Written for the Hard Case Crime line of paperback novels, Stephen King s Joyland may look like a duck with its tantalizing pulp cover making promises of sex and violence but it definitely doesn t quack In fact, it s another kind of animal altogether, a coming of age tale tinged with the bittersweet tang of nostalgia and the wistful remembrances of what was and what might have been This isn t new territory for King Anyone who s read him at all knows that this is his stomping ground and w Written for the Hard Case Crime line of paperback novels, Stephen King s Joyland may look like a duck with its tantalizing pulp cover making promises of sex and violence but it definitely doesn t quack In fact, it s another kind of animal altogether, a coming of age tale tinged with the bittersweet tang of nostalgia and the wistful remembrances of what was and what might have been This isn t new territory for King Anyone who s read him at all knows that this is his stomping ground and when he s firing on all cylinders, nobody does it better It isn t done badly here either there are some great passages filled with humor and insight , it s just that the effort and subsequent result feel lackluster overall The characters are fleshed out just enough to move the story along and give King some hooks to hang his looking back on it now philosophizing, but stacked up against King s pantheon of memorable characters, the ones found in the pages of Joyland are easily forgotten at least by me I almost think this little book suffers from the schism of an identity crisis King has in his hands a paranormal crime plot replete with a garish 1970 s amusement park setting haunted by the ghost of a murdered young woman This being Hard Case Crime, I was keen to get King s take on hard boiled noir or just full on pulp I looked forward to sensationalist violence, cheap thrills and snappy, stylistic dialogue and no, sorry Uncle Stevie, but you don t win any points for injecting the patter of carny speak on every other page King can t stop himself from telling an entirely different kind of story about a young man with a broken heart and his extended summer spent growing up and getting on It s a story of emotions and memories and the metaphor of a flying kite and the panoramic view from a giant Ferris wheel It s 80% middle aged navel gazing and youthful angst The other 20% consisting of uncovering the identity of a murderous predator and revealing the details behind a haunting feel tacked on as afterthoughts In this case, for Hard Case, I would have much rather seen those ratios reversed.Another problem I had view spoiler was the kid in the wheelchair His second sight ability struck me as too deus ex machina serving no other purpose really other than to save our hero at the last minute from certain death I also felt the kid was just a pale knock off of Danny Torrence If Joyland had turned out to be a full on hyper dramatized pulp novel, a kid character such as this could have probably fit right in and worked But the majority of the story is ponderous and beautiful and as a plot device, the second sight stands out like a sore thumb hide spoiler Still, while it wasn t the novel I wanted or expected, Joyland is a sweet story, a little maudlin in places, but enjoyable nevertheless Constant Readers will take pleasure in immersing themselves for a little while in a Kingscape that feels both familiar and satisfying It s good people, it s just not all that it s quacked up to be This review has also been posted to Busty Book Bimbo Now I know how Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt while he watched the movie Gravity.I give Joyland three stars as far as story goes, and a one star when I take into consideration that Stephen got everything wrong about how amusement parks are run He obviously did zero research The most believable thing in this book is the ghost part, but I know the vast majority of you out there did not spend twenty odd years hopping around the United States working in amusement parks like I did, and therefore would no Now I know how Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt while he watched the movie Gravity.I give Joyland three stars as far as story goes, and a one star when I take into consideration that Stephen got everything wrong about how amusement parks are run He obviously did zero research The most believable thing in this book is the ghost part, but I know the vast majority of you out there did not spend twenty odd years hopping around the United States working in amusement parks like I did, and therefore would not be bothered by the stuff that bugged me, but damn it, he couldn t have asked a question or two College student Devin Jones finds himself at loose ends at the close of the school year in 1973 He finds a job at a small amusement park in an equally small town in North Carolina in which he does every job in the park insane While running around like a mad man doing all the jobs, he finds that he also has to add ghost hunter to the list while he was doing something in the haunted house ride He meets a MILF that has a disabled son and a very cute Jack Russell and mom is a sharp shooter that won the big shooting competition at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio I find this interesting because Camp Perry is 15 minutes from my house, it really does exist, so he got that right, and there really is a big shooting completion held there.Now I m going to rant about stuff you probably don t care about But I have to do it I m sorry If Stephen had set this in a carnival all would have been fine, but amusement parks are not carnivals College students DO work at amusement parks, old carnies do not People who work in A.P do not have a special lingo.A.P s have departments Merchandise, ride operators, food, maintenance, finance, concessionaires, ride maintenance.ect When a person is hired for the season, they are put into a department and they remain within it I know Stephen went on the same assumption that most people do, and that is when a person is hired into an amusement park that person jumps around to all the jobs in the park from day to day One day you re drawing caricatures, the next you are running a roller coaster, followed by making corn dogs the next..what I know most people think this is the case because I would get asked the question So, is this the only place you work or do you move around the park and run the rides and stuff Several times a day, every day I don t get it, but I can forgive the masses for thinking this, but not Stephen King Research.Costume characters do not go out without a guide person Vision is quite limited in those giant heads Without someone to lead them, those creepy characters could take out a kid or ten Also, getting hit in the nether regions is a common occurrence they need someone to watch out for possible injuries.A front gate photo person Hollywood girls would quit their job within an hour if forced to wear high heels whilst standing on concrete in the boiling hell of North Carolina in the summer time Then she would put said heel in her managers eye on the way out of park Besides, the photographic technology did not exist for such an operation in 1973.A non smoking park in North Carolina especially wouldn t have existed in 1973 If it did, it would die.Seasonal amusement parks did not remain open on weekends past Labor Day especially the small ones in 1973 Not being a Disney or a Cedar Point, they were not destination parks, so there was no point Only when the Halloween Weekends spooky themed weekends became all the rage did staying open until the end of October became the norm That started in the early 2000 s view spoiler Parks, no matter the size, have gates that are locked up tight at night and there is always security on duty There is no way a strange person could just drive onto the property and shoot at a person on a ride that is all lit up and running without getting noticed hide spoiler I m very disappointed Sigh.I m sure there was , but rant over Stephanie out OMG I love this King book I had a feeling I might just from reading the synopsis of the book It just blew me away I loved the atmosphere of the carnival I fell in love with Devin, Tom, Erin, Mike, Milo, Annie and a few other side characters I felt like I was in the book with each one of them and I could see all of the old carny rides and amusements I could feel the old mystery of the girl that was killed I wish they would make this into a movie, but do it right It as to be to a T from t OMG I love this King book I had a feeling I might just from reading the synopsis of the book It just blew me away I loved the atmosphere of the carnival I fell in love with Devin, Tom, Erin, Mike, Milo, Annie and a few other side characters I felt like I was in the book with each one of them and I could see all of the old carny rides and amusements I could feel the old mystery of the girl that was killed I wish they would make this into a movie, but do it right It as to be to a T from the book and it has to have the old time feel when you walk inside the carnival gates I m soooooo glad Dev got over that jerk Wendy She was a right ass hat But he met so many good friends at the carnival Oh and I forgot to mention I loved his dad, he was so sweet I wish he could have come and seen him up at the carnival I m glad Dev took a little time off college to stay at the carnival and get closer to the people he needed to get closer to It was a turning point in his and a few other lives in the book I didn t think the killer was who it turned out to be, but I kept thinking it was someone close I m not giving away that spoiler I cried at the end OMG It was so bittersweet I m not giving away that spoiler either I have to say this is going into one of my favorite books sections I just have my reasons It s damn good MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List There s a ghost that appears in the haunted house ride of an amusement park in the 1970s Jinkies Is this a Hard Case Crime book or an episode of Scooby Doo Actually, it s a Stephen King novel And as we found out the last time Uncle Stevie wrote a book for the HCC line he doesn t have a problem with blurring the line between crime and supernatural Since HCC needs all the help it can get I m pretty sure nobody bitched too much when he turned this one in.Devin Jones is a struggling college kid There s a ghost that appears in the haunted house ride of an amusement park in the 1970s Jinkies Is this a Hard Case Crime book or an episode of Scooby Doo Actually, it s a Stephen King novel And as we found out the last time Uncle Stevie wrote a book for the HCC line he doesn t have a problem with blurring the line between crime and supernatural Since HCC needs all the help it can get I m pretty sure nobody bitched too much when he turned this one in.Devin Jones is a struggling college kid looking for a summer job in 1973, and he lands a position at Joyland, a third rate amusement park in North Carolina Poor Devin gets dumped by his first love shortly after starting work, and he spends a good part of the summer brooding over his broken heart But it s not all bad Devin enjoys the atmosphere at Joyland which is populated with colorful carnies who show him the ropes, and he manages to make some friends as well as develop a talent for entertaining kids The park has a dark side in its haunted house where a young woman was once murdered, and her killer was never caught Some claim to have seen her ghostly form Zoinks As a Stephen King story this is pretty good It s told from the perspective of older Devin looking back to a summer of his younger days and King has the melancholy tone of faded youth down cold Devin s a likable character, and the ghost in the spook house thing isn t overdone It mostly hangs in the background as Devin tries to get over being dumped and learning the carnie trade It s obvious that the behind the scenes stuff at the amusement park is the idea that King really got into and he even goes so far as to create a whole bunch of carnie lingo on top of the actual stuff he used The early 70s setting gives the whole thing a bit of vintage charm although there arethan a few seemingly anachronistic tidbits Were microwave ovens available and affordable enough then that a kindly landlady would have one Were fruit smoothies a regular breakfast beverage back then Wikipedia tells me that it s possible, but it really doesn t feel like they d be commonplace Plus, I really had a hard time believing that the owner is so forward thinking as to ban smoking in his amusement park.Devoted Hard Case Crime fans might grumble that this isn t really a crime story While Devin is fascinated by the ghost story and has a friend dig up some research on the murder for him there s really no active effort by him to try and solve the case It s reallyof a bittersweet coming of age story with a little murder and spooky happenings around the edges and providing a wrap up Still, it s an entertaining tale in an off beat setting with one of the most famous story tellers of our time It d be a great diversion to read while you re standing in line to get on a rollercoaster.Also posted at Shelf Inflicted JoyLand is a slow burn of a book and that was alright by me I love getting to know King s characters and Devin Jones is no exception He s our young, intelligent narrator, burning with the passion and enthusiasm of youth he is also healing a broken heart, his first, when he signs up to work at the carnival This is a Hard Case Crime file so one would expect a murder or two and there is, except it happened years ago and remains unsolved While never really taking center stage through most of th JoyLand is a slow burn of a book and that was alright by me I love getting to know King s characters and Devin Jones is no exception He s our young, intelligent narrator, burning with the passion and enthusiasm of youth he is also healing a broken heart, his first, when he signs up to work at the carnival This is a Hard Case Crime file so one would expect a murder or two and there is, except it happened years ago and remains unsolved While never really taking center stage through most of the book, this crime remains a backdrop to the story being told, one that is never forgotten but somehow seems to thrive in the shade, where Jonesy and his new friends are coming of age it waits quietly, constantly there, carefully camouflaged in shades of fear If you are looking for fast paced, adrenaline fuelled horror, look away, but remember this is King, who spins a good yarn and we are at a carnival you do the math As for me, like my Doyl every time I get the brush I lapped up every stroke.And I fell in love with Mike, who wouldn t And his little dog Milo too.I like the fact that it was told from a distant perspective, as a recollection of events past, the ones that shaped Dev s 21st year of life After all When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.My goodreads friend Brandon Sears, in his review of this same work, says Stephen King is like literary comfort food I couldn t agree , in fact, I wish I d said that I am not sure what bubble I was living in that I hadn t heard about Stephen King s new book JOYLAND, so it was just luck that the day it was released, I just happened to in the book store browsing The cover shouted out look at meeeee I quickly grabbed a copy off the shelf, and thought to myself, Mine, mine, mine When I finally got around to reading it, I was not disappointedThis was one of those Stephen King books that made me feel like I was sitting on the front porch on a warm Summ I am not sure what bubble I was living in that I hadn t heard about Stephen King s new book JOYLAND, so it was just luck that the day it was released, I just happened to in the book store browsing The cover shouted out look at meeeee I quickly grabbed a copy off the shelf, and thought to myself, Mine, mine, mine When I finally got around to reading it, I was not disappointedThis was one of those Stephen King books that made me feel like I was sitting on the front porch on a warm Summer night, sipping lemonade, listening to my grandfather father or favorite uncle talk about one of the adventures of his youth.JOYLAND is the story set in the innocent 1970s, of college student Devin Jones who spends his summer working at an amusement park as he attempts to overcome the crushing blow of his first experience with heartbreak Along the way he meets an interesting cast of characters, and because this IS of course a Stephen King novel he also learns that one of the rides The House of Horrors harbors a sinister past, and the ghost of the murdered girl is said to haunt the place The Funhouse Killer was never discovered and Devin becomes curious about her story and is determined to solve the case.This is the perfect book for people that have been thinking about reading Stephen King, but have never wanted to tackle one of his 600 page novels It is a coming of age story with a mystery, supernatural elements, a little romance, and a main character I was sad to leave behind Joyland by Stephen KingJoyland is not a typical Stephen King book If you are looking for horror, supernatural gore, scary clowns, vampires, fire setters or children who come back from the dead, or any other really scary parts you will not find them in this book This book is not like the typical books Stephen King wrote in the 80 s.I had not read a Stephen King book in many years prior to picking this book up Don t let the cover turn you off, this book is a jem It is a mystery, and a uniqu Joyland by Stephen KingJoyland is not a typical Stephen King book If you are looking for horror, supernatural gore, scary clowns, vampires, fire setters or children who come back from the dead, or any other really scary parts you will not find them in this book This book is not like the typical books Stephen King wrote in the 80 s.I had not read a Stephen King book in many years prior to picking this book up Don t let the cover turn you off, this book is a jem It is a mystery, and a unique coming of age story Another great book by Stephen King He is a fantastic storyteller and he has done a great job telling this story I often go years without reading a King book, but when I do, I am always reminded about just how gifted a writer he is.First I will start off this review by stating that I think this is a great book to read for those who have never read Stephen King before, for those who do not like horror novels or being scared This is Stephen King doing what he does best tell a story This is the Stephen King whose Novella The Body inspired the movie Stand by Me , This is the Stephen King who wrote the novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption which inspired the movie The Shawshank Redemption This is also the Stephen King who wrote The Green Mile which inspired the movie by the same name.Joyland is not a typical Stephen King book If you are looking for horror, supernatural gore, scary clowns, vampires, fire setters or children who come back from the dead, or any other really scary parts you will not find them in this book This book is not like the typical books Stephen King wrote in the 80 s or since then.I had not read a Stephen King book in many years prior to picking this book up Don t let the cover turn you off, this book is a jem It is a mystery, and a unique coming of age story This book is about love and loss, growing old and those who never get to grow old Stephen King is a fantastic storyteller and he has done a great job telling this story His characters in this book are well developed as is the plot which has a couple of twists and turns The story is told from the perspective of an older man looking back on a pivotal summer of his life.Devin Jones, a college student, takes a summer job at Joyland hoping to recover from a broken heart But as it turns out Joyland was once the scene of a viscous murder and a ghost of the murdered girl sometimes haunts a popular ride at the park Intrigued, Devin sets out to solve the murder Over the course of the summer he also meets a young mother with a dying child This summer and it s revelations will change his life forever.This is a smaller book by King Well worth the read I think this book will surprise readers who have not liked King in the past or who do not like horror.Readof my reviews at www.openbookpost.com 4 stars All you King fans out there are going to read this anyway Go for it, be a Rube, its worth the price of admission For anyone else who s curious about all the kerfuffle over King, maybe test the waters with this No, it s not his best but it s pretty great It s short, leans towards paranormal rather than horror in case horror isn t your thing, and you gotta love that hardcore pulp fiction cover Tons of suspense, the mystery of beautiful women being murdered to unravel, a plot that m 4 stars All you King fans out there are going to read this anyway Go for it, be a Rube, its worth the price of admission For anyone else who s curious about all the kerfuffle over King, maybe test the waters with this No, it s not his best but it s pretty great It s short, leans towards paranormal rather than horror in case horror isn t your thing, and you gotta love that hardcore pulp fiction cover Tons of suspense, the mystery of beautiful women being murdered to unravel, a plot that moves and characters written with sensitivity, you ll care about them Best of all and the star of this novel though a fabulous 70 s Carny setting Rubes Carny lingo for customers, they gotta leave with smiles on their facesThey re rabbits, nice plump fun loving rabbits, hopping from ride to ride and shy to shy instead of from hole to hole Favorite quoteWhen you re twenty one, life is a roadmap It s only when you get to be twenty five or so that you begin to suspect you ve been looking at the map upside down, and not until you re forty are you entirely sure By the time you re sixty, take it from me, you re fcking lost Ah The King Haven t picked up one of his books in years, guess I overdosed on him when I was younger He s improved with age The same spare style but withconfidence it s like the man has reached this point where he s got nothing to prove to anyone but himself, that he s still the master at delivering entertaining stories no literary honours in the cards and he could care less Keep em coming King Meanderings I ve had some interesting jobs I ll try anything Considered applying at the Carny when young, visualized myself working the night shift running the scariest ride on the midway Something intensely exciting about the lights, the smells, the crush of people and that beautiful intermingling of full blast rock n roll accompanied by screams of terror Not sure what stopped me ended up picking cherries insteadReading this I got to live that fantasy vicariouslyI ve done a lot of jobs in the years since then, but I never felt so weirdly happy, so absolutely in the right place, as I did when I was twenty one, wearing the fur and doing the Hokey Pokey on a hot day in June Seat of the pants, babyCover painting by Glen Orbik link to the artist s website worth checking out If I ever were to meet Stephen King, I imagine that the conversation would go something like this A Mr King, what a pleasure it is to meet you I m glad to have this opportunity because I owe you an apology.SK An apology We don t even know each other Why would you need to apologize to me A I m sorry for avoiding your books all of these years and for thinking that you were a one dimensional author who only wrote horror stories I m sorry that it took me so long to discover your wonderful wr If I ever were to meet Stephen King, I imagine that the conversation would go something like this A Mr King, what a pleasure it is to meet you I m glad to have this opportunity because I owe you an apology.SK An apology We don t even know each other Why would you need to apologize to me A I m sorry for avoiding your books all of these years and for thinking that you were a one dimensional author who only wrote horror stories I m sorry that it took me so long to discover your wonderful writing and that you didn t write just horror stories.SK How did you come to that revelation A It was in 2011, when I read some wonderful reviews about your new book 11 22 63 It was so appealing to me a time travel story about saving President Kennedy So I read my first book by you and fell in love with your writing, with the story and with Jake It wasn t just about the possibility of saving JFK, it was a beautiful love story SK So glad to hear that you enjoyed 11 22 63.A I owe you another apology for waiting three years to read another one of your books I have just read Joyland and once again love the story and the characters I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to read it it s a mystery and a bit of a ghost story and I am not really a fan of those kinds of books But this story is about muchthan that It s about young man who learns a lot about life and who he really is it s about the first time your heart is broken It s about friendship, and an extraordinary little boy named Mike I felt as if I really knew these people I want to thank you for taking me to Joyland.I probably won t read the horror stories, but I am going to make a point of looking for your other books that are not horror stories Can you forgive me SK I ll have to think about it.A By the way, I understand that you are a big Red Sox fan Me,too I lived outside of Boston for several years and even though I don t live there any, I m still a big fan.SK A Red Sox fan, huh Okay , I forgive you.A Thank you so much, Mr King Set in a small town North Carolina amusement park in , Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever Joyland is a brand new novel and has never previously been published