The Dark Half
Dark Half, The (novel)
Publisher's info
Title: The Dark Half
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Viking Press
1st printing: October 20th, 1989
ISBN: ISBN 978-0-670-82982-8
Page count: 431

The Dark Half is a full-length American novel of the supernatural thriller genre. It was written by famed horror author Stephen King and published by Viking Press. It was first released in hardcover edition on October 20th, 1989.

For years, Thad Beaumont has been writing books under the pseudonym George Stark. When a journalist threatens to expose Beaumont's pen name, the author decides to go public first, killing off his pseudonym. Stark isn't content to be dispatched that easily, though. Beaumont's alter ego comes to life and begins to stalk those responsible for his demise. The police suspect Beaumont is responsible for these violent crimes.

Synopsis Edit

Thad Beaumont is an author and recovering alcoholic who lives in the town of Ludlow, Maine. Thad's own books – cerebral literary fiction – are not very successful. However, under the pen name "George Stark", he writes highly successful crime novels about a violent killer named Alexis Machine. When Thad's authorship of Stark's novels becomes public knowledge, Thad and his wife, Elizabeth, decide to stage a mock burial for his alter ego at the local cemetery, which is featured in a People magazine article. Stark's epitaph says it all: "Not A Very Nice Guy".

Stark, however, emerges from the mock grave as a physical entity, complete with the personality traits that Thad exhibited while writing as Stark, such as drinking heavily and smoking Pall Mall cigarettes. He then goes on a killing spree, gruesomely murdering everyone he perceives responsible for his "death" – Thad's editor, agent, and the People interviewer, among others. Thad, meanwhile, is plagued by surreal nightmares. Stark's murders are investigated by Alan Pangborn, the sheriff of the neighboring town of Castle Rock, who finds Thad's voice and fingerprints at the crime scenes. This evidence, and Thad's unwillingness to answer his questions, causes Pangborn to believe that Thad – despite having alibis – is responsible for the murders. Later, it is discovered that George Stark has the same fingerprints as Thad Beaumont, a clue to the twinship he and Thad share.

Thad eventually discovers that he and Stark share a mental bond, and begins to find notes from Stark written in his own handwriting. The notes tell Thad what activity Stark has been engaging in. Observing his son and daughter, Thad notes that twins share a unique bond. They can feel each other's pain and at times appear to read the other's mind. Using this as a key to his own situation, he begins to discover the even deeper meaning behind himself and Stark.

Pangborn eventually learns that Thad had a twin. The unborn brother was absorbed into Thad in utero and later removed from his brain when the author was a child. He had suffered from severe headaches and it was originally thought to be a tumor causing them. The neurosurgeon who removed it found the following inside: part of a nostril, some fingernails, some teeth, and a malformed human eye. This leads to questions about the true nature of Stark, whether he is a malevolent spirit with its own existence, or Thad himself, manifesting an alternate personality. Thad eventually vanquishes Stark, but the book ends on an unhappy note with Thad's wife having serious doubts about the future of their relationship: she is appalled that Thad not only created Stark (if unintentionally), but that a part of him liked Stark.

Characters Edit

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Items Edit

  • Pall Mall cigarettes

Miscellaneous Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The Dark Half is Stephen King's twenty-seventh full length novel. It is his eighteenth novel written under his own name.
  • An adventure video game adaptation was released for DOS in 1992. It was developed by Symtus and published by Capstone Software.
  • The premise of this book mirrors Stephen King's own career in that he also wrote novels under the pen name of Richard Bachman. As Bachman, King's stories strayed away from horror and delved into other genres, often with a more cynical approach.
  • This book delves into the concept of a parasitic twin, which is a rare biological condition in which a second embryo begins developing in utero, but never fully separates into a twin at birth. Unlike conjoined twins, the secondary fetus has a stunted developmental cycle with the primary twin serving as the dominant form. Or, in other words: It's a whole big bag of Nasty AF. Historically, parasitic twins occur most commonly in India.
  • This book also deals with the subject of alcoholism, of which Stephen King also wrestled with during his early career.
  • The character of Alan Pangborn also appears in the 1991 novel Needful Things, as well as the film adaptation of both books. He is the first character in Stephen King's retinue, who is of some import, who makes major appearances in more than one book.
  • Andy Clutterbuck is another character who appears in both this book and in Needful Things.

See also Edit

Recommended novels Edit

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External Links Edit

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This article relates to the works of Stephen King.
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