Book Review: Stephen King's Joyland

Book Stephen King's Joyland
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PLOT: Old man Devin Jones looks back at when he was a young, wide eyed adult. He spent time working at Carnival then and he experienced a broken heart, an unsolved murder, a haunted house ride that was truly haunted and a courtship with a dying kid and his sexy mom...yup Devin had an EVENTFUL life and he wants to share it with yall!

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book." – Stephen King

MY THOUGHTS: Like many of you out there STEPHEN KING is one of them authors that has been with me for a long, long time time. I mean when I was kid/teenager with nothing to do but play with myself, watch horror movies and read, I devoured all of his books. The Stand, The Shining, Pet Semetary, Night Shift, IT, Skeleton Crew, On Writing (I go back to that one all the time, mucho recommended to all aspiring writers out there), you name it, I tapped it! As a grown up, nothing brings me more pleasure than having a King book with me when I go on vacation. Cell, Desperation, Duma Key and From A Buick 8 are all books that I associate with a special time in my life; when I didn't have to work and I could just kick back and read a goddamn book! Now, I hadn't read a King book since Duma Key (no time for a vacation these days), but that was recently rectified when I was sent his latest novel JOYLAND for review.

F*ck Disneyworld! I wanna go to Joyland!

The first thing that struck me about JOYLAND was its old school pulp novel like cover. Being the schmuck that I am, I actually went online to see if JOYLAND was an old King book that was re-released in the name of che and ching. It wasn't. That's just how publishers HARD CASE CRIME roll! They're all about reprinting old hard-boiled books with old fashion covers and they gave this King tale the same treatment. Bravo! The eye popping cover owns and thankfully so does the book. Talk about a page turner! I gotta give it to King, he still has the Midas touch after all them years and JOYLAND was concrete proof of that for me. Granted anybody that knows King will recognize elements from his past stories The Body (which they turned into a film called Stand by Me) and to some degree The Shining, but the man took the familiar, spun it and made it feel fresh!

JOYLAND worked on many levels. It was an endearing coming of age tale first, which addressed heart break, loss of one's virginity, the need of a family, even if surrogate and a young buck living and learning through new experiences. And by way of King's earnest and bold writing, I as the reader, experienced what the protagonist did. I was right there with that dude! Loving, fearing and feeling every second of it. The book was also an engrossing look into the world of carnies (dug the lingo, with some of it made up by King), with likeable side characters to hnag with while exploring the ins and outs of working at an Indie amusement park. I kind of envied good old Dev as I was reading this story, killer on the loose aside, working there sounded like a blast to me!  

Joyland treats you right! Meet The Hollywood Girls! Yes they're in the story!

The story acted as a riveting and touching drama as well. I felt for the guy and what he went through many times. And finally it was a mystery/ghost story, one that kept me guessing! Told in the first person, narrated by the main character, I couldn't stop reading the damn thing. Addictive was the word and me shutting off my phone and telling my peeps to F off so I could stay in the world that King had created was the result. I was actually sad when I turned the last page and closed the book. I could've chilled in that world for another 100 pages easy. Any drawbacks? Nothing major, if I had one complaint it would be that I would have liked for the story to have more emphasis on its supernatural and sinister elements. It felt an inch too soft for a King book. But hey that's just me.

On the whole JOYLAND was simply a delight! Witty, deep, charming, randomly frightening and most of all honest. They don't call him KING for nothing! If you're a King fan, this is a must read! If you're not, it's an ideal introduction to the man if you ask me. Looking forward to his book sequel to THE SHINING, DOCTOR SLEEP! Will keep that one for my next vacation! There's no better feeling than lying in a hammock with the sun shining on me while reading a Stephen King book... I love it!


Extra Tidbit: King’s first stint with Hard Case was his novel THE COLORADO KID, which I haven't read. Any good?



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