The Dark Half

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Thad Beaumont, the popular writer in THE DARK HALF, after having a successful first novel published under his own name comes up with a number of best-selling thrillers under the name of George Stark. He finally decides that it is time to go back to Thad Beaumont as the author. His creative juices for more “serious” fiction are working again. Thad is married and the father of twins. Everything is falling into place, and so it is time to kill off George Stark. But there is a twist. George Stark does not want to be buried, and as THE DARK HALF progresses he goes about venting his displeasure by killing those involved in his demise. In usual King fashion, the horror keeps building and building as one individual after another is killed. The evidence at each of the murders leads the authorities to believe that these gruesome killings were committed by Thad Beaumont. No one in charge is willing to believe that a pen name could come to life. Alan Pangborn, the sheriff of Castle Rock, Maine--where the first murder takes place--must rethink everything he has encountered in his long career and finally admit that the impossible is very possible.

As usual, King proves adept at creating tension and gut-wrenching scenes of horrific violence. THE DARK HALF can be looked at as a parable, depicting the alter ego’s attempt to take over the total individual, but in a Stephen King horror novel symbols are not to be taken too far. This may not be a TOMMYKNOCKERS (1987) or a MISERY (1987); but King is still a master storyteller and THE DARK HALF is one scary read.


(The entire section is 644 words.)