Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dollar Bin Horror Spotlight:Full Dark, No Stars

By Eric Polk, host of The Audio Descent podcast-
THE master of literary horror, Stephen King, returns with his latest offering. A four-story tale, each centered on the theme of the retribution. For your convenience, I will review and grade each story separately.

Told from the point of view of a Nebraska farmer, 1922 begins as a simple argument between husband and wife over selling acreage on their  eighty-acre farm. With the help of his son, the farmer takes care of his problem by throwing Mrs. Farmer down a well. But it's only the beginning. What happens next is a typical King theme of descent of a genuinely good person into insanity.

All the great elements of a King tale are here:blood, humor, realism, etc. A very good read...8/10

Big Driver-
Cozy mystery writer Tess has just given a speech at a local bookstore, and is given a shortcut home by the store's owner. What happens next is without question one of the most brutual acts that can be performed on a woman. Naturally, Tess seeks vengeance for this act, but does she go too far? On the surface, this bankshot homage to The Last House on The Left is pretty good. However, my biggest disappointment, other than the ending, is the fact this story should have been expanded to a full-blown novel. It leaves more questions than it answers. 7/10

Fair Extension-
Admittedly the weakest of the stories, Fair Extension revists the old King haunt of Derry, Maine, home to stories such as It and Dreamcatcher. Cancer victim Dave Streeter runs into an airport street vendor, and after an engaging conversation discovers the vendor sells extensions, but not what you think. The vendor sells life extensions at a fair price. For this extension, the vendor offers Streeter a chance to live fifteen years for fifteen percent of his income..and transfers the weight of Streeter's unfortunate situation to someone Streeter can't stand.

What happens next is the story gets carried away with its mean spirit and coincidence. Again, the ending is terrible. Skip if you can. 6/10

A Good Marriage-
Darcy Anderson has been married to her husband, Bob, for twenty-seven years. It's been a good and comfortable marriage. One night Darcy makes a trip to the garage for batteries for her remote. That's where she discovers Bob's true nature. The strongest of the four tales, A Good Marriage begs the question, 'How' d you react if the person you loved was leading a double life? What would you do? Would you change you lifestyle?'



TheGirlWhoLovesHorror said...

I took a peek at the story "Big Driver" and it looked good but I am way more interested in "A Good Marriage." Can I wait a year for paperback? Perhaps...

Eric Polk said...

Yeah, you prolly can. "A Good Marriage" is the best of the lot. It's based on the BTK Killer and the fact his wife alleges that she didn't know what was going on.

Morbidementia said...

Thanks for the great review! Now that I'm actually reading books that don't have pictures again, I have been wondering which horror novel I should pick up next.

I've always been a huge fan of King, but I've missed so many books of his during all these years that I could only read books with pictures, I was a bit lost and didn't know where I should start reading him again. I think he is hands-down the best short story writer alive, so this book has jumped to the top of my list.