Joyland Picture

The latest offering from the undisputed ‘King’ of horror, Stephen King, is a crime thriller which is bound to excite all you fans out there. ‘Joyland’ is a distinctive deviation from the spine-chilling horror novels that we have to come to associate with the writer. This is more of a whodunit with a splash of the paranormal thrown in for good measure. I bet, King could not resist himself when he was writing the story. The story is narrated by twenty-one year old Devin Jones who decides to take up a job at the local amusement park to earn some extra money over the summer, and more importantly, take his mind off his sweetheart, Wendy Keegan who has just dumped him, albeit in not so many words.

Joyland is classified under Hard Case crime books and though there is a real mystery which Jonesy, as he is called, tries to unravel, it is more of coming-of-age story which fascinates with its vivid descriptions and unsettling moments. There has been a killing in the House of Horrors section of the amusement park and the ghost of the woman murdered, supposedly roams around in it. Sounds pretty bland, does not it? But trust King to take even the most mundane of plots and twist into something that is not even remotely slow or predictive.

King pits the somewhat-of-a-loser Jonesy against time to figure out who is the killer of Linda Gray, the woman murdered in cold blood, when the park was in full swing with hordes of people teeming around. He is assisted in his detective work by Hollywood Girl, Erin Cook and his friend, Tom Kennedy. In the meantime, he manages to lose his virginity, yeah, did I tell you he was a late bloomer? The tagline for the amusement park, Joyland, is “We sell Fun” and boy, does King do a good job conveying that to us! Every little description of his is teeming with life and makes us feel to spend at least a summer of our lives in the carny way. The rubes and conies, slang for the customers, sounds normal and though there is a disclaimer by King at the end of the book, for people not to take the slang too seriously, we get to recognize them by the slang.

Joyland is the second crime novel from Stephen King after ‘The Colorado Kid’ which was published in 2005 and it does no harm to his reputation as one of the best story-tellers out there. If you haven’t read him, now is as good a time to pick up one of his books at random and lose yourself. The man seethes of graphic imagery and incidents made of little descriptions that have a way of staying with you long after the book is over.

One particular line stands out for me from the book. Remember that all of you there who are reading this or will read it one day, make your past such that you do not have to resort to fiction.


“When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.” – Stephen King in Joyland.