Overall, this wasn't bad but it definitely wasn't the best collection King has done for sure and as usual for King, all of his collections end up with...moreOverall, this wasn't bad but it definitely wasn't the best collection King has done for sure and as usual for King, all of his collections end up with some kind of dud in them, unfortunately. I am YET to find a flawless collection but Full Dark, No Stars was pretty damn close.
I think the best short story collection King has done so far IMO is Full Dark No Stars, I pretty much highly rated all four of the stories in that one! Maybe because there were only 4 novellas, you couldn't very well go wrong but…that’s anyone’s guess. On that note, I find that the collections with longer but less stories contained, are generally better quality. When King goes for quantity over quality. It definitely shows!
So this collection is pretty atypical for King, lots of shorter stories, a fair few of which are duds.
Taken individually, I’d review and rate them as follows:
Autopsy Room 4 – ***** Stars
Can't fault this one AT ALL. This was a flawless story and kudos and top marks to King, for it.
Some of the stuff that King writes about, are so plausible in reality (and actually happen too! I’ve lost count of how many people in the last few months, I’ve read about in foreign countries only – thank God- that wake up following a declaration of death!) it makes the story particularly harrowing and hair raising to read and this is definitely one of those situations.
As the title indicates, the setting is an autopsy room of a hospital room, where a patient believed to be dead (but in fact, isn’t dead at all! Surprise, surprise!) is brought in for an autopsy. What ensues, is a living persons nightmare, being subjected to a post-mortem examination whilst being aware of, the entire time, everything taking place around him.
This indeed describes a situation that is completely terrifying. I think I suffered palpitations reading this one. This would be mine (and anyone else’s –I’m sure, worst nightmare!) Full of suspense, I was totally addicted to this one. Great stuff and classic back to basics, simple horror by King.
The man in the dark suit - **** Stars
I really liked this. I’d say just slightly less than Autopsy Room 4 because quite simply, it didn’t hook me to the same extent. I don't scare easily at all and find it hard not to laugh at most the ‘horror’ stuff, put out of there nowadays but this story had me feeling a bit 'chillier' than usual and admittedly, it didn’t scare me but did creep me out somewhat.
The plot is simple, a boy’s encounter with the ‘devil’ and what ensues after that.
All that you loved, carried away - * Star
Bleughhhhhh...I knew a dud was coming but I guess I just didn't expect it so soon into the collection... This story just made ZERO sense. I kinda got it but mostly didn't. It seemed to me as though King was just putting to pen to paper and writing every single random thought he had, all combined, in one short story.
The result? A short story I gave up on. Something with barely any pages and I gave up on it. So suffice to say crap...I couldn't even tell you what this one was about, I've pretty much forgotten all about it. I know it revolves around a travelling salesman, collecting random quotes in a diary type thing that he has but that is about the extent of it. No such plot...nothing really happens. SHITTTTTTT!!!!
The Death of Jack Hamilton ** Stars
Two duds in a row. Sure getting my money's worth, is what I thought at this point (rather sarcastically.) I pick up King, as most people do, to be creeped out and personally, I'm not into these gangster type novels / films, they bore the hell out of me and is not something I would expect King to write about.
This unfortunately was such a story or rather, an attempt at one. It was so out of King's genre, it was quite obvious, as it read pretty juvenile to be honest but that’s I guess, where lack of experience in the genre shows. I detested the characters. Nasty bunch with no redeeming features whatsoever. So what I'm left with, is a story in a genre I detest, full of characters I detest. Nice one Stephen. I'll pass on this one!
And what it was about? Torture. That is all I remember. Which as King would, does well.
The little sisters of Eluria - ***** Stars
The Dark Tower Books
To this day, I’m still astounded by what an incredibly amazing series it was .
I don't know where the hell I've been seeing as I love all stuff DT related.
I did NOT know that King had done a short story revolving around Roland and the early dark tower days. So, when I come across this one and see his name on the first page. WOW.
King did not disappoint on this book AT ALL.
He stuck to true Dark Tower Style and gave us an interesting and further snippet into Roland's earlier days in his journey. Interestingly, this one was a lot more 'horror' like IMO. I felt creeped out a couple of times by the nasty sisters in the so called hospital...
Roland was the same as ever. Amazing.
Enough said. I think I've conveyed my book lust for this series enough….. <3
Everything's Eventual - **** Stars
I love these kind of stories by King. More thriller type but with a scary / chilly undertone to them. So Dinky's out of a job and end's up with a new one. Turns out, he has to do some pretty crazy shit. Like drawings which result in accidents or incidents occurring to persons selected for this purpose, by his boss.
As ever, there is always a down side and this story talks about that. I like the main character. He’s pretty well developed for a short story character, plenty of history discussed, personality given and a sympathetic and endearing nature which we all get and like. A character you find yourself rooting for in adverse situations.
Really liked it!
LT’s Theory of Pets - * Star
What a load of frigging nonsense this one.
A story within a story for starters which I hate in most cases anyway. Trying to give a novel ‘depth’ but in this case, actually epically fails to do so.
By and large, a story about pets and the strain it causes on the two characters relationship. So not King. Nothing in this smacked of King.
The Road Virus Head’s North - ***** Stars
Incredible short story.
Again, classical King!
A ‘haunted’ or ‘cursed’ painting bought by our protagonist who discovers to his horror that it has started to change and appears that the focal character of the painting is out to cause harm to him and his surrounding loved ones.
Suspenseful. One of my favourites.
Lunch at Gotham Café – ** Stars
A very strange one. I really didn’t see the point. Two stars as opposed to one as despite the weirdness, I continued to read however can’t say I really enjoyed this.
A Matron D in a café, basically goes insane.
That feeling you can only say in French – * Star
I gave up on this one. Suffice to say, I couldn’t even possibly say what this one was about aside from ‘Déjà vu’. Bored me to tears.
1408 - **** Stars
Typical ghost story as such.
1408, haunted hotel where no one is allowed to stay due to horrific events of the past.
Cue protagonist who is adamant he wishes to stay in there despite warnings. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go well!
I really liked this and loved the movie they made of it as well (which makes a change!). I just felt that the page count on this one was a bit high for a ‘short story’. That the same amount of creepiness, atmosphere and tension could easily have been built in a slightly lesser amount of pages. Felt it was a great plot and well done but a little bit long winded for what it was, a ghost story.
Riding the Bullet - ***** Stars
I think this one is my favourite actually as opposed to Autopsy Room 4. Also loved the movie of this too! All about our hitchhiking protagonist who needs to get to the hospital to visit his sick mom and on the way, goes through a supernatural journey of extremes. Ghosts etc. Also quite long however felt that this needed it. It built up tension and suspense superbly and I was almost too afraid to put the book down. I emphasise though, not scared, just really really creeped out! Morbid story!
Luckey Quarter - *** Stars
A reasonable read. Short on the pages so easy to get through but just kinda pointless. Our protag, a maid with money troubles, finds a ‘lucky quarter’ which seems to give her everything she needs. Just seemed a bit pointless, was disappointed with the ending on this. COP OUT!(less)
I'm not a massive fan of short stories. I feel they lack the character development and plot suspense because they quite simply are not long enough and in most cases, just don't see the point in them. You begin to get invested in a story, in the characters and then TA DA, the end...
And I'm not a particularly massive fan of King's short stories having read 'Just After Sunset' and feeling like I'd been massively ripped off by the expensive hardback. Quite honestly, that book was a complete pile of crap!
However, overall, this was a likeable enough book. I liked all of the four stories that I read (there is a bonus 20 page of so, mini novella which I haven't read yet and which I don't consider part of this collection so won't be adding it to the review.) and didn't dislike any which considering King and my opinion of his short story collections is really something.
Full Dark No Stars is comprised of: 1.1922 2. Big Driver 3. Fair Extention 4. A Good Marriage
This was my least favourite of the stories and took the longest to plod through, simply because I just wasn't that sympathetic towards or even liked the main character, a farmer who decides to 'off' his wife with the help of his son on the basis of a disagreement over land.
I never sympathise in situations where people kill over money and certainly not over greedy people that only put themselves first. In this case our protaganist is even selfish enough to rope in his young son. A son who still has his whole life ahead of him which ends up ruined as a result of having to go along with his Dad's plans. His dad effectively manipulates him into believing that killing is mother is necessary and so they do. Following the first few pages covering this, the rest of the story is mostly just muddle and nonesense revolving around characters I didn't give a crap about but was written in typical gritty King style with those supernatural elements that I just love in his stories so by doing so transformed this into a story that I may not have liked into a 3 star story. I liked it but it was amazing and the characters were just arses, to put it nicely.
Now, this one was better, MUCH better. Although I have to say it did test my tolerance reading about the subject matter namely graphic rape scenes. However, I accept that they were necessary to move the story along and turn it into what it is. Effectively a story of a woman changed by one man's horrific actions, changed into a killer. The story therefore is not so much about rape, it's about the desire for justice and the vegenance afterwards. Here, the main character Tess is a complete polar opposite to the male protaganist in 1922 (I don't even remember his name!). She is likable and therefore her actions I could be sympathetic to in some ways (although never condoning murder). King has created two nasty villanous characters which he excels at and makes you feel that you are just so damn glad that they get their just desserts. King is faboulous at creating characters that you love to hate and I sure did in this short story. This was without any supernatural elements however not any less creepy for it, I found it more so than 1922 which demonstrates that King doesn't need to always throw in a ghost or two to write a good book. Individually, I'd rate this book 4 and a half stars. Not quite 5, I can't quite bear to give short stories 5 stars....
The shortest tale out of the four but my favourite by far. However not because of the characters here. They were okay, average, fairly well drawn out as always and partially amenable but I didn't consider the protaganist to be as sympathetic as Tess in Big Driver. The character is going though his own shit, suffering from a pretty crappy diagnosis of cancer with seemingly only a few months to live. This changes when he meets a man who works in 'extentions'. He states that he can extend his life, for a price. In my opinion, it was a great idea but I didn't feel that it was explored as well as it could have been, I felt it was much too short and that the additional pages spent on 1922 (which draggggged) could have been much better served if used on Fair Extention. I wanted it to last longer and it just didn't. However, I liked the idea and would rate this 4 stars individually if I could.
A Good Marriage
Darcy has been married for quite some time, a fair few decades until she discovers a nasty secret about her husband whilst he is out of town on business. I won't spoil it for you and name any details in regards to this ' secret' but suffice to say as it's King, it's not a particularly pleasant one and again takes themes from Big Driver in that it covers vengeance and a desire to see justice done whilst at the same time partially a love story in many ways, Darcy loves her husband dearly and the actions she takes are in no way easy for her unlike for the protagnists in all the other short stories in this collection which have undesirable effects upon others.
Overall, a pretty great collection which I would read again when in the mood for something short and sweet and unlike Just After Sunset, not disappointing in the least. (less)
I'll read anything wrote by this guy. Since 'the white tiger' , I've wanted to get my hands on other stuff written by him. I presumed this was a novel...moreI'll read anything wrote by this guy. Since 'the white tiger' , I've wanted to get my hands on other stuff written by him. I presumed this was a novel and wasn't aware it was actually a collection of short stories which generally speaking, I'm not a fan of to be honest. However, I read it regardless and really liked and almost loved this book.
The author is exceptionally good at character development and giving his novels a sense of place with great descriptions and imagery.
I rated it four stars rather than five as there were two stories I weren't so keen on. Overtly political which I found quite tedious and so I skipped these particular two but all of the others (and there were plenty) were faultless and led o me picking up this book at every opportunity.
I immediately took out his other novel from the library after finishing this one and going to start on it soon but so far this author has yet to disappoint me!(less)
Really tested my stomach's tolerance, it was that gross!
Fairly good plot but maybe just a bit too gross for me. Didn't scare me just made me wince a...more
Really tested my stomach's tolerance, it was that gross!
Fairly good plot but maybe just a bit too gross for me. Didn't scare me just made me wince a lot cos of the gross parts. Didn't realise it was a novella and not a full novel so was a bit pissed when it abruptly ended at 50% on my Kindle. Will double check next time. Not really a fan of short stories / novellas. Not enough depth.
Don't know whether I'd read another of his. (less)
Just couldn't continue with this. The first couple of stories were fine but not brilliant and then it just went all downhill really. I love Poirot and...moreJust couldn't continue with this. The first couple of stories were fine but not brilliant and then it just went all downhill really. I love Poirot and Hastings but not in short story form so onti the others now in the series - but bypassing the short stories- not Christie's forte at all! A shame! (less)
I usually try to finish books, I can't remember the last time I was forced to stop reading one but this one I just had to.
Ive had this book a while, p...moreI usually try to finish books, I can't remember the last time I was forced to stop reading one but this one I just had to.
Ive had this book a while, picked it up a few times and tried to get into it with no luck. Lovecraft's writing comes across to me as extremely hardgoing, very much hardwork to read and not enjoyeable at all. I made my most progress recently when I attempted to read the book AGAIN and made it to the fifth/sixth story.
Although two or three rated good/average because I actually could comprehend the writing in those instances, as an overall book, it was just TOO hardgoing for me. Too much like hardwork and so Im now done with attempting to read it and shelving it for good.
Its a shame really..Lovecraft has some interesting premises of which could have turned out brilliantly but alas the writing bogged all that down.
I know this will be a controversial review, most people like Lovecraft..well sorry but I just didnt!(less)