Saturday, August 2, 2008

Duma Key

As a long-time Stephen King reader, I know that I'll eventually pick up any book that he writes. I've had Duma Key sitting around for a while - it's pretty thick, and I wasn't up for investing the time in it. But after hearing several times that it was his "return to form," I was ready to give it a try.

And in a way, it is a return to form. The scene is clearly set, the characters (bizarre backstories and all) are well defined, and the strange supernatural villain is creepy as all get-out. But it's also a little slower than his past works - the first two-thirds took me two weeks to read, while the final third was completely gripping and took only two days.

Edgar Freemantle, late of Minnesota, takes up residence on Duma Key in Florida following a disastrous accident. While there, he meets his eccentric neighbors, including the old woman who owns the island, and discovers an unknown talent for painting. But the paintings hold a strange ability to bring his ideas to life, dictated by the powers of the island.

There are many images, especially from the last third of the book, that will be sticking with me for a long time. King is still a master at describing a moment so creepy that it burns its way into your memory. And while I don't think I would recommend this as an entry point into King's repertoire, it is a solid piece of writing that won't be soon forgotten.

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