Stephen King: Joyland: Review

     An amusement park, a serial killer, and a ghost.

     Joyland contains all the typical elements of a Stephen King book, but they are much more toned down.  This is for a more low key mystery reader, not a horror enthusiast.  This is a novel that isn't genre heavy, making it more palatable for the common reader.

     It's the story of Devlin Jones.  A man reminiscing upon his coming of age tale about the time he was a struggling college student getting over his first love dumping him by working at a carnival during the summer of 1973.  Recalling his curiosity with a haunted ride and getting over his bittersweet loss by becoming adopted into his new carnie family- he becomes one of them and learns to get past the idea that the world is broken by offering an escape...  through amusement.

     All culminating in a predictable but fitting ending.  He finds the murderer, gets past the broken heart, and moves on.  This is a short and subtle Stephen King read, as he has written, "Given such sad but undeniable facts of the human condition, you have been given a priceless gift this summer: you are here to sell fun.”

     While it was published as a Hard Case Crime, I feel that it is incorrect.  It has more to do with mystery and a pulp/noir feel than a man solving a crime.  Devlin even has a friend to most the leg work on looking up information on the case(s).  A part of me was hoping we'd get a true pulp-crime-noir by King but what we got sufficed.  What we got was a small dose of nostalgic fun to keep the broken world at bay.

     Mr. King has indeed sold me "fun."

     One last note: Joyland's cover art (by Robert McGinnis and Glen Orbik) is absolutely perfect.  It encapsulates a character from the book in an old time pulp cover completely worthy of the Hard Case Crime books.

1 comment:

  1. I bought Joyland on audio cd to listen to on my way to/from work. The narrator is good and keeps the story rolling and interesting. This is classic Stephen King; a good read, fun to listen to. I would recommend this one.