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Joyland (Hard Case Crime) Paperback – June 4, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime; 1st edition (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781162646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781162644
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: What a smart, sweet, spooky, sexy gem of a story. In this one-off for the Hard Case Crime publishing imprint, King has found yet another outlet and format (print only, a zippy 280 pages) to suit his considerable talents. All are on full display here in the story of Devon Jones--"a twenty-one-year-old virgin with literary aspirations … and a broken heart"--who spends the summer of 1973 at Joyland amusement park in North Carolina. Devon makes new pals, proves himself to the hard-core carny workers, saves a girl’s life, befriends a dying boy (who has a secret gift), and falls for the boy’s protective, beautiful mother. The first half of the story is sweet and nostalgic, with modest hints of menace to come. (Think: “The Body,” King’s novella that became the film Stand By Me.) Devon learns to “sell fun” and “wear the fur” (carny-speak for dressing as Howie the Happy Hound, the park mascot), but he also learns about the woman who had been killed in the Funhouse, whose ghost still haunts Joyland. King has fun with the carny lingo--most of it researched and real, some of it invented. (The Ferris wheel, for example, is the chump-hoister.) The second half gets spookier, spinning into a full-on murder mystery--but also a love story, and a coming-of-age-story, with some supernatural fun woven in. More than a trifecta, this is King at his narrative and nostalgic best. A single-session tale to savor some summer afternoon. And then try not to keep thinking back on it. --Neal Thompson

From Publishers Weekly

Michael Kelly begins his rendition of King's engaging short novel sounding pleasantly satisfied, if wistful, with just a twinge of regret—precisely the mood of Devin Jones, the book's protagonist. Now in his 60s, Devin recalls the details of how he spent 1973, working as a Happy Helper at Joyland, a slightly seedy North Carolina amusement park where, several years before his arrival, a young girl was murdered on a ride called Horror House. Kelly follows King's lead in fashioning a proper voice for each and every character, creating a delightfully unpretentious and winning listening experience. With this performance, it seems as if Kelly is himself responding to the advice given to new carnival employees by the sweetly paternal Joyland director, Bradley Easterbrook: Remember, the old man tells them, you're here to sell fun. A Hard Case paperback. (June) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

Great setting for the book, good character development and a story that holds your interest.
E. Baker
I'm glad I read it and thought it was a very good book but I don't think I want to feel the way I felt while reading this book again.
I found the book to be an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages right up until the very last.
G. T. Hopkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

595 of 670 people found the following review helpful By krissskrosss on June 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a kid looking for something to pique my literary hunger beyond the outgrown Judy Blume and Babysitters Club series, I crept into my parents' library late one night and stumbled on a book about a pyrokinetic young girl on the run with her father. I snuck it back to my room under my shirt and spent the next few nights devouring it under my blankets with a flashlight. I quickly moved on to The Shining, Carrie, Cujo, and It. And so began my literary love affair with Stephen King at 11 years old.

Over the years, I've loved some books more than others, but the Dark Tower series were really what convinced me that he could do no wrong. But after his accident had taken its toll and a string of books read somewhat uninspired and formulaic, I figured his best work was behind him. I was a little sad, of course, but grateful for all the entertainment and inspiration I found through his previous books. Besides, everyone has to lose their mojo eventually, right?

Oh, so very, very wrong.

I knew it three chapters into 11/22/63. And now, the thrill ride that is Joyland proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt: Stephen King's mojo is back, full force. It's like Jerry Garcia in a bag, man. Except in a book.

And speaking of BOOKS...

I drove to the store late last night and stayed up through the wee hours of the morning reading Joyland under my blankets, this time with a slightly more advanced book light. To those complaining about the fact that King didn't release it on e-book, quit your whining. Reading an actual book (not a screen) is FUN. As an adult now with kids of my own who love to read, ebook are strictly for school or literary emergencies (only real book lovers know what I mean) in our house.
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157 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on June 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Joyland consumed me, took me down into a world I can still remember outside of the novel because I lived through those times as well, and left me nostalgic and emotionally exhausted. This book is one of Stephen King's best, a steady, haunting melody of memory and youth and innocence that was euphoric.

Readers looking for one of King's bloodthirsty romps aren't going to get that here. They're going to get the Stephen King that wrote Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and "The Body," all tales that I enjoy and recommend to any reader, especially those who think that all the author produces are horror stories.

Devin Jones, the main character, is me at 21, and I think he's a lot of the guys who grew up in the 1970s when the Vietnam War was going on, the battle of the sexes was being waged, and the world was in turmoil. King doesn't really talk about the big issues in this novel, but you can see them in Dev is you know where to look.

Dev is a guy who's just trying to live a quiet life, a "right" life, and find a small amount of happiness chasing his dreams. Of course, he's chasing after the wrong girl, and yeah, a lot of us have been there too.

The book wanders around a lot and introduces a lot of characters, but I was glad to check out the scenery and I enjoyed getting to meet all the people. There are several familiar characters in these pages, all of them the kind of folks King generally tucks into his stories - real people with real histories that we only get glimpses of, which is like real life too. You get the feeling that King knows a lot more about these characters than he shows here, and with his habit of bringing characters back to sprinkle into other novels, I get the feeling that we'll see some of them again.
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56 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Steve HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ok, so there's a new Stephen King book out called Joyland. Here are some of the key components:

- A serial killer who slashes throats at amusement parks.
- A ghost.
- A little boy with a special ability to just sort of 'know things'.
- A whodunnit mystery.
- A college kid who loses his sweetheart and grows up.

As everyone knows, Stephen King is the master of terror - so you might expect the first three components listed above to be the most important parts of Joyland... but you would be wrong!

Joyland is, at its heart, the coming of age tale of 21 year old Devin Jones. Devin is an everyman, a nice guy. He's going through a rough breakup with his first true love. He gets a job at Joyland, a second rate amusement park filled with cool college kids at summer jobs and weirdo carnies that are kind of there for life. There's a fortune teller, some sexy girls who take photos and pressure you into buying them, and plenty other flavorful characters. It's a flavorful and interesting backdrop for a novel.

As mentioned above, Devin is dealing with a lot of stuff. He's a young kid in an emotional part of life, and the ghost, serial killer, etc. serve as plot devices for some real growing up. The ghost and serial killer might sound scary, but there aren't really very many scary moments in Joyland. There are a few, I guess, but there are many more touching moments. Moments where you want to reach out to Devin and say, "Devin, hang in there dude - we'll get through this together and things will work out great." This isn't a book that will keep you up at night, this is a book that will keep you wondering how Stephen King can put into words so perfectly what it's like to like a girl who likes someone else better than you.
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