Joyland by Stephen King

I really enjoyed this book. I was so excited to hear about it because I am a big Stephen King fan, and I love the old pulp or noir style detective stories. This isn't a detective story, but it still has a very intriguing mystery. Here is the description from Goodreads:
"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts," says Stephen King, who has combined these elements into a wonderful new story. Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park.

It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a 'carny' in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?
There isn't a lot of fast paced action right from the get go, but from the very start I loved these characters. Following Devin Jones and his new friends Erin and Tom was the best part of the book for me. King has this way of writing characters that feel like flesh and blood people. These characters felt like I could step into the pages and instantly be friends with them. This is an amazing talent, and it made the fact that there wasn't a lot of heart pounding suspense right off the bat seem meaningless.

Not only are the characters people you will enjoy reading about but the setting is just perfect for this. Carnivals can be these bright happy places where memories are made and still very creepy. With the story set around the tale of a murder that happens at Joyland, Devin begins to wonder if there really are ghosts haunting the grounds. Who is this killer that has eluded capture for so long? Devin begins to look into the events at Joyland and slowly the pieces come together with a little help from an extraordinary little boy.

King's style is clearly evident here, and he really draws you into the story. One of the things that just irks me about King is the fact that he will let you know early on what's going to happen at the end, but then the way he writes and the realness of his characters makes you wish and hope it was all a ruse. I may get upset that I know about something that will happen at the end, but it is the journey to that point that makes it all worth it. I'm not sure this is making sense, but I don't know any other way to explain it.

Even though this isn't a horror novel I still had goosebumps through most of the end. The way pieces are revealed and put together was wonderful. I couldn't put this book down. It is an easy read compared to most of King's work and one I will highly recommend to anyone who will listen. That is why I am happily giving this book a solid five star rating.

Since this is a mystery novel, this review is being included in the Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge and will be included on the host's site Stainless Steel Droppings. I chose to participate in the Peril in the first. This is the third of four books I chose to read for this challenge.



  1. You are just knocking out RIP VIII!!! WOW!! I have been so behind in reading... must read all day tomorrow! ! This book sounds really really cool. I can't wait to read this one.

    1. This is my favorite challenge so far. this is the types of books I read all the time so it is really easy for me. I'll have more horror movie reviews closer to Halloween.

      I can't believe you haven't read this yet. I think you will love this, at least I hope you do. It isn't scary, but a great story and a pretty good mystery. Can't wait to read your review when you get around to this.

  2. Reading a lot of good reviews for this so I must make a note.
    Love the cover.
    Lynn :D

    1. I hope you like it. This was really a great book and better than expected. I'm trying to get my wife to read it with her book club so I can tag along that night.

  3. Argh! Stephen King has been a constant part of my life. I am not a fan though ( I've only read 3 of his books) but a lot of my classmates are raving about him. Based from the his works that I've read, they're all creepy and dark. And I don't think I would be ready to read a fourth one.

    I am really planning to read the Green Mile though. But not so sure if I could stand the pain of John C.

    1. King isn't for everyone and there have been books he has written that I just didn't like. He does write a lot of creepy horror novels but this one isn't one of those.

      I think you will like Green Mile but I would encourage you to read this one as well. I can't say enough great things about this book. It is on my Goodreads Favorites shelf I liked it so much. Thanks so much for commenting.

  4. I know exactly what you mean about the journey King takes the reader on. He's my fav author. I'll be reading this one soon as well. The whole carnival aspect of it sounds great. Wonderful post!

    1. Thanks, I really appreciate the positive comments. I'm still improving my writing and reviewing skills. I really hope you enjoy the book.


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