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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will get in your head
This book is deceptive in its simplicity. The plot is fairly straightforward, and there is plenty in there for the Constant Readers out there. There are nods to Tolkein and King's own past as an upcoming writer. We meet Devin much in the same way we meet the 18 year old King in the preface to the Dark Tower. Full of hopes and dreams, but painfully naive, just like the...
Published 15 months ago by jankensan

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost Vintage King
This was a good read, but not a “great” read, if you know what I mean? Almost as if Mr King could not be bothered, or someone else wrote it. I did enjoy the story and some of the characters were lovely, so I would go 3.5 if I could.
Published 13 months ago by RUTH RICHARDS


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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will get in your head, 15 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
This book is deceptive in its simplicity. The plot is fairly straightforward, and there is plenty in there for the Constant Readers out there. There are nods to Tolkein and King's own past as an upcoming writer. We meet Devin much in the same way we meet the 18 year old King in the preface to the Dark Tower. Full of hopes and dreams, but painfully naive, just like the rest of us. There are a few heavy handed tropes in the opening paragraphs to pull you in, but nothing cringe-worthy, and you just glide along with it. I have to admit to being a massive King fan, so it's not hard to drag me in to one of his books, but even for the uninitiated, this books is beautifully written.

From there we start to learn more about Joyland, and the people behind it. Although it's billed as a horror story, there isn't much blood, and the horror is contained in the 'dark ride' and the fragility of human life. The suspense and anticipation comes from the idea that this horror could be released somehow. This tension builds throughout and the ending will not disappoint.

I don't want to write more and risk spoiling the plot, but this book touched me and stayed with me. The last few pages were read through teary eyes. You will find part of yourself in this book, the part of you that you lost years ago and can never get back.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What King Does Best, 29 Aug 2013
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
There are a few books in the 'Hard case Crime' series which don't really fit in with their mission statement, and this is one of those. I have had this book sitting on my TBR pile for a while, after buying it in a moment of weakness. Stephen King did have another book published by this Press, The Colorado Kid (Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback)), which lets face it, was average at best. With that in mind to be honest I wasn't really expecting much of this, but to my surprise I found that I loved this story.

Whether you are a fan of King or not you will admit that some things he does brilliantly, whilst others he isn't so good at, so if you decide to read this book bear that in mind. To be honest, the finale as it were for this book is more of a quick bang and fizz, where arguably other writers could have made something a bit longer and better, but despite that I did enjoy the ending.

Devin Jones reminisces about when he was twenty one, still a virgin, and started work at an amusement park. What King does best is small groups of people, either small town communities or other smaller groups, such as in prison i.e. The Green Mile. This story mainly centres around the amusement park and some of the employees there, and a mother and son who live on the way there. Devin originally takes on a job in the school term break to work at the place along with others. We read about his girlfriend, his relationships with others and his emotional state. He finds out that the Ghost Train ride is apparently haunted by a girl who was killed on the ride. As Devin and friends look into this they find out that there could have been more than the one killing at that particular amusement park perpetrated by one man. A man that has never been caught, and no one can identify.

With a little boy suffering from Muscular Dystrophy and his mother who make Devin's acquaintance, can the murderer actually be identified? With some supernatural elements this story should have quite a broad appeal, and is easy to get into. Despite its size this book does feel longer, mainly due to the steady slow pacing of the story, which works better with this plot. This is a good solid read that falls into those books by King that aren't really horror, but seem to defy proper categorisation.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr King does it again!, 15 Jun 2013
By 
Liz Wilkins "Lizzy11268" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
In Joyland we meet Dev, a young man facing rejection from the woman he loves, who takes a Summer job at Joyland, where they sell fun don't you know! A few years before his arrival a young woman was brutally murdered and her killer never found...her ghost is said to haunt the park and Dev finds himself interested in her story. Can he mend his broken heart and catch a killer?

Of course this is Stephen King we are talking about so while the above synopsis is what the book is about, its certainly not what the book is ABOUT. An evocative haunting tale, its a character driven coming of age story, where the mystery is secondary to the people involved in it. The characters Dev meets while on his journey to true adulthood will touch your heart - its just as much about friendship and finding yourself as it is about a dead girl and what may have happened to her. You will fall in love with some of them - and yes, at the end I cried. Quite a lot. Which is always a good sign!

I always find books like this hard to review because almost anything I can say about it may spoil the ambience for true readers - I don't want to let you know very much at all. I want YOU to find it all out for yourselves. Suffice to say, if you are one of Mr King's "Constant Readers" this is likely to head towards the top of your favourite King books. If you havent read his novels before, then this would be a great place to start - its not one of his "epics" and the Hard Crime series are always worth a dip into even when its not Stephen King writing them. In this case its so much more than a crime book BECAUSE it also has that magic King touch. So I hope you pick this up. Certainly you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stephen King Novel for the Rest of Us, 11 Sep 2013
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
"A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." -- Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)

I know many Stephen King fans, and I'm fascinated by his writing methods and style. Yet I find his books hard to take due to the ghastliness involved in many of them. Consequently, I don't read many. I'm glad that I made Joyland an exception. It's a superb book with only the tiniest aspects of what normally repels me (and obviously attracts many others).

Characterizing this story according to genres is a challenge. It's clearly an homage to the carney world. There's a murder mystery. It's also a coming-of-age novel. And, of course, there's a non-Biblical supernatural element. Ultimately, the book is perhaps best understood as being gracious and full of charm, upholding the idea of doing the right thing. If that's the kind of uplifting book that appeals to you, consider Joyland. The book is written from a male perspective in every sense, so don't expect the kind of cosiness that a book with a woman's perspective often brings.

Mr. King does a great job of adding many appealing, and unforgettable characters, the kind that you might like to have as friends, coworkers, and neighbors. I can't remember many novels of this length that succeed so well in this regard. Excellent!

Perhaps the best thing to say for capturing this book is that while many of Mr. King's books start from fragments of a nightmare he has had, perhaps this one story started with a daydream while sitting under a pleasant apple tree as summer retreated into fall.

Nice going, Mr. King.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a joy to read Joyland., 20 July 2013
This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
It's a joy to read Joyland

''A kid on a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach'' this picture has been in Stephen King's head for over 20 years, he let it grown bit by bit and at last we have this story.

Yes, there is a crime in this story, but not much blood or violence; yes, there are supernatural events, but not horror or scary. Instead, this story brings back many of my memories, whether sweet or sorrow, and I fell into the story and hard to put it aside.

Stephen King has a very strong talent in story telling, I didn't need to use much of my imagination, readings' gone live straight in my head: beautiful beach, lively amusement park, stupid funny Howie the dog dancing Hokey Pokey, and so on so on.

I have more summer readings waiting for me, but I decided I am going to let this story keep going around my head for awhile, let the picture of ''a kid on a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach'' burnt into my memory, it's such a nice, beautiful book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An emotional rollercoaster, 21 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
Joyland follows Devin Jones, a twenty-one-year-old who works the summer shift at a North Carolina amusement park to raise some funds for his return to school. Whilst working at Joyland he learns the secret language of the carnies who work there, wears the fur, sells fun and even saves a couple of lives. He also has to deal with a few difficult emotional situations such as the break up of his first ever relationship and befriending a dying child.

The main bulk of the story focuses around Devin's obsession with trying to figure out a long unresolved murder that took place at the park. Linda Gray was murdered in the House of Horror and the murderer has never been found. With the help of his friend, Erin, and some assistance from the dying boy's mother, Annie, Devin eventually uncovers the mystery and confronts the killer.

A relatively short novel for King, it lacks none of his usual magic. King writes prose that is so easy to read, engaging and full of emotion. He captures the pains of adolescence and growing up like no other author I know. He also has a knack for imbuing the mundaneness of everyday life with a sense of wonder that involves the reader with his characters and keeps them reading for more.

Essentially a crime story released by Hard Case Crime the book does attain some of King's trademark supernatural touches, including the ghost of a murdered girl and - King's absolute favourite! - a couple of characters with 'the sight'! The ending is nicely judged and quite moving, although the resolution of the crime element did come a little easily for my liking. King has always had difficulty finishing novels well, but I would put this down as one of his more satisfying attempts.

I finished the book in record time, it was that hard to put down. Just one more page, I would tell myself, and then fifty pages later I would realise I was still reading.

Overall a wonderful book and a definite read for any fans of Stephen King.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost Vintage King, 3 Aug 2013
By 
RUTH RICHARDS (edinburgh, scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
This was a good read, but not a “great” read, if you know what I mean? Almost as if Mr King could not be bothered, or someone else wrote it. I did enjoy the story and some of the characters were lovely, so I would go 3.5 if I could.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of His Best Novels, 8 July 2013
This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
Mr. King has recently taken to write nostalgic tales. In early work, he wrote about monsters, creepy kids and personal fears, but, as he ages, Mr. King has made the past the point. 'Joyland' proves that he can write haunting, moving tales with nary a beast. There are ghosts a-plenty, but horror stems from victims in the way, rather than monsters on the march. Some might say that the book is less a Hard Case Crime and more Classic King, but it is still a worthy read. Spend a few hours in this fairground. You will wish that you could stay.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 21 July 2013
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
For my money, the best writer who has ever lived. This book is fantastic, you should read it. A classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant coming of age story, 11 July 2013
By 
Brian Clegg "Brian Clegg" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) (Paperback)
If you come to this book expecting classic Stephen King horror, you will be disappointed. But for me that's a plus because it lets what is for me King's real forte shine through.

He is great at putting across a sense of place, a wistful familiarity that makes it feel more like recovering a memory of something significant in your life than reading a story. And this he does brilliantly here.

The cover says it is a crime novel. And it is. But don't expect lots of clues and red herrings. In fact most of the detection takes place off stage. It is also a ghost story with a spot of mediumship. This is necessary for the plot, but once again it isn't at the heart of the book. Like one of my favourite novels ever, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Joyland uses a funfair as a vehicle to explore coming of age.

In Bradbury's book it is the transition from child to teenager that is so beautifully portrayed. Here it is the arrival of adulthood, which for the main character comes with a whole mess of sadness, joy and fear.

Some friends of mine are boycotting this book because it isn't available in ebook form. Don't. It is a little gem.
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Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels)
Joyland (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime Novels) by Stephen King (Paperback - 7 Jun 2013)
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