In Book Reviews on January 29, 2014 at 6:00 am
Titan Books 2013

Titan Books 2013

This book was quite unlike Stephen King’s usual fare. I expected to be terrified but instead found something far different. This certainly isn’t a bad thing. Just not what I expected.

Nutshell blurb: Devin Jones recalls a summer in his youth where he worked at an amusement park in North Carolina called Joyland. A murder was committed years ago and the crime looms over the park and those who work there.

This story is a murder mystery with a heavy focus on the characters. The murder mystery isn’t the main point of the book, though. It focuses mainly on the protagonist and the things he’s going through in his life at that time. There isn’t a lot of action, but I found that to be ok because we really get into the main character’s head.

I know I’ve said this in previous posts, but Mr. King has a talent for creating characters that are relatable. His characters feel as thought they could really exist. For me, this is what makes his scary stories even scarier.

For this book, it was more about painting a vivid picture of a really likable guy.

I felt really sad when I finished this book. It was very moving and I had quite the book hangover when I finally put it down. Unfortunately, I finished it while I was on my lunch break and I found it really difficult to switch gears and get back to work.

Note to self: Don’t finish any more books at work!

It was pretty painful.

I really loved this book. It has a lot of soul. I think that you’ll be disappointed if you go into it thinking that it’s going to scare the pants off of you, but it’s worth a read if you can appreciate an excellent character study as well as a slow-burning murder mystery.

  1. I’ve discovered Stephen King is really very versatile. The scary stuff is just what made him famous.

  2. I read this last year and it was one of my favorite books read in 2013. Glad you liked it, too!

  3. I like Stephen King for about 200 pages. Then the books seem to bog down for me. There seems to be too much of a good thing, if you know what I mean? It’s not the pace, but there is extra that seems — extraneous. So I wonder. I do love mystery writing above all else, especially character-oriented – and I had thought about trying this one, and your review prompts me to order it from the library. Thanks for writing.

    • I can definitely understand that as his books do tend to be rather long. This book is only a couple of hundred pages so perhaps you’ll like it. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it once you’ve read it!

  4. It’s great to come across books like that, where it’s not just good, but so good you don’t want it to end. Yeah you feel sad when it’s over, but it’s great to have the luck to come across something of that calibre.

    • Definitely! It was very moving, marred only by the fact that I finished it on my lunch break. It’s hard to bask in a special moment in a crowded break room with Sky news blasting on the television. If only the world would be quiet during my ruminations…

  5. You are the second person to review this book in as many months. I haven’t been a huge fan of Stephan King, because straight horror is not my thing, but I might have to give this book a try.

  6. .There are books of his that may not be to one’s taste, but Stephen King is above all a master storyteller.

  7. Reblogged this on Bookspume and commented:
    I can’t wait to read this!

  8. King has a brilliant SF quest-style series called The Gunslinger. One of my faves! It captivated me, although the first book is kind of dry. I also avoid horror, but I stumbled into it and never regretted it.

    • I’ve gotta say that The Gunslinger series didn’t really do it for me. I was really surprised that it didn’t hook me at all. It’s been the only thing I’ve read of his so far that I actually haven’t really liked. I’m not even actually sure why, but I had a really difficult time finishing the first book and therefore couldn’t really be bothered to read his others. I’m a huge fan of his stand alone books, though.

      • Yes, the first book is bad. I nearly dropped the series afterI read it. He was tripped out on cocaine when he wrote it. The later books get much better.

      • That’s what my husband keeps telling me but I can’t bear the thought of trying the second book if I didn’t like the first one.

      • Haha, totally understand. I’m currently struggling through a series i’m not real crazy about.

      • There are way too many good books to read to struggle through something that you’re not feeling. We can’t all like everything. I’m quite happy to drop things and move on with my life. šŸ™‚

  9. Got a bit disappointed with the ‘scooby doo ‘ ending though. And the beach scenes reminded me of the Duma Key for some reason. .

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