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Joyland (Hard Case Crime Novels) Mass Market Paperback – May 27, 2014
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"This book is one of those thrills we come across every so often when least expected!" - Hellnotes
"Joyland is one of Stephen King’s best novels" - Horror Movie Reviews
"King saved the big scares for Dr. Sleep, but Joyland is ultimately superior." - Complex’s Best Books of 2013
"Set in a dying amusement park in the south, Joyland features a ghost and a serial killer, but the real heart of the novel is a coming of age story, one that took me vividly back to my own youth, working the rides at Uncle Milty's in Bayonne." - George R.R Martin
"Joyland is full of nostalgia and some really sweet moments that had me tearing up. It's easy to forget that anything else is going on, you're so wrapped up in the lives of these characters.
4.5 out of 5 Stars (read it, read it now)" - Only The Best SciFi
"This one’s a must for King fans and may also attract YA readers." – Library Journal
"...period murder mystery with a heart...King brings his usual finesse to this tale’s mystery elements" – Publishers Weekly
"...the book...features some of King's most graceful writing...ruminative, amused, digressive, marvelously unaffected, and finally, devastatingly sad." – Entertainment Weekly
"An amusement park and murder figure into a coming-of-age tale in this miniature thriller with a hint of the supernatural." – Los Angeles Times
“Undeniable…charm [and] aching nostalgia…[JOYLAND] reads like a heartfelt memoir and might be King’s gentlest book, a canny channeling of the inner peace one can find within outer tumult.” – Booklist
"Wrapped in a gloriously pulpy cover, Joyland is a coming-of-age story set in 1973 at a North Carolina amusement park -- creepy! -- that's haunted by a murderer." – Time Magazine
"Stephen King's carny-saturated Joyland evokes the ghosts of summers past -- literally." – New York Magazine
“Joyland, by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime, June). An old-school, pulpy paperback ghost story set in a North Carolina amusement park.” – Departures Magazine
“King's latest thriller, a PG-13 pulp paperback crime novel takes place at a remote carny park where college kid Devin is desperate to see the ghost of a girl whose murderer might still be
lurking around the hot dog stands.” – Cosmopolitan Magazine
“Joyland is a joy. A gem whatever its genre.” – Tor.com
"This is a wonderful return to old school King." – We Love This Book
"Joyland is a fantastic story. This is a compelling and yet oddly gentle tale of a young man experiencing the ache of heartbreak and the curve-balls life can throw at you." – Geek Native
"From horror authority Stephen King comes some hard-boiled action, with all the elements of a good crime novel—including the early ’70s, southern secrets, carnivals, and a meddling college kid." – The Daily Muse
"If you’re a King fan you may want to set this on your wishlist " – Bookmuch
"This Joyland is not innocent, of course. Its retro thrills include an enticingly steamy cover, Hard Case Crime’s sensually tactile paperback format, and a cover line that asks, “Who Dares Enter the Funhouse of Fear?”" – New York Times
“It’s good to have a book like this now – simple, sweet, and not a little scary – to remind us that among the prequels and sequels, the epics and the TV miniseries, Stephen King can still spin one hell of a little yarn.” “As usual, King slips in and out of genre effortlessly, but it’s gratifying that at the core of Joyland exists a story worthy of being called a Hard Case Crime.” “Misdirection and red herrings abound, delightfully, and the weather-ravaged denouement could play out as the conclusion to a Donald Westlake or Lawrence Block novel.” – FEARnet
"Red meat for any Stephen King fan." – TalkStephenKing.com
“This is a Stephen King novel that you can start on your vacation and actually finish before the flight home.” – Men’s Health, Selected By Amazon
“A remarkable tour-de-force.” – Comic Book Resources
"This is Stephen King at his emotional best." – Florida Times-Union
“It is easy to connect with Devin as well as many of the secondary characters as King develops this descriptive, entertaining tale of personal growth and murder.” –
"Joyland is pretty much perfect in its pursuit of diversion." “This story of a broken heart, a summer job and a beach amusement park — infused with ghosts, killers and a boy with "the sight" — is lovingly streamlined. It starts strong, ends stronger. Sturdy finales are never a given with King, but this one, Constant Readers, will have you gasping and, ultimately, blinking back big fat tears." "The ultimate "beach" book from one of literature's slyest entertainers." – Tampa Bay Times
“As you read the dialogue, the book becomes less a story about a summer’s mystery than a tale of entry into another, coexisting world, one with its own rules, codes, and language.” “The splashy and aggressively sexy packaging is the tip of the iceberg.” – LA Review of Books
“[a] fun book with a touch of winter’s chill around the edges” Tor.com
About the Author
Stephen lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. They are regular contributors to a number of charities including many libraries and have been honored locally for their philanthropic activities.
- Item Weight : 5.3 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1781167694
- Product dimensions : 4.11 x 0.86 x 6.75 inches
- Publisher : Hard Case Crime (May 27, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #135,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is one of those stories that leads you gently in; introducing the main character, flawed and vulnerable, and making you wonder what could possibly be so interesting it takes a book to tell the tale. Devin Jones is a likable and relatable character. Nursing a broken heart, the college student gets a job as a “carny” at an amusement park called Joyland. It’s summer in a small North Carolina town and Devin signs on at the amusement park in Heaven’s Bay. King sprinkles the story liberally with the language of carnies, “the talk.” Every character steps forward with a unique identity as mysteries unfold. And the mysteries are both scary and heartwarming. King has an uncanny ability to blend the tender with the violent, the sweet with the bitter, and the every day with the nightmare.
Devin Jones may be the narrator of the story, but there is a hell of a lot more to this than the adventures of a “twenty-one-year-old virgin” and a summer job at a small, local amusement park. Joyland may be the place families gather for fun, but there is far more to the place than Howie the Happy Hound, Happy Helpers, a fortune teller named Madame Fortuna (Rozzie Gold), Hollywood Girls with cameras, and the Wiggle Waggle Village. There’s Horror House. Every amusement park and carnival has one, a scary ride. This scary ride is extra special. Horror House was the scene of a murder; an unsolved murder. And that unsolved murder left a little something behind; the ghost of Linda Gray. Here lies the first mystery.
Stephen King can’t leave that mystery to stand alone, although it is a good one. There’s also the little boy in the wheelchair, the woman, and the Jack Russell Terrier that live in the big house on the beach. King artfully weaves these stories together, delicately connecting the dots. But even when I thought I knew the answer (and that happened more than once), I was taken by surprise. When the climax finally came in a hair-raising ride in the middle of a storm I was sitting up in bed practically hearing the thunder and watching the lightning flash.
Alongside the King horror is the poignant story of a young man inexplicably cast in the role of hero and detective, a mother and a boy with a special gift, and the pain of love and loss. As I said, King has an uncanny ability.
Whether you are a Stephen King fan or not, if you enjoy a solid mystery with vibrant characters, read Joyland.
Top reviews from other countries
There’s a few things to say about King - Firstly, he’s entirely type-cast as a horror author. This book refutes that. Secondly, he sets scenes and builds character like no-one else in the game. Thirdly, he writes tales of youth and nostalgia so cinematically it’s impossible not to be immersed in the action.
On a podcast the other day, I heard it said about King - “He writes places and characters so well, that when he writes something into the narrative like a psychic child, or a ghost, or something paranormal, you can accept it because of the realism of everything else going on. The craziness becomes plausible because of the normality of the world he’s created”.
This book is not gorey. It’s not remotely scary. What it is, is a tale of a man looking back on the summer he grew up, how he overcame his first lost love (which unless you married your high school sweetheart, we’ve all been through!), and interwoven was a couple of sub-stories which actually allowed this book to have a decent climax.
Not a word was wasted in this book, the prose entirely beautiful and nostalgic, the tales funny, witty and charming. And then, in the rarest of rares, Stephen King finished a story perfectly, and second rarest of rares, I had tears streaming down my face.
As I read this book, I had my review in mind, it was headed for a solid 4-star from very early on, but that last 10% had me standing up and applauding.
This is King at his best. Struggling off the “slasher” tag and taking us on a beautiful emotional journey. This feels like a shorter, warm-up for 11/22/63, which is a must read if you loved Joyland!
From there we start to learn more about Joyland, and the people behind it. Although it's billed as a horror story, there isn't much blood, and the horror is contained in the 'dark ride' and the fragility of human life. The suspense and anticipation comes from the idea that this horror could be released somehow. This tension builds throughout and the ending will not disappoint.
I don't want to write more and risk spoiling the plot, but this book touched me and stayed with me. The last few pages were read through teary eyes. You will find part of yourself in this book, the part of you that you lost years ago and can never get back.
This book outlines the tradition of King as a horror / fantasy writer into a writer of thriller novels and personally I think that he is one of the greatest authors of thrillers that I have ever had the privilege of reading. I look forward to reading more of his books and waiting with bated breath for King to write more and more thrillers in the future.
With a Stephen King novel there are certain expectations. Horror, supernatural, characters from Maine and they are all present here but don’t really come to the forefront until the final act. An even then almost as an afterthought. Instead most of Joyland is spent with Devin as he works at the titular theme park over a summer trying to get over a heartbreak. All the while being told of a mysterious murder that took place in it’s House of Horrors and the ghost that subsequently haunts the place.
It’s obvious that King has done his research into theme parks and the history of carnies, perhaps too much so. He shoves it all in the book; going into minute detail into the running of a theme park, the language that carnies use, how the rides work etc, to the detriment of the plot, the solving of the murder, which is gasping for a foothold in the story and when it finally does later in the book it is almost too late. And it’s no surprise that this is where King comes into his element, with an exciting finale taking place in a storm battered Joyland.
More disturbing than the fascination with theme parks was King’s attitude towards women. They are broad archetypes and add little to the narrative past being objects for Devin to be attracted to or repulsed by. It was if he was trying to ape the pulpiness that the Hard Case Crime books are, and refer back to but it doesn’t mesh with modern sensibility. I haven’t read much Stephen King so this might be an exception rather than the rule but it left a sour taste.
Like many of Stephen King’s books Joyland attempts to mix the macabre with a coming of age tale, but in Joyland he phones it in and fails on both counts. He veers too far into telling a coming of age tale and showing off his research rather than what we want in a Stephen King novel, mystery.