Friday, 17 June 2016


Joyland Illustrated Edition
Stephen King
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 304 
ISBN: 9781783295326
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

Devin "Dev"Jones is a college student with ambitions to get the girl, a decent job and a place to stay, but back in 1973, his life hadn't gone to plan. Dev believes that Wendy Keegan, his love interest had never wanted to be involved with him sexually, keeping him hanging on, then announced she was leaving for another job in Boston. That is what made Dev stand back and think he might never get to make-out with the girl he loved. When Wendy leaves, Dev also looks for a job and one lands right in his lap as though it was meant to, straight out of a Carolina Living magazine which advertised Joyland, an old American theme park.

Not knowing whether he would want to be a Happy Helper or not, his soon to be boss lets him have a look around to decide whether he can be of use in one of the positions available. As Dev liked the place and their mascot he takes the job. Dev gets to meet many people who work at Joyland, one being Rozzie Gold, a woman who goes by the name of Madame Fortuna who does her best to tell him his fortune. Of course, no one believes her prophesising, but there is something about what she tells him and she sees danger in his future. Most of the people are decent, even great with him, but when he hears that the fun house is haunted, there might be some truth to the rumour.

Dev thinks he has come to settle in a home away from home, but the revelation of a gruesome murder happening at the fun house ride gives him cause for concern. Most would not be able to contemplate the sort of man who could take his girlfriend on the ride, brutally murder her and leave the scene without a second thought. From what Mrs Shoplaw said, the killer was sly and calculating, he hid his face well with sunglasses, a baseball cap and goatee, and as expected didn't like photographs taken of him. The awful truth is, the killer is still out there and the incident only happened four years ago.

Joyland is King at his best when he writes thrillers. He knows how to set a scene and reel a reader's interest in the story so that they can forget about everything else and concentrate on characters that they just might know, the boss at the theme park, the fortune teller, Wendy Keegan, or dare I say it, someone who is most like the killer - you never know. I like how normal the story begins, then when Dev is at his most relaxed, he finds out a killer is on the loose and he might not only go for slaying women.

If you look at the list of authors who have already written for the Hard Case Crime novels, you might notice a few names; Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg and Donald E. Westlake, so it's no wonder Stephen King, one of horror's most prolific writers has decided to write a crime novel in this style. Interesting things that are additional in this novel are a cover by Glen Orbik showing the blonde woman who is in Dev's future, chapter breaks that come with black hearts, it is Illustrated in the classic 'mapbook' style by Susan Hunt Yule and twenty + illustrations by Robert McGinnis, Mark Summers and Pat Kinsella, it is the #1 New York Bestseller and there is a map on the back of the various sights of Joyland.