I found myself with an odd sense of deja-vu throughout the reading of this collection. I've also just finished Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and so comparisons are inevitable. Both books deal in part with the abuse, torture, rape and murder of women. However, where King excels far above Larsson is his depiction of "ordinary people in extra-ordinary situations". His characters are believable, and I found that he evoked more emotion in 100 or so pages than Larsson did in his entire book. The female characters - Tess and Darcy - in their respective stories, are both kickass and completely ordinary.
These stories are dark, "harsh" - King himself admits they were hard to write. However, they are not without hope. There are - please excuse the awful pun - a few stars left in the dark at the end of the last three stories at least - I will admit I found none in the first. For example, Tess's life may be irrevocably changed after not only being raped, but committing three somewhat brutal murders. However the end of the story indicates that she will recover, in time. Same with Darcy (who I felt the most sorry for, in the end. Her story came across as the most believable, maybe that's why).
On the (ever so slightly) bright side, Fair Extension is darkly humorous in its portrayal of a man who sells not his own soul, but another man's life to the devil (or "Elvid").
I have so far only ever enjoyed or appreciated King's writing, and this book is no exception. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of his short stories.