I had saved this novella for the end, but it was not a great way for me to end the collection. I should have tackled this right after my first pick, Fair Extension, where King explores the familiar Faustian bargain. Once Dave Streeter has signed the dotted line with George Elvid (hint: shuffle the letters in the last name), a cousin of Leland Gaunt, no doubt, King describes the unfolding of events like a long news story. It reminded me of Frederick Forsyth's The Art of the Matter.
Big Driver is the story of a woman who pays the price of taking a shortcut and then exacts her revenge. This is the stuff of EC comics with all humour of any kind stripped away. Rape is serious business and King makes sure every smile we crack is with Tess and never at her. The appropriate presence of films like The Last House on the Left and The Brave One is an Eastwoodian touch -- they do not beg to be treated as clever as they would have been in a Tarantino script.
A Good Marriage explores a good idea that I would imagine has been explored before (pointers welcome): imagine that you were the wife of someone like Mr. Brooks. Darcy Anderson discovers her husband's dark secret in a way that a character in a Stephen King story would and then tries to come to terms with it. King was inspired to write this story after the general public refused to accept that Paula Radar, the wife of Dennis Radar, the BTK killer, had been married to him for about thirty years and never knew anything about his evil deeds. The possibility is chilling as is the story.
Each story has a character killing someone (indirectly in Fair Extension) and ends with the character coming to terms with the deed, perhaps even being at peace after experiencing the moral conflict familiar to those who abhor violence. The writing is uncomplicated and boasts the ease, comfort and familiarity that King surely has come to enjoy after all these years. It's time to find a copy at a book sale and fill the spot once I (hopefully) manage to begin Lisey's Story.