4 Creepy Pretzels
A Brief Synopsis:
Thad Beaumont is a semi-successful fiction writer with a secret. He is also a super successful fiction writer under the pen name George Stark. Thad and his wife, Liz, live in Maine with their twin babies while George Stark resides in Mississippi and Thad’s mind. When a fan discovers the truth and threatens to blow up Thad’s whole gig, he outs himself and “kills” George Stark. This little publicity stunt led to an uptick in sales of both Beaumont and Stark books and a whole lot of murder.
Spoiler-ish, but Not Really:
When Thad Beaumont was a wee little guy, he started having headaches. The headaches were preceded by the sounds of birds, specifically sparrows. I have no idea how little Thad knew they were sparrows, I couldn’t identify a sparrow if my life depended on it. I don’t care much for birds. They’re untrustworthy and I assume they’re going to get tangled in my hair, lay eggs, and make me go crazy. So, I keep my distance and would like them to do the same.
Thad eventually had seizures, so his parents took him to a doctor. He had a tumor. But, turns out:
It’s a wee twin brother Thad absorbed in the womb. But he did a half-ass job because now twin brother is growing in his brain. Which is both horrifying and fascinating.
So, doctor removes the not tumor and, because he’s kind of bad at his job, doesn’t tell any of the Beaumonts what the deal was. Time passes. Thad recovers and moves on. He becomes a writer and, when struggling with writer’s block, writes under another personality he has created. He teaches at the college where he has a delightful colleague, a folklorist named Rawlie. Thad’s home life is wonderful. He and his wife Liz had a set of twins after a miscarriage, who also happened to be twins. Everything is comin’ up roses. Until a man calling himself George Stark comes up, literally, and begins murdering a bunch of people. Anyone associated with the reveal and “death” of George Stark is up for grabs, meaning the Beaumonts are in major danger.
Enter Sheriff Alan Pangborn from Castle Rock. If you are an avid Stephen King reader, then you know that Pangborn makes frequent appearances and I, for one, was happy to see him.
With Alan on the case, things take a bad turn for Thad. You see, his fingerprints are all over the place, his particular brand of cigarette – though he quit years ago – is all over the place. He’s in trouble. Thad discloses to Pangborn that he believes George Stark has come to life. Pangborn is like, “Nah, fam. That’s crazy.” It is, but it’s also accurate.
George goes on an insane killing spree, eventually meets up with Thad, and the two buy matching outfits and hit the town.
J/K. Shit gets wild. With the help of Rawlie, Thad develops a plan; an insane, bird-heavy plan. Does it work? You’ll have to read it to find out.
Thoughts and Feelings:
I like fictional books about writers. Writers are weird – being one, I can say that – so stories about them are usually interesting. Plus, having your lead be a writer allows you to really explore the supernatural stuff because a writer is more likely to buy that his brain tumor twin came to life than, say, an accountant.
I saw some parallels to my own life. I have a “dark half”. Her name is Ryanne Harper and if she ever tries to come for me, she gonna get got.
And, like Thad, I, too, am friends with an eccentric folklorist. They’re important people to have around if you care about keeping your house fairies happy, or if you need to know how to control murder birds.
I’ve read a lot of SK and this is one of my favorites. It’s weird, dark, scary, and I have a weird crush on Alan Pangborn.
P.S. Oh, we’re giving away free downloads of our first book Fall: An Ermahgerd Merstery. Check it out, y’all.
2 thoughts on “Dark Half: A Review”
I really like the review. I will share it with the Stephen King group I am a member of on FB. It is called Stephen King Lovers (or SKL as we call it).
Thank you, Jackie! That’s high praise coming from a Stephen King devotee such as yourself. And feel free to share away!