Stephen King: “A Good Marriage”

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Stephen King: “A Good Marriage”
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“A Good Marriage” is available on Full Dark, No StarsStephen King: Full Dark, No Stars
Psychological Thriller
Gallery Books
May, 2011
Story length: 83 pages
Website
The fourth and final story to Full Dark, No Stars is the tale “A Good Marriage.” At this point, Stephen King has tackled quite a lot regarding the darkest of human nature, from rape right down to evil spirits and rats looking to get revenge. But, this time around, we’re given a tale of discovery, and the horrors that can come with it. Does “A Good Marriage” equate to a good closing, or will it have you wanting to leave regardless of for better or worse?

Darcellen Anderson is a woman approaching an elderly age. She and her husband, Bob, have two kids, and have invested in a business together about coins. Every once in a while, Bob has to go out of town to check out someone’s collection and see if it’s good enough to buy and bring back to the store. Those nights, Darcellen usually stays home and watches her favorite television shows. Unfortunately, on this night, the batteries in the remote control are dead, and the only spares are in the garage at Bob’s workstation.

When she goes in to retrieve the batteries, she happens upon a stack of magazines. Her magazines. The old catalogues that she use to have, which Bob hid from her to keep her from ordering out of. But, the more she finds of hers, she finds others about bondage and related taboo sexual topics, as well as a hole in the wall holding some items belonging to a woman who was murdered, moving the story far past a simple disgust of male sexual explorarion that Darcellen had sometimes read about in her magazines. But, the further she digs, the more she learns about another side of her husband she never knew existed, and the link to a serial killer known simply as “B.D.”.

“A Good Marriage” is a little hard to sit through at times, but not necessarily because it’s a bad story. Unfortunately, Stephen King handles this one rather differently as far as how he writes. This is more of a personal entry, but with a southern touch to how the third person narration is being handled. Unfortunately, this leads to long, drawn out sentences are paragraphs, sometimes covering memories or the small things Bob does that Darcellen likes such as the way he brushes he teeth. There’s also the first big reveal to throw you off. When Darcellen finds the bondage magazine, you can’t help but laugh, thinking this is going to be a tale about sexual exploration. However, it grows rather grim pretty fast, though at a decent enough pace to keep the reader attentive without overburdening with too much information all at once.

The conclusion to the story is quite enjoyable, knowing that Bob was slowly being figured out by a lone gruff older police officer who is now retired. You feel for the man and how hard he worked on the case towards the end, and the interrogation tactics he uses on Darcellen are actually composed quite well, leaving you to feel the same frustration she does, wanting to get to the point already, though having to sit through plenty of sneaky tactics to try to get the answers he’s seeking. But, in the end, there isn’t that much to tell about the story, other than the lead up is as enjoyable as the conclusion, and the time between showing the two living together, trying to pretend nothing happened, was a little on the drawn out side. Despite the annoying writing that might cause you to pace how many pages you go through in one shot, “A Good Marriage” is a pretty good read.

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.