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Joyland (Hard Case Crime Novels) Mass Market Paperback – May 27, 2014
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"Joyland is one of Stephen King’s best novels." - Horror Movie Reviews
"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 King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. He made his first professional short story sale in 1967 to Startling Mystery Stories. In the fall of 1973, he began teaching high school English classes at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels. In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co., accepted the novel Carrie for publication, providing him the means to leave teaching and write full-time. He has since published over 50 books and has become one of the world's most successful writers.
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.
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This character driven mystery is one of those gems. It is a murder mystery with just a bit of the supernatural. Also, for readers of a certain age, this story, set in 1973, can bring back memories of a different era, when amusement parks and carnivals were an entertaining but tawdry world, full of fun with an underlying current of danger.
I was not sure that I was going to really like this book at first, since the early pages put a lot of emphasis on carnival lingo. However, I found the characters to be so interesting and was quickly invested in the plot. Stephen King has such an ability to bring his characters to life and make readers care about their outcome. The suspense is sustained until the very satisfying ending.
Since it's Stephen King there's a ghost and psychic powers a la "The Shining" involved as well. Most of the story is really well done. The part where the girl in the red hat chokes on a hot dog felt like a punch to the gut emotionally.
The murder part is actually the weakest aspect of the story. The final confrontation felt so cliche that all the bad guy needed to say was "If it weren't for you meddling kids..." and it could have been an episode of "Scooby-Doo."
Still, it's a very good book overall. More the Stephen King of "The Green Mile" or the Richard Bachmann novels than "The Stand" or "It" or his horror novels. So don't go into it thinking it's a horror book.
That is all.
Now, close your eyes and get a feel for what a writer of King's caliber can do with the premise of a young wholesome college kid dropped into the edgy setting of a Theme Park; Carnie folk; a murder in the Horror House ride; A ghost and serial killer; A young wheelchair bound boy; Heartbreak; and the wonderful beachside setting of the Carolinas.
The cast of characters pull Devin, and the reader, along as the plot unfolds. Lane Hardy runs the Carolina Spin, a huge Ferris Wheel, and gives a lot of fatherly advice. We have a Fortune Teller who may actually know a thing or two. Devin lives in a rooming house on the beach owned by Mrs. Shoplaw who also has insight into the goings on at Joyland. Also residing in the boarding house are Erin who is a Hollywood Girl photographer (see the great cover art) and his new buddy Tom.
The day-to-day work-a-day world and jargon of the characters in this small time carnival atmosphere is so interesting that the reader soon feels like an insider. Central to the plot is the mystery of a murder that is eerie and disturbing but keeps the novel moving along.
If I need to find a fault to round out my appraisal it would only be that the main character is telling this tale from 40-years after the fact so the reader knows that nothing fatal of life or limb transpired back when he was coming of age in Joyland.
I am a fan of Stephen King but this is only my second Hard Case Crime book and I found both excellent. In fact, after finishing this one I went on line and bought a couple more. Great writing, great premise.
Yes there are some super natural elements but King also graces some of his characters with some of the best traits of humankind.
The characters experience most feelings anyone has from young love to jealousy to superstition and fear...and more.
As a long time and hardcore Stephen King fan I thoroughly enjoyed this even though I had tears streaming down my face by the end. And not out of sorrow but from hope more humans embody the spirit of the hero.
I'm not a book critic but simply a fan of Stephen King's books who loved this story.
I'm sure many would say this is a maudlin work and not his best...but if you are a fan of SK's you won't be sorry for one minute if you buy this.
Yeah I know a lot are going to rate this review as "not helpful" but I predict SK fans will get it.
So sublime that it fits in the Hard Case Crime label.
It reads like one of those old, thin, paperbacks with the stench of cigarettes and libraries that you can get for a dollar from the local used book store. It reads like the trash pulp that was wasting away until you found it and devoured it on your train ride to work....only written by a, well, a King.
It's a great King story and a great story for anyone that likes pulp, right down to the carnival.