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on November 16, 2014
Stephen King is known for two things primarily, at least in my opinion--his amazing narrative prose, and his originality in spinning dark, fantastical, unique yarns like no other story. Well, the latter trait is lacking in this collection of four novellas (plus a fifth super-short story), but this is excusable for this long-time King fan because his writing is in top form in each of the stories, making each one harder than the last one to put down.

All of the stories focus on the dark sides people try to hide from others--sometimes successfully, sometimes not. To a lesser extent, the four main stories all examine the theme of revenge as well. The problem is that each of the four stories have been done to death by other authors and mediums, and I kept waiting for the classic King original twist that made the story unique. For the most part, there were none, but because of the excellent writing the stories are very enjoyable. Thus, the lack of originality is not a big problem. Also, King's trademark dark humor is prevalent in each of the stories, which in and of itself makes these stories unique even if they may sound like stories you've heard before.

Each story could essentially be described as "King's take on ______":

'1922': King's take on Edgar Allen Poe, and my personal favorite of the collection. Written as a confession letter by the protagonist, the letter/story describes a violent crime committed by a farmer in the midwest immediately prior to the Great Depression, and the effects of the resulting guilt of that crime on the writer and his accomplice. The less you know, the better. A brief epilogue at the end of the tale sheds new,horrifying light on the events described by the narrator, and completely changes the reader's perspective of how the story's events unfolded. It is this twist that makes 1922, for me, not only the best story in this volume, but also the most original.

'Big Driver": King's take on the revenge thriller. A female authoris the victim of a brutally vicious crime on her way home from a speaking engagement, and embarks on a mission for revenge afterwards. The description of the crime itself is deeply disturbing and hard to read about, but there is an element of dark humor to the revenge portion afterwards. Longest story in the collection, and seemed overly long towards the end, but I had to keep reading just to see how far the protagonist would take her desire for revenge. The few "twists" that are there seemed pretty obvious, to me, but that doesn't take a lot away from the overall quality of the story. Is now a Lifetime Channel movie--can't really see that working.

"Fair Extension": King's take on the classic "deal with the devil" story. Easily the funniest (albeit darkly funny) of the collection--a dying man makes a deal with you-know-who to extend his life, at the expense of the happiness of someone close to him. King's depiction of the devil is fantastic, and it would not be surprising if this would be how the devil operates in these modern times, if he were real and actually made these sorts of deals. After the devil is out of the picture, the story seemed to drag on just a tad, to the extent of elicitng an "okay, okay, we get it" reaction from me.

"A Good Marriage": King's take on the "spouse with a secret" story. The wife in an over 25-year-old marriage thinks she's happily married to her accountant husband, until she discovers a terrible secret of his in the garage. Like with Big Driver, the story is not terribly original and a lot of the developments are obviously forecasted, but I kept reading to find out what the protagonist would do. Also like with Big Driver, at one point it seems as if the story is over, but King needlessly drags the story on for a rather unnecessary conclusion.

"Under the Weather": a very short story at the end of the collection. Any synopsis would ruin it. Short but funny--and kind of gross.

Overall, despite the sensation I have heard these stories before, I had never heard KING tell these stories before. And with his unique, funny, sentimental writing style, King elevates each story to become dark examinations of the depravity men and women are capable of. Not his best, but great stuff all the same.
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on January 21, 2011
I must admit I am not a fanatic fan of "The King", however I have enjoyed several of his works. I purchased the audio book and the narration was top notch. The right voice and can bring an audio book to life as the wrong voice and can kill even the most mind-bending novel. With that said, my favorites of the four stories are "Fair Extension" and "The Good Marriage."

Could the stories have been longer? Yes. However who am I to tell "The King" how to write his often masterpieces. I recommend the audio book to any King fan who want a tasty morsel to listen to while driving or relaxing at home. I will not review the stories in detail as that would ruin the gems for the reader/listener. I will only say "Fair Extension" involves a deal with the Monarch of Hell and "The Good Marriage" involves learning a horrific truth about one's spouse.

Both are enjoyable and will tickle the spine! Good Reading/Listening!!
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on February 23, 2015
I must agree with some of the other reviewers that the first "short" story was not short at all. It was long and felt like forever to get through. Maybe that was just because I really wasn't into the story. I would give the first story "1922" two stars. As for the other three I enjoyed those very much. I can't say I really liked any one story of the last three more than the others. I have already rented "A Good Marriage" and plan to record "Big Driver" when it plays on LMN again. I really enjoyed reading "Fair Extension" as well. It was alarming how perfectly fine the main character was with what happened to his supposed best friend but I was able to still like the character. I think Stephen King is an amazing author and have enjoyed most of his books.
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on July 13, 2017
The very first story in this collection of short stories was the best. It really surprised me. I would buy this book just for that one story. The whole book is good, but man that first story was a masterpiece. Love me some Stephen King.
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on October 12, 2016
I really liked the stories in Full Dark No Stars. The content is disturbing, but SK did a great job identifying with the victims on both sides of the "spectrum". I would recommend this book.
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on December 29, 2016
I love Stephen King's short stories! I couldn't put the book down and read it in one sitting.
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on November 16, 2016
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories by Stephen King; the stories are enjoyable in and of themselves, but together make a nice grouping. Without giving away the plotlines, let me just say that, while "A Good marriage" was terrific, "Big Driver" was my favorite - and not because it shows a woman taking revenge in a big way (though she does) - it was more that the character was an ordinary woman before the events of the story happened to her, and I can honestly see myself behaving the same way if I were in her place. Well worth the price, and I will undoubtedly read these again.
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on March 31, 2012
I review all the books I read based on one over-arching criteria: Am I better off for having read this book? In the case of Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars the answer is, unequivocally, YES. Full Dark, No Stars is a collection of 4 short stories - 1922, Big Driver, Fair Extensions, and A Good Marriage. While each of these stories is interesting in its own right, my favourites are 1922, Big Driver and Fair Extensions. I vehemently disagreed with the decisions of the protagonist in A Good Marriage, so that story didn't resonate with me as the others did.

If you've never read a Stephen King book before in your life (as I hadn't before reading this book) it helps to know what you're getting in to. All of these stories are a combination of mystery and horror. I had trouble sleeping some nights while reading 1922, but the other stories were great fun at times while also being scary. (1922 is the first story of the quartet, so this might in part explain my reaction). Without spoiling any of the plotlines, I can say that all four stories can stand on their own merits. They're all by turns funny, intriguing, horrific, and above all entertaining. While the paperback version of the book is 576 pages, this is a book you can read anytime you like. Full Dark, No Stars rates 5 stars for me because I really enjoyed reading it, and I look forward to reading more stories by this author. 5/5
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on October 28, 2016
As always, Stephen King tells the stories of his characters so very well. This is a collection of "short" stories, although each one was at least a couple of hours long. There were four. The overall theme of the stories seemed to me to be revenge in it's various forms and who doesn't fantasize occasionally about "getting even" with someone for something. Oops - not politically correct, I know, but satisfying nonetheless! To be fair, most of the villains in these stores had truly earned the revenge visited upon them. There was one exception, but I'll let you find that out for yourself!
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on September 5, 2017
Stephen K has done it even better than ever! This group of stories, unrelated but linked by a common thread of humanity under duress, shows mankind at its best. King goes beyone the everyday experience to show what the human spirit is really capable of when challenged. These stories will haunt you in a way that makes you wonder what YOU would do, and why. Could you rise to the occaison as these characters have. A must read.
King's writing is becoming closer to the heart than ever before. Way to go!
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