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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

I think any serious bookworm must have read a Stephen King novel at some time or another. A hugely popular author and original story maker, I have grown up with Stephen King books on the family bookshelf. So when I saw my mother with a collection of his short stories I jumped at the chance for a read.

This book comprises of four individual tales. “1922” is a compelling murder confession set on a farm. The farmer and his son are forced to cover up and live with a heinous act that they have committed. It is expertly narrated and ghostly at times. There are few characters but the narrator’s voice is simple and honest.

“Big Driver” is a revenge-based tale, similar to the horror flick “I Spit on your Grave”, whereby a woman is raped and left for dead, but returns to find the man responsible for the crimes inflicted on her. I enjoy stories where the victim returns, not neccesarrily to exact a brutal revenge, but when they seek redemption it almost makes them heal a little or get stronger after the torment that has befallen them.

“Fair Extension” tells of a cancer riddled man making a supernatural deal to save his life and the effect this has on himself and those around him. As human beings I think sometimes we do pray for astounding miracles, often to cheat death. But of course nothing is ever for free and there is always a price to pay. 

 And finally, “A Good Marriage” explores the ideas about truly knowing the people we are close to, in this case a wife finds there is more to her husband than she knew possible. The story tells of her horrible discovery and how as a woman, wife and human she deals with this new found information.

 All four are very different stories but murder, secrets, revenge and a smattering of supernatural are themes that flow throughout. My favourite of the tales was 1922 as the confession was eerily detailed, interweaving all the characters stories, and there were some quite gruesome and ghostly elements to it as well. Once again Mr King has crafted some great suspenseful and graphic tales within one book.

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