This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

03 April, 2012

REVIEW: THE DARK HALF

Cover design by keenan

THE DARK HALF
BY
STEPHEN KING

ISBN: 978-0-340-95261-0
Pages: 460
Originally published: November 1989
This edition published: 1 November 2007

On the cover:

Creating George Stark was easy. Getting rid of him won`t be . . .

The sparrows are flying again. The idea - unbidden, inexplicable - haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont`s mind.

Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona `George Stark`, author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own name, and his menacing pseudonym has been buried forever.

And yet . . . the sparrows are flying again, and something is terribly wrong in Thad Beaumont`s world. 

   This is a very writer centred story, in fact the whole premise of the book has to do with a writer and his alter ego. That is however not all it is about, there is a sub-story that also adds to the whole of the novel.
   It does not take long for this novel to get going, within a few chapters the central mystery is established. Not that there really is very much of a mystery, it is pretty transparent what is happening from the beginning. This doesn't actually detract from the book. What is central here is how, and why, things are happening. And the journey King takes us on to find that out is full of both suspense and mystery.

   There is some gore here, and it is done in King's usual style - nothing is spared. But this isn't really where the horror comes from, that is much more psychological.
   Even though it was clear to me pretty early on what was going on the psychological horror got really intense at points, and King manages to leave enough open for interpretation and guessing that he holds the reader in his grip. It is not until the end that we really become certain as to where the main characters will end up.

   The characters are very well done. There are few of them in a central role, and we really get to know how they function. Especially Thad Beaumont is very well drawn, and we really get inside his head in more ways than one.
   With a situation as far outside the normal as the one we are told about here, it is always interesting to look at the characters' reaction. And here King manages to make them seem both plausible and natural. The skepticism of one of the supporting characters is especially good, and does a lot to help the feeling of realism in the story.

   For a King novel this is pretty short, but there is still room for King to give us the closeness to the cast that is his strength. It's maybe not Kings best work, but it is sill a great novel. I found it a quick read, and one that took me on a very good journey. I'd recommend Horror fans pick it up, and I think it will be an interesting read for anyone who are themselves interested in writing.

Reviews: The Shining  IT  Bag of Bones  11.22.63  Four Past Midnight  Just After Sunset

Links: Stephen King  Hodder & Stoughton

2 comments:

  1. The Dark Half is one of my favorites of King's early works! Nice review!!

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  2. This one came out close on the heels of King killing off his Richard Bachman persona, which puts the storyline into an even creepier context. One of my favourites.

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