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Thomas Gaffney

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Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King I'm not sure where to begin or how to begin, so I'll start by saying I liked this book. In King's pantheon of short story collections, it isn't the best however. Nor does it really live up to the quality of his recent books, published after his "retirement". But it was still better than some of his later-years/pre-retirement crap.

And I think I can pinpoint my overall liking of this book to the biggest complaint I'm going to lodge against it... I feel like I've read it all before. I know King has written a LOT of tales. In fact, I think he's written one of EVERY possible theme/monster/scare that exists in the horror genre. So I shouldn't be surprised that after a career spanning almost 50 years, he repeats himself. But when you notice it in the middle (or even beginning) of the story, you do tend to feel ripped off. Cheated. Like, "Ugh! I've read this already!" I'll compare the stories in Full Dark, No Stars to the ones I'm reminded of in the individual reviews.

1922 An excellent story to start off King's return to short stories after 2008's Just After Sunset. Incredibly creepy and foreboding, like King’s early work, it showed that he can still scare the crap out of you when he has a good idea to work with. But, in this case, the story feels too similar to the short story "Jerusalem’s Lot" in his collection, Night Shift. Even down to the choice of narration style.

Big Driver One of King's psychological horror stories, instead of the supernatural. It was ok, but seemed to be another version of his "Rest Stop" from Just After Sunset. An author takes a long trip in his/her vehicle and finds himself/herself in a situation where he/she channels one of his/her characters to get out of the situation.

Fair Extension Back to the supernatural horror, the well-used story of a mysterious stranger who shows up to give the main character what he/she most desires with unintended consequences. Considering these consequences involve negative effects on other people, I was reminded of "Thinner", the most famous of King's Richard Bachman books.

A Good Marriage Back to the horror of human nature, this one deals with a woman who discovers her husband MIGHT be a homicidal serial killer. It was ok, with only the ending providing any moments that seemed shocking or surprising. The only story of the four that didn't immediately remind me of something else that King had written.