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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013:What a smart, sweet, spooky, sexy gem of a story. In this one-off for the Hard Case Crime publishing imprint, King has found yet another outlet and format (print only, a zippy 280 pages) to suit his considerable talents. All are on full display here in the story of Devon Jones--"a twenty-one-year-old virgin with literary aspirations … and a broken heart"--who spends the summer of 1973 at Joyland amusement park in North Carolina. Devon makes new pals, proves himself to the hard-core carny workers, saves a girl’s life, befriends a dying boy (who has a secret gift), and falls for the boy’s protective, beautiful mother. The first half of the story is sweet and nostalgic, with modest hints of menace to come. (Think: “The Body,” King’s novella that became the film Stand By Me.) Devon learns to “sell fun” and “wear the fur” (carny-speak for dressing as Howie the Happy Hound, the park mascot), but he also learns about the woman who had been killed in the Funhouse, whose ghost still haunts Joyland. King has fun with the carny lingo--most of it researched and real, some of it invented. (The Ferris wheel, for example, is the chump-hoister.) The second half gets spookier, spinning into a full-on murder mystery--but also a love story, and a coming-of-age-story, with some supernatural fun woven in. More than a trifecta, this is King at his narrative and nostalgic best. A single-session tale to savor some summer afternoon. And then try not to keep thinking back on it.--Neal Thompson
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review by . July 08, 2013
I've been a fan of Stephen King from the time both "Carrie" and Salem's Lot" were published, and read faithfully all of his books, until they began to take on such heft that I was afraid to break a toe if I dropped one on my foot! I made an exception for the Dark Tower series, but that was all.      Now Mr. King has returned (if even for a short while) to writing a book that can be held comfortably in the hand, without danger to any extremity. Not to mention …
review by . July 15, 2013
Wonderful storytelling in
Devin Jones thought he had plans for the summer of 73. He was a student at The University of New Hampshire as was the love of his young life, Wendy Keegan. Both have university jobs thanks to the work-study program and they do everything together. Everything that is except “it.” Devin Jones thought the summer of 73 would go the same way as the summer of 72 had with both of them working on campus, her in the library and he in the Commons Cafeteria. And maybe, finally, after months of …
review by . July 15, 2013
Devin Jones thought he had plans for the summer of 73. He was a student at The University of New Hampshire as was the love of his young life, Wendy Keegan. Both have university jobs thanks to the work-study program and they do everything together. Everything that is except "it." Devin Jones thought the summer of 73 would go the same way as the summer of 72 had with both of them working on campus, her in the library and he in the Commons Cafeteria. And maybe, finally, after months of waiting and …
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