It sounds weird to say this about a horror novelist, but anything written by Stephen King is a joy to read. His story-telling ability is unrivalled (this man’s imagination is hyperactive!) and his use of language is perfection. I’m sure his books would be studied in university English lit classes if he wrote in a different genre.
My love letter to Mr. King complete, I’ll talk about Joyland. It’s a ghost story, a murder mystery and a coming of age novel about Devin, a sensitive young man experiencing a broken heart. It has something for everyone!
Joyland is set in the early 1970’s. There’s an eerie retro vibe from the opening sentence. Devin is a college student who takes a summer job at Joyland, a carnival in a small Southern town. Descriptions of Joyland are so vivid, I had flashbacks of childhood summer holidays at the PNE.
Tension mounts as older carnie workers tell the story of an unsolved murder on one of the rides. Adding a supernatural twist, the apparition of the lovely young victim often appears at the site of her violent death. One of Devin’s fellow student workers researches the crime and uncovers a string of similar unsolved murders in the years leading up to the Joyland murder. The plot thickens!
I love a good ghost story (who doesn’t?)–add engaging characters, a cool setting and the real threat of a murderer lurking in the shadows and you have a winner of a book. The ending was shocking, satisfying and made me glad I’d found this novel on the Walmart book display.