Books: Slice Of Death

THE DARK HALF

by Stephen King

Viking; 431 pages; $21.95

Another Stephen King blood leaker is loosed upon the world, this one in a record first printing of 1.5 million copies. The ghost of Gutenberg, calling feebly for beer from the gridiron of some Germanic hell, must be wondering whether movable type was really a good idea.

That is snobbery, of course, and a reader addicted to another sort of trash -- detective stories, say -- must distrust his instinct to ridicule horror novels. But in each genre there is good trash and bad trash, and King's does not seem very...

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