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article imageReview: Terror at the Amusement Park, 'Joyland' by Stephen King

By Timothy Whitt     Oct 12, 2013 in Entertainment
Stephen King is known the world over for his novels, short stories and movies. His novels have sold millions of copies. A number of his books have also been turned into feature length films and TV shows.
Joyland, is a short novel, King wrote for the Hard Core Crime Series. The novel's main character, Devin Jones, a college student, ventures off to a summertime job at Joyland, a small amusement park in Heaven's Bay, North Carolina. Shortly before he leaves for his new job Devin breaks up with his girlfriend Wendy. His life is in romantic and existential turmoil.
Once in Heaven's Bay,Devin finds a room at Mrs. Shoplaw's Beachside rooming house where he meets two new friends Tom and Erin. The three soon find Joyland has a sinister past. Years ago a girl name Linda Gray was murdered in the one of the park's attractions and now reportedly haunts the tunnel of love like make out spot, aptly named The House of Horrors.
For the trio and especially Devin, the murder of Linda Gray and her ghost is an instant source of intrigue and a welcome distraction from his obsession with an unavailable girl back home. As the summer winds down and Tom and Erin head back to college Devin decides to stay behind and work full time at Joyland. Additionally Devin asks Erin to do some detective work for him and she finds that the murder of Linda Gray was one of several similar murders, and the killer may still be on the loose.
As the old saying goes, "you can't judge a book by its cover," which is especially true of this Stephen King offering. The front cover sports an attractive red head, in a green dress, a look of horror etched on her face. A cover which inspires thoughts of other Stephen King books like, "It" and such short stories as "Something to Tide You Over," written for the Creepshow movie.
The book ends up being more than the cover hints at. It has a ghost, a fun house, and a serial killer, and some interesting times at an amusement park with a protagonist who leaves the reader wanting to hear from his lips more about his life. The book like some of King's other books Is part horror story, part crime novel, part mystery, part carny language dictionary and a very entertaining read in true Stephen King fashion.
According to Walter Kirn of the New York Times, "King’s ambition this time around isn’t to snatch us and hold us in his grasp but to loft us up high, then briskly set us down the way a Ferris wheel does."
The book like an amusement park is full of different emotional rides from a first love, to a summer fling, to good friends who come and go, to the loss of innocence and the emergence of adulthood.
JOYLAND
By Stephen King
283 pp. Hard Case Crime. Paper, $12.95
More about Stephen king, horror novels, suspense thriller, Writer, mystery novels
 
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