The Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When someone discovered literary writer Thad Beaumont was also crime writer George Stark and tried to blackmail him, Beaumont and his wife decided to go public and kill off George Stark themselves. But when the pseudonym takes on a life of his own and starts killing people connected to Thad, can anything stop him?
I read this sometime in that hazy dawn of time before Goodreads. Since we had a trip to Maine coming up, I decided to read it again.
The Dark Half is an underrated book. Thad Beaumont had a parasitic twin removed from inside his skull when he was 12. Since then, he's become a critically acclaimed literary writer and a blockbuster crime writer under the pseudonym George Stark, who goes on a murderous rampage when Thad kills him off.
This is one of those books where the main character is the least interesting one. Alan Pangborn is a great viewpoint character and a lot more interesting than Thad. He's a small town sheriff trying to do his job despite some crazy shit happening.
Basically, The Dark Half is Parker chasing down Donald Westlake. Since I've read all 23 Parker books Richard Stark wrote since the first time I read this, the reread was a much richer experience. I noticed some Richard Stark influence in the George Stark chapters. Also, I enjoyed the Creepshow reference, although I might have to check the timeline to see which one actually came first. "Call me Billie, everyone does!"
Aside from the psychopomp business with the sparrows and Stark falling apart, The Dark Half is pretty much a crime book. It doesn't feel nearly as long winded as some of King's books and the ending didn't suck for once. George Stark was a chilling villain and since I forgot the ending, I had no idea if Thad would live or not. Four out of five stars.
View all my reviews