Stephen King
Full Dark, No Stars

Review Brought to you by OBS staff member Heidi

Full Dark, No Stars is a set of four stories brought to you by the king of horror himself, Stephen King and is followed by a brief afterword from the author explaining where he came up with the ideas for these stories.

I will break the book down by each story.


In this story Wilfred James and his wife, Arlette, are feuding over the property she inherited and the farm they own.  She wants to sell it all and move to the city.  Whereas, he wants to keep it and farm it all.  The conniving man inside of him decides that she must die and convinces his son, Henry, to go along with it.

Wilfred murders his wife and dumps her in an old well on their property and him and Henry cover it up, but are never the same again.

Henry gets his girlfriend, Shannon, pregnant and her family sends her away to have the baby and give it up for adoption.  Henry runs away to find her and starts a life a crime in order to support them.  It eventually leads to both of their deaths and the death of their unborn child.

Wilfred is haunted by his dead wife and the rats that were attracted to her dead body and it eventually leads to his demise, as well.

This story is written in the form of a confession letter from Wilfred about everything that happened in the year of 1922, the year he murdered his wife and everything that happened thereafter.

I have to say that I really did not care for this story.  I found it to be quite morbid and  I had trouble staying interested in it.

Big Driver:

Famous writer Tess has just finished a public speaking, and the librarian that hired her tells her about a shortcut to get her home sooner.  She gladly takes it, but on her way there is scattered wood with nails all across the road.  She tries to avoid them, but ends up running over one of them, leaving her stranded on the side of the road.

A stranger comes along and offers to change her tire for her.  But he soon turns on her and takes her to a nearby abandoned store and rapes and beats her.  He then places her in culvert with other dead corpses and leaves her to die.

She later makes her way back to the store and recovers her clothes, but her purse and diamond earrings are gone, and so is her vehicle.

After she gets back home she can’t get past the rage and starts plotting her revenge.  And she knows she’s losing her mind when she starts having conversations with her GPS, Tom the Tomtom, and her cat and they start talking back to her.

I thought this story was decent.  It definitely kept me interested.  It was also a bit more believable than the previous story in the book.  I could totally see a rape victim taking matters into her own hands like Tess did in this story.

Fair Extension:

David Streeter is dying from cancer and on a drive one night sees a roadside stand with a sign “Fair Extensions, Fair Price”.  He has no idea what it meant, but went over to talk to the vendor.   He makes a deal with him to give him part of his income for fifteen years, in exchange for the vendor extending his life.  The only catch is that he has to put the bad things that are lifted from him onto someone else he knows.  He decides to have the dirty luck put on his best friend, Tom, who Streeter has always been jealous of.

Streeter’s cancer is miraculously healed and his family’s luck keeps improving.  Meanwhile, his friend, Tom’s life is falling apart around him.

This was the shortest story of the book, but I thought it was good.  Although I did expect Streeter to feel some guilt about Tom, but he never does.  I think this story could have been less rushed and had more of a conclusion, then what it did, if it had been made to be a little longer.

A good Marriage:

Darcy has been married to her husband, Bob for twenty-seven years.  They have a good marriage and have even started a business together that causes Bob to be on the road quite often.

While Bob is on one of his trips, Darcy goes out to the garage hunting down batteries.  But instead finds a box filled of her shopping catalogs that he hid away.  And among those she also finds a kinky magazine of Bob’s as well.  She decides she doesn’t want to know and pushes the box back to where it goes and she discovers a secret hiding spot.  In this secret hiding spot she finds some incriminating evidence that proves that Bob is the well-known serial killer, Beadie.

Bob comes home and discovers that Darcy found his hiding spot and knows the truth and he confesses to her.  Telling her that his childhood friend, BD, who died made him do those terrible things.  She realizes that Bob is a madman and must decide what to do next.

I thought this story was good, probably the best in the whole book.  I really thought Bob being Beadie would have been too obvious, but was surprised when he actually was.  But thankfully King had something else up his sleeve to keep it interesting.

Overall thoughts:

I was a bit skeptical of this book, mainly because I have not had the best track record with the Stephen King books I’ve read, I couldn’t even finish Gerald’s Game, but I’ve intended to try some of his more classic novels, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Then, I saw this was a collection of stories and was even more skeptical since I’m not a short story fan.

But, with all that said I have to admit that I thought this book was good, although the first story, 1922, was a bit morbid for my taste.  The other stories more than make up for that and I think any horror reader will enjoy this book.