Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Audiobook Review: A Good Marriage and Big Driver by Stephen King

Bob Anderson, Darcy’s husband of more than twenty years, is away on one of his business trips, when his unsuspecting wife looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers she doesn’t know her husband at all, but rather has been living with a stranger. This horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, could be the end of what Darcy though was a good marriage…


From Goodreads:
Tess Thorne, a famous mystery writer, faces a long drive home following a book signing engagement. Advised to take a shortcut at the suggestion of the event’s planner, Tess sets out for home, well after dark. On a lonely stretch of New England road, her tire blows out, and when a man in a pick up stops, it is not to help her, but to repeatedly assault her and leave her for dead. Tess survives, and she plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself, capable of gruesome violence.
Each of these stories comes from the short story collection Full Dark, No Stars.  I liked the idea of something relatively short that I could listen to over the course of just a day or two on my commute, and the fact that these were both being made into movies also appealed to me.

I don't think I'd classify either as great works of literature, or even as my favorites from King.  They were pretty standard suspense/thriller fare - I wasn't surprised to see that Big Driver would be a direct-to-TV Lifetime "event."  It fits into Lifetime programming perfectly, in terms of being a fairly cliched story with over-the-top drama.  Obviously, I loved them both, but not because the writing was particularly impressive.  Without the length of some of his other works, the detailed backstories that really appeal to me as characteristic of King's best writing just weren't there.  Decent, but nothing to write home about.

Entertainment Value
This is where everything came together for me.  I loved the female protagonists in both books and their "every woman" personas.   They're just two regular ladies who are placed in terrible situations and have to make some incredibly difficult decisions.  They aren't super spies or trained assassins or possessed of some secret ninja background - they're just like you or me.  I also love a good revenge story, and both of these have some element of taking the law into your own hands when doing things the "legal" way just won't cut it.  Both stories are fairly over the top in terms of believability, but I wouldn't change that for anything.  I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Well done.  The narrator for Big Driver had an accent I couldn't quite place, and it threw me for the first twenty minutes or so, but once I got used to it I forgot all about it.  I have no complaints.  Then length of these was also perfect (around 3 hours) for a road trip or long commute.

Highly recommend both, especially if you enjoy a good suspense/thriller or vigilante justice.  Very satisfying and fun to listen to.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing me with copies to review!

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