Joyland by Stephen King
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: After realizing his romantic life is not going in the direction he'd hoped, Devin Jones decides to take a summer job at an amusement park. There he makes friends with Tom Kennedy and Erin Cook, also summer hires at Joyland, which years before had been the scene of the murder of a young woman named Linda Gray whose ghost is said to be seen at the Horror House. He also befriends a young boy, named Mike Ross and his mother, Annie. Their lives all become entwined when Devin decides to investigate the mystery of Linda Gray's unsolved murder by the "Carny Killer."
Review: The only other Stephen King novel I have read was Misery, which was interesting, but definitely not a book for my favorites list. Joyland wouldn’t make that list either, but it is something I would recommend reading, especially if you like mysteries with very little violence or gore. When I think of King, I tend to imagine truly creepy stories that keep you up at night, but Joyland isn’t really like that. Overall, it is about a young man named Devin who begins working at an amusement park called…you guessed it…Joyland. Amusement parks make me think of summer, so it might be a good time to check this story out.
The beginning of the book doesn’t seem to have all that much mystery or intrigue. We, as readers, know that there will be more, so it keeps us reading and a bit in suspense of what’s to come. Devin soon comes to learn that a young woman was murdered at Joyland years ago and her killer had never been caught. Some people seem to believe that the Horror House is haunted, as that is where she had been killed and thrown aside. Eventually, Devin becomes interested enough to want to know more. Fellow Joyland employee Tom Kennedy is spooked by a trip into Horror House and refuses to investigate, but Erin Cook continues to look into the murder after her Joyland summer is over, offering what she finds to Devin.
Now, I’m not one of those people who tend to guess the culprit in a mystery novel, so this one came as a surprise to me. I can’t say it won’t be a thought with some people, but I guess that’s always the chance when reading these books. In all though, I thought the mystery was well done, and like I said, there isn’t really any violence and gore so it’s a pretty tame read. Joyland contains a bit of the supernatural as well, which made some aspects of the ending a bit too easy, but overall, I did enjoy this one.