The Dark Half is a Stephen King novel with all the creepy ambiance and nightmarish monsters for which King is justly famous.
And, like most King novels, at its core is a fairly common occurrence: Writing under an assumed name.
When novelist Thad Beaumont slammed into writer’s block, he occupied his time writing violent novels under the pen name George Stark. Stark’s name was on four very successful novels.
A dozen years later, in a mock ceremony captured in People magazine, Thad and his wife buried Stark beneath a tombstone inscribed “Not a Very Nice Guy.”
Stark’s readers are furious.
So is Stark.
The never-existent Stark is determined to use Thad as an instrument for writing his stories, just as Thad used Stark.
When the Beaumonts’ odd-jobs man is found murdered, Thad’s fingerprints are found on the man’s truck.
Sheriff Alan Pangborn thinks it’s an open-and-shut case, but until he interviews Thad, who has witnesses to the fact he was at home miles away when the murder occurred.
The Dark Half blends the mundane with bizarre facts about twins, adds a touch of Alfred Hitchcock, and winds up with the all-too-real possibility that the Beaumont’s marriage won’t survive.
It also leaves the question: How do novelists create their characters?
The Dark Half by Stephen King
Viking. ©1989. 431 p.
1989 bestseller #2; my grade: B
©2019 Linda G. Aragoni