Those who know me know that I'm a huge fan of Stephen King. I don't call myself his number one fan for obvious reasons, but I think I'm up there among the obsessed. My parents bought Misery for me for Christmas one year when I was in high school hoping that I'd discover the joys of reading and got more than they bargained for. That book began my obsession with reading, and Stephen King books will always occupy the premier space on my bookshelves.
It wasn't until the last fifteen years or so that King began being recognized for his literary talents. For the majority of his career he's been looked down at as simply a pop horror writer. Fortunately and deservedly so, critics have recognized and acknowledged many of his most recent books for what they truly are, excellent stories being told my a master of the craft.
Full Dark, No Stars is a collection of four commonly themed novellas. 1922 is a story about a husband who, along with his son, kills his wife. The story shows how that act causes a psychological break in both of their lives that eventually leads to their self destruction. Big Driver is the story of a moderately successful author of a women's crime series that is assaulted by a man one night on her way home from conducting a book signing. The woman decides that the only way to fill the void left in her life from the traumatizing experience is to take on the role of judge, jury, and executioner. Fair Extension is a Faustian story about a man diagnosed with cancer who is given the opportunity to bargain with the devil. Finally, A Good Marriage tells the story of a dutiful wife, who after sixteen years of marriage discovers that her dull and unassuming husband happens to be a notorious serial killer.
Each one of those stories is excellent. King is a master of taking the most relatable and ordinary people and putting them in extraordinary circumstances.