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The Dark Half by Stephen King

The Dark Half (original 1989; edition 1990)

by Stephen King

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5,93947704 (3.56)93
Title:The Dark Half
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1990), Edition: First Thus, Mass Market Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Dark Half by Stephen King (1989)

  1. 30
    Dead City by Shane Stevens (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: In his afterward to The Dark Half, King explains that he took the character of Alexis Machine from Stevens' Dead City
  2. 10
    A Soul to Steal by Rob Blackwell (Othemts)
  3. 10
    The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz (VictoriaPL)
    VictoriaPL: Another writer who has trouble figuring out if he's involved in a series of murders or not.

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
He gets the point across. Classic King. ( )
  Hymlock | Apr 28, 2017 |
between 2.5 and 3. i like the idea of this and even the execution (of the story idea) but was a bit turned off by the quality of the violence. (also a few sexist/sexual comments that felt really out of place, but probably almost 30 years ago wouldn't have been. i just don't usually get that vibe from him.)

i think this is a really fun idea to explore, though, especially for someone who's own pseudonym had just been "killed" a couple of years before (so probably right before he started writing this one). the usual questions follow for this reader, of course; i wonder a little how much of richard bachman was in george stark. i guess very little, but whenever an author writes about writing i get curious.

this is a fun idea to play with, and a decent read. i feel like it's not one of his better ones but i also don't have any concrete reasons for saying that, except that it's a little too violent and far fetched for me, even as i enjoy the idea of it. (except i do have one complaint - the fact that thad didn't send liz and the twins away to stay with a friend or a relative, when he knew they would be under threat, it just made no sense. probably king could have come up with some reason to keep them in town with a sentence or two, but he didn't, and thad should have sent them away.) ok and for some reason i just wasn't as compelled to care, which is unusual because of how well he does characterization. he doesn't give us as much here (and it's unusual that we really don't know much about liz) and maybe that's all it is, but i don't think that's it. i think that there just wasn't quite as much tension in the overall story (in parts there were, sure, but i mean in general) as i'm used to. the pacing was still very good, so i was wanting to keep reading all the time, i just wasn't caring quite as much as i'm used to about how it would work out and what would happen. the tension wasn't quite right. otherwise, though, it's good. but that brings it down a bit for me. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 7, 2017 |
Everyone has a dark half of themselves buried within their subconscious, but what if that dark half was to have a physical, human body...and desired it's own life. Stephen King presents an amazing battle of good and evil, and the rights over which side deserves to keep living. In The Dark Half the sparrows are flying again, and it's time to find out why. ( )
  Emery_Demers | Mar 17, 2017 |
Stephen King's 1989 novel The Dark Half presents an intriguing premise wherein author Thad Beaumont, who achieved greater success writing under the name of George Stark, decides to figuratively kill off the pseudonym and write again under his own name, with the Stark's "burial" played out in a People magazine article that garners Thad some good publicity. But the dark and savage Stark, labeled "not a very nice guy" on his mock tombstone, resists, and sets of on a rampage of vicious murders in a quest to write just one more book with Thad under the name of George Stark. With King dedicating The Dark Half to his own pseudonym, Richard Bachman, you can clearly tell that King had a grand time writing this story, clearly drawing on his own alter ego for the story's inspiration. The sense of dread builds nicely during the first half of the novel as the mayhem ensues, but midway through, the story begins to bog down with the characters' long and repetitive internal musings, and conversations stretched much too far, needlessly slowing the pace and dampening the tension. Some judicious editing could have sliced sixty or more pages, leaving a much tighter story. ( )
  ghr4 | Mar 13, 2017 |
A late-80s Stephen King novel about an author whose pseudonymous alter-ego/absorbed-in-the-womb evil twin comes to life and goes on a brutal rampage right out of one of his own crime thrillers.

It's a really great premise for a horror novel, and one that hints at some intriguing themes of identity, creativity, and the dark side that may be hidden in good people. Mind you, King doesn't really go into any of those themes in any depth, but I think they're lurking in there, anyway, under all the supernatural weirdness and the gore. Mostly it doesn't tingle the spine the way the best of his stuff does, but the prologue does contain what may be one of the creepiest images he's even written, so I have to give it some points for that. And, as is usual for King, it's a very readable book.

On the other hand, while I was more than happy to accept its bizarre-but-fascinating premise, other aspects of it did stretch my suspension of disbelief, including a sheriff getting ridiculously chummy with a guy who's a suspect in his murder investigation, and a whole lot of thoroughly unconvincing dialog. And while, at about 430 pages, this is downright slim compared to some of King's later work, it does drag some in the middle in a way that makes me think it could have been cut down by 50 or even 100 pages and been the better for it. Plus, the resolution is... odd. It's well built-up-to throughout the novel, which is more than you can say for some of King's endings, but it's still odd.

Basically, this is middle-of-the-road King. Definitely not his best, definitely not his worst. ( )
  bragan | Oct 28, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"Cut him," Machine said, "Cut him while I stand here and watch. I want to see the blood flow. Don't make me tell you twice."

-- Machine's Way

by George Stark
This book is for Shirley Sonderegger, who helps me mind my business, and for her husband, Peter.
AUTHOR'S NOTE I'm indebted to the late Richard Bachman for his help and inspiration. This novel cound not have been written without him. S.K.
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People's lives -- their real lives, as opposed to their simple physical existences -- begin at different times.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Thad Beaumont would like to say he is innocent. He'd like to say he has nothing to do with the series of monstrous murders that keep coming closer to his home. He'd like to say he has nothing to do with the twisted imagination that produced his bestselling novels. He'd like to say he has nothing to do with the voice on the phone uttering its obscene threats and demanding total surrender. But how can Thad disown the ultimate embodiment of evil that goes by the name he gave it - and signs its crimes with Thad's bloody fingerprints? (0-451-16731-7)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451167317, Mass Market Paperback)

In 1985, 39-year-old Stephen King announced in public that his pseudonymous alter ego, Richard Bachman, was dead. (Never mind that he revived him years later to write The Regulators.) At the beginning of The Dark Half (1989), 39-year-old writer Thad Beaumont announces in public that his own pseudonym, George Stark, is dead.

Now, King didn't want to jettison the Bachman novel, titled Machine Dreams, that was he working on. So he incorporated it in The Dark Half as the crime oeuvre of George Stark, whose recurring hero/alter ego is an evil character named Alexis Machine.

Thad Beaumont's pseudonym is not so docile as Stephen King's, though, and George Stark bursts forth into reality. At that point, two stories kick into gear: a mystery-detective story about the crime spree of George Stark (or is it Alexis Machine?) and a horror story about Beaumont's struggle to catch up with his doppelganger and kill him dead.

This is not the first time that Stephen King has written a dark allegory about the fiction writer's situation. As the New York Times writes, "Misery (1987) is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his audience, which holds him prisoner and dictates what he writes, on pain of death. The Dark Half is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his creative genius, the vampire within him, the part of him that only awakes to raise Cain when he writes, the fratricidal twin who occupies 'the womblike dungeon' of his imagination." --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:36 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Thad Beaumont, a writer of brutally violent novels, becomes a murder suspect when his pseudonym is linked to the killings.

(summary from another edition)

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