Joyland - Stephen King It’s the summer of 1973 and Devin Jones finds himself dumped by his girlfriend. A summer of distraction sounds like just what he needs, so his employment with Joyland amusement park in small town North Carolina comes at an opportune time. Of course the fact that the amusement park is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a girl murdered on one of the rides makes it even more appealing. Through totally unforeseen circumstances Devin finds himself a hero in the park and everybody loves him … except for one carny whose crusty nature seems to make him dislike everyone, and they return those feelings. Throw a severely ill young boy and his strikingly beautiful (but mysterious) mother into the mix and it promises to be an interesting summer.

Let me start off by saying this is not a horror story. Yes, there is a ghost, but the ghost is the back-story. I was going to say this book is not “typical” King, but that would be unfair. The Green Mile, Colorado Kid, Stationary Bike and The Body were all exceptional and they were “non-horror novels” with a touch of the supernatural. This book is in the same vein and what I would refer to as vintage Stephen King. Mr. King does what he does best – write a character driven story with a good plot, amusing dialogue, a good dose of intrigue, a little romance and enough of the paranormal to make it “tingly”. At approximately 300 pages this is more like a long, short story (excuse the oxymoron). Although I prefer his monster sized, weighty books I can concede that Mr. King masters the short story. I felt the story starts off a little slow, and I was happy to hear the last about his ex-girlfriend but overall, I loved this one.