Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"'s Reviews > Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
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Nov 20, 2010

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bookshelves: all-fiction, creepy-spooky-scary
Read in December, 2010

3 1/2 stars, about which, more later.

Steve King has abandoned the supernatural in favor of something even creepier: REALITY. Do you really know what evil lurks inside that person curled up next to you in bed? Or that gray-haired, seemingly benign librarian? Or the guy who's been your best buddy since childhood? Or YOU, for that matter?
King takes on these questions here in three novellas and one short-ish story.

In Big Driver, Tess is the author of the cozy and bland Willow Grove Knitting Society mystery series. One day she takes a shortcut on the way home from a speaking engagement. She meets a big bad man and winds up in a culvert, left for dead. This one will appeal to the vengeful fantasies of any woman who has ever been assaulted or abused in any way. Get your hands on a Lemon Squeezer .38 and squeeze away! Just be sure your aim is good.

Fair Extension manages to be both horrid and amusing in the space of about 30 pages. Streeter is dying of cancer. He meets Elvid, a vendor who sells him an unusual product: the chance to change his life for the better, at the expense of someone else. But Streeter has to choose who that someone else will be. Who would you choose? What would you be willing to inflict on another person if it meant your life would improve spectacularly?

A Good Marriage is the most satisfying piece in the book for its completeness and believability. Darcy Anderson has been married to Bob for 27 years, and she thinks she knows absolutely everything about him. He's a boring, fastidious accountant and numismatist. He's also a loving, gentle, affectionate husband and father. But he has a little, um, hobby he forgot to mention. When Darcy discovers his secret, she sees to it that he's punished in a very special way. In the process, she learns a thing or two about her own darkest fathoms.

1922 is the first story, and it's the reason I cannot give the book four stars. It's so raw and gruesome and dark that it took me an entire week to read it. It's like a pukesome reworking of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, but instead of "the beating of his hideous heart," Wilfred has enormous rats to plague him for murdering his wife. This failure of imagination is compounded by a sort of Romeo and Juliet/Bonnie and Clyde subplot involving Wilfred's son Henry.
But honestly, my biggest problem with the story was that I couldn't take THERATSTHERATSTHERATSTHERATSTHERATSTHERATS!!!!!

"OH MAKE THEM STOP BITING M..."

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Reading Progress

11/20/2010 page 31
8.0%
11/28/2010 page 139
38.0% "Am I becoming a pantywaist as I get older?!! This raw gruesome stuff is getting harder for me to take."

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