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End of Watch: A Novel
Stephen King
Progress: 350/368 pages
In Cold Blood
Truman Capote
Speaker for the Dead
Orson Scott Card
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Darren Sugrue
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Stephen King
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Heather Horst, Daniel Miller

Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King (2011)

Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King

Each of the short stories in this collection is quintessentially Stephen King. Which is to say: disturbing. Sometimes, the evil is woven in with an eery calm and just bubbles intermittently to the surface. Mostly, however, it is open and raw at such a deep and sinister level that the words make the reader squirm uncomfortably and physically pull away from the book. It's not my favorite from King; not because the stories aren't well written or powerful, but because of how inescapably dark yet real they are. Although there are shades of Leland Gaunt (Needful Things) in "The Extension" and the Dark Man with his rats in the cornfield (The Stand) in "1922", these are no mere tales of common devils or simple tricksters. King trawls the dankest, most monstrous human depths imaginable; he makes us witness horrors committed one after another by the once-innocent, the perhaps-innocent, and the never-innocent, while pitting them all against each other, testing what we can stomach to forgive across a lengthy list of unfathomable crimes. Page by page, you can feel the despair, devastation, confusion, and above all, the absolute terror. Yet, somehow, Full Dark, No Stars remains a compulsive page-turner. Even after you close the book and long after you've read it, the stories will haunt you. While all are unsettling, for me, one story in particular is not for the squeamish, but I'll follow Stephen King's masochistic example and let you figure out which one for yourself.