest, fake grave and all.

The only problem, George Stark isn't quite ready to rest in peace.

As with my other early King reviews I'll talk about what I liked and disliked about
Edward Lorn
Apr 08, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of horror, supernatural thrillers, and crime fiction.
Recommended to Edward by: Mom
Stephen King aficionados might get a kick out of this geekgasm disguised as a review. It's not all new info, but I didn't know about Guy Pilsbury. If you know who that is (or should have been), you get a cookie.

Also, I cannot promise there won't be spoilers, but I will try my best.

Okay, we're all clear that Stephen King once wrote under the pen name Richard Bachman, right? Good. And if you didn't know, now you know. Bachman is probably one of the most famous pseudonyms ever created. King didn't
Bill Khaemba
I Promised you a review :)
“...he was, after all, a novelist...and a novelist was simply a fellow who got paid to tell lies. The bigger the lies, the better the pay.”

First of all with any Stephen King book the reader must understand that they will be freaking traumatised to some extent and you won’t be able to put down his book until the end. So it’s the best conundrum or maybe the worst. The book itself has the classic King vibe to it, a malevolent haunting story which features a protagoni
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 (
Ruth Turner

Audiobook – Narrated by Grove Gardner – Excellent narration.

I enjoyed this audio very much. Gardner is an excellent narrator and the voice he gave to “George Stark, that high-toned son of a bitch from Oxford, Mississippi” was perfect!



This was another of King’s books that I didn’t much care for the first time I read it. But, neither I feel the need to destroy it like I did The Tommyknockers, after reading that for the first time. Even so, I never really felt the urge to read it again. Bu
Apr 04, 2015 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable piece of gory horror from the master of the art Stephen King. I loved the idea about the sparrows and also the brilliant part about the twin being absorbed into his brother's body, which of course can really happen but never in the way this author visualises it! King writes good books and he writes excellent books but so far he has never let me down by writing a bad book. This is a good one. If you enjoy horror then this book is for you.
Tom Swift
Jun 26, 2016 Tom Swift rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good. Been on a King family spree the last week. I have read End of Watch, The Fireman, and now this.1600 pages of fun. This was really good.
Adam Light
King was hitting on all cylinders in this high toned son of a bitch. Still one of my faves.
Oct 01, 2007 Kent rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2017 Abbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first King of 2017 and it certainly did not disappoint! Thaddeus Beaumont (what a great name) is a writer of average success; George Stark is a writer of wondrous success; but Thad and George are the same person. And what happens when your pseudonym that you've tried to lay to rest somehow claws his way up from the grave and goes on a murderous rampage? King's here to tell you!
Based (hopefully loosely) on his own experience of writing as Richard Bachman, King once again delivers a great read
Jason Schneeberger

Not Mr King's best work, but not his worst either (of which, there are very few in my experiences). But, even an average Stephen King book, is better than most authors best work.
Paul O'Neill
I was a little disappointed with this. It's interesting because of the obvious King/Bachman thing. One thing that this story doesn't contain that all other King books thrive on - interesting and great characters. Our main character is a clumsy, cold and serious writer who's just a bit of a dullard really.

I also made this mistake of reading this alongside IT (which I'm currently about 500 pages into) which is littered with amazing characters.

Still an interesting read but there are so many other
Asghar Abbas
Aug 18, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A personal favorite.

And King surprised me when he mentioned Noam Chomsky. Yah!
Stefan Yates
While I still enjoyed this book quite a bit, it did not hold up on the re-read as well as I remembered it. The premise of an author's abandoned pseudonym coming back from the grave to claim it's own glory is still rather awesome and I find this to be an extremely entertaining story, but it's not nearly as riveting as I had in mind. Thad Beaumont and the rest of the cast of characters are fantastic as is par for the course for almost any King novel and I would read stories about his characters ev ...more
Nov 04, 2013 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror

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
Aug 17, 2012 Zoe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
When I was very young (and fascinated by Freud, of course), I was somehow reluctant to take any psychological test for I was afraid it would reveal some dark side of me I was not conscious about. Now I'm not sure there is even a bright side to be discovered anymore :D.

Joking aside, this is to say that the theme of the double has not begun with the Romanticism and has never been limited to literature (how often have we justified a bad or lousy action with "this was not the real me?"). So, it is
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.
Goodreads Book-Buddy Buddy Read with Goodreads Book Buddies Chelsea and Kelly . Official Review to come in the future.
Sep 18, 2014 Alissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
Slight spoilers but as it is, they are without context and rather meaningless unless you have read the book. So possible spoilers.

The sparrows are flying again. That phrase has been stuck in my mind for the last several weeks and while I’ve been meaning to write a decent review, it hasn’t gone much farther than that. The sparrows are flying again. And now when I see a flock of those damn birds, that’s what comes to mind. They’re psychopomps, harbingers of the living dead. Between that and a murd
Sep 05, 2016 Johann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You're dead, George. You just don't have the sense to lie down."

Thad Beaumont is an author that's not very successful, however under his pen name "George Stark" he writes highly successful books about a violent killer called Alexis Machine. Following an article in People magazine in which he admits to being George Stark and taking part in a photo shoot with a fake grave, Stark himself comes to life and goes on a killing rampage before targeting Beaumont himself.

This book is clearly a reference
Aug 14, 2014 Rade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2016 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, dnf
I love Stephen King, but mark The Dark Half as a miss for me.

I have found that since the 2000s, King's writing vastly matured from mainly horror (I'm talking about his stretch in the 80s that included Gerald's Game, The Regulators, stuff that at the time made me tire of him, to more densely portrayed character studies, albeit placing this characters sometimes in horrify predicaments). At times his character building is exquisite. At other times, it takes a distant backseat to story (see the sill
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
Hadn't there always been a part of him in love with George Stark's simple, violent nature? Hadn't part of him always admired George, a man who didn't stumble over things or bump into things, a man who never looked weak or silly, a man with no wife or children to consider, with no loved to bind him or slow him down? A man who had a sharp, straight answer to all of life's more difficult questions? A man who was not afraid of the dark because he OWNED the dark?

This is without a doubt an absolutely
One of the reasons I read this book is because my husband told me it was his favorite Stephen King book. (I should have asked him/considered how many of King's books he'd read in total when he came to this conclusion) Therefore I was excited to finally read this one because when someone close to me says "This is my favorite Stephen King book" and seeing as how I have been on this non-stop over a year long S. King reading marathon extravaganza, a glowing recommendation like that, coming from my h ...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.” 51 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.” 22 likes
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