Retribution, thy name is King. Steven King.

Posted on July 11, 2011

Full Dark No Stars by Steven King

This has been quite the summer for travelling. This most recent trip, I was woefully unprepared. I had brought ‘The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ with me but it turns out that is in no way airport reading. So I picked up a book of Steven King short stories, a collection named Full Dark, No Stars.

The theme surrounding all of these stories is ‘retribution.’ Boy howdy do they get to the point.


Wilfred James, with the help of his son, murders his wife. In the beginning, it seems like the hardest part is going to be getting away with it. Then it seems like the hardest part is going to be keeping his son from blabbing. Soon his world is falling apart (literally) around him. Rats begin attacking him.

This story (really a novella) drags for a while, but certainly has a surprise twist at the end. A good kind. And no, he was not dead the entire time.

Big Driver

A murder mystery writer is returning home from a speaking engagement. She blows a tire and is rescued by a helpful and large man. Oh, did I say rescued? I meant raped. She is raped repeatedly and left for dead.

What does she do? Does she go to the police and possibly ruin her career? Does she keep her chin up and live life well, the best revenge? Or does she go all Jody Foster on the guy? I’ll refer you to the theme of the collection.

Fair Extension

What if, instead of a fruit stand, you found a guy that sold extensions. That’s right, you could extend anything. Now imagine you are 3 months away from dying of cancer. You would want a life extension, right?

Turns out there’s a price. You have to give the guy 15% of your earnings for the rest of your life. On top of that, you have to watch someone you hate have their life ruined. Our ‘hero’ chooses his ‘best friend’ from high school. Schadenfreude at its best.

A Good Marriage

Every marriage has its secrets. One day Darcy Anderson was putting something away in the garage, while her husband was away, and knocks over a pile of magazines. At the bottom of the pile is a bunch of bondage magazines, a new development in her knowledge of her husband’s sexual proclivities. However, it is only after she straightens this pile that she finds a box. In this box is the ID of a woman who has been all over the news… because she is missing.

Well it turns out that her husband is a serial killer. No, I haven’t ruined anything. The real story is how Darcy acts when her husband comes home.

Under the Weather

Some guy’s apartment smells bad. Also his wife hasn’t been seen in a couple months.

The whole collection is truly riveting and sometimes disturbing. I get distracted pretty easily when I’m on the beach or in transit, which made this book all the more wonderful. You don’t have to think. You just have to control your racing heart, because the stories in Full Dark No Stars will activate a particularly horrible part of your psyche.


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One Response to “Retribution, thy name is King. Steven King.”

  1. Shelby on July 11th, 2011 1:21 pm

    I used to read A LOT of Stephen King, but I had a really hard time reading him after I finished the Dark Tower series.

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