The Dark Half
by Stephen King
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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
On The Flap
When Thad Beaumont wakes to the nightmare of George Stark, he hears birds,
thousands of them, all cheeping and twittering at the same time, and with the sound comes
a presentiment full of memory and foreboding: The sparrows are flying again.
Thad Beaumont is a writer, and for a dozen years he secretly published
novels under the name of "George Stark" because he was no longer able to write
under his own name. He even invented a slightly sinister author biography to satisfy
the many fans of Stark's violent bestsellers. But Thad is a healthier and happier
man now, the father of infant twins, and starting to write as himself again. He no
longer needs George Stark, and in fact has a good reason to lay Stark to rest. So,
with nationwide publicity, a bit of guilt, and a good deal of relief, the pseudonym is
In the small town of Castle Rock, Maine, where Thad and Liz keep a summer
home, Sheriff Alan Pangborn ponders the brutal roadside murder of a man named Homer
Gamache. When Homer's pick-up truck is found, the bloody fingerprints of the
perpetrator are all over it. They match Thad Beaumont's exactly. Armed with
hard evidence, Pangborn pays the Beaumonts a visit, and suddenly he too is thrust into a
dream so bizarre that neither criminal science nor his own sharp mind can make sense of
At the center of the nightmare is the devastating figure of George Stark,
Thad Beaumont's dark half -- impossibly alive and relentlessly on the loose -- a killing
machine that destroys everyone on the path that leads to the man who created him. As
Stark approaches, as Thad and Liz contend with the escalating horror and implacable threat
of his existence and Thad reaches deep inside his own mind to mount a defense, forces
gather in the air above Castle Lake, outriders of the dead to the land of the living. ...
To whom do they belong?
Here is The Dark Half, a tale of terror so real and fascinating that
Stephen King's growing legion of fans will find themselves squirming in the master's
heart-stopping, blood-curdling grip -- and loving every minute of it.
Buy The Book
The Dark Half (1989) -
Library Binding (1999),
Mass Market Paperback (1994),
Large Print Hardcover (1991),
Large Print Paperback (1991)
The Dark Half -
Microsoft Reader Download,
Adobe Reader Download
The Dark Half (unabridged) -
The Dark Half (1993) -
Stephen King DVD Collector Set (Misery / The Dark Half / Needful Things / Carrie)