A new Stephen King is always an event in my house. The lack of a real bookshop in my town transformed the mail man in some sort of messiah…he’s the holder of the precious books… he’s the one who tortured me for days ! To be really honest with you, it’s pretty must the only thing I’m missing since I’ve moved to Australia. It seems that if you don’t leave in one of the capital cities you can not find a decent bookshop, Amazon delivers here of course (if you’re ready to pay 15 dollars postage by book which makes them ridiculously expensive) so my only book dealer is The Book Depository, no postage but delivery is very slow. Anyway, last Wednesday, the mail man finally brought me mu new Stephen King and made me the happiest chick of Earth. I dived in it, devoured it and just like with The Stand, I ended up sad that the book wasn’t longer.
Devin Jones, old man in his 60’s, remembers the year 1973. The year he was madly in love with Wendy and she broke his heart, the year he decided to work in a beachside carnival in North Carolina during summer, the year he met a fantastic young boy and his mother. On the day he’s hired, he hears about the traditional ghost story about the House of Horrors. A young lady, Linda Gray, has been murdered four years before and her killer was never arrested. Dev doesn’t do much of this story. He’s more preoccupied by his girlfriend who will break up with him during the simmer. Dev, Erin and Tom, all living at the same boarding house, all working in the same team, lean everything about the carnival, its rules, its linguo etc. At the end of the summer, the decide to visit the House of Horrors, looking for the ghost. Tom, the more sceptical of all, actually sees it.
Dev feels more and more connected with the carnival and is fighting depression. He decides to take a year off school and stays at Joyland for the winter. Meanwhile, Erin and Tom, now a couple, go back to school. Erin investigates Linda’s death and other similar deaths in carnivals. Dev meets Mike and Annie Ross. Mike is a 10 years old kid who has muscular dystrophy. He’s very conscious of this health issue, very mature about it. He’s also a psychic. Friendship between Mike and Devin builds up, both learning a lot from each other. I’ll stop the summary here because, this novel, even if it has supernatural components, is a crime story and I will not reveal who the killer is ( I would never have thought it was that character though).
As usual Stephen King has the power to just grab you and not let you go until you’re finished. It really doesn’t matter what pseudo intellectuals and serious critics (you know the ones with velvet jackets, big glasses, a pipe and snobbish opinions) say, someone who can keep you reading until the early hours of the morning, make the book being your first thought when you wake up, has talent. Stephen King tells us here a story about growing up and dying, about love and death.
I give it a 9/1 (not a 10/10 because it. is. too. damn. short !!)