"This is a badly broken world, full of wars and cruelty and senseless tragedy. Every human being who inhabits it is served his or her portion of unhappiness and wakeful nights. Those of you who don’t already know that will come to know it. Given such sad but undeniable facts of the human condition, you have been given a priceless gift this summer: you are here to sell fun. In exchange for the hard-earned dollars of your customers, you will parcel out happiness"
Joyland sees the King enter for the second time the realms of the hard case crime series and another digression from the horror stories we know and love.
Told completely in first person, Devin Jones a college student back in 1973, gets a summer job at the amusement park Joyland and soon meets a multitude of characters from the world of the Carny. The blood of the carnival runs deep and his tasks are far and wide, the highlight though is his time spent acting the part of Howie the Happy Hound but only in 15 minutes stints, health and safety you know, but really only physical capabilities limits the time 'wearing the fur'.
He meets two friends that will remain so for the rest of his life, the story of a young woman murdered on one of the rides, a ghostly presence and a killer never caught.
Finally there’s Annie, guarded, afraid to let anyone into her life, a son who needs constant care and a trip to Joyland, the last thing on her mind. Joyland it's where they're all heading though and it’s a compelling trip fraught with a melee of feelings and experiences for young Devin.
As with his recent stuff, the characterization is exceptional, he tells his story through the eyes of young Devin Jones and I lived this story with him. The heartbreak of a relationship that's run its course, still hanging by a thread, the feelings you'll only know if you've been through it yourself and the start of something new, time to live again, hope again and feel joy, until something gets in the way. That something involves some research and of course one or two murders, a hint of the supernatural but still it's primarily a story about people, relationships and life.
Part coming of age in a sexual context but more about the perilous leap from young man to the rocky shores of adulthood, love, danger and of course sadness.
‘All I can say is what you already know: some days are treasure. Not many, but I think in almost every life there are a few.’
Another wonderful King trip. Highly recommended