Duma Key by Stephen King

dumaskeybookcover.phpI’m a huge fan of Stephen King. I’ve loved his books since I was in high school and picked up a paperback copy of Carrie. I like his classics including Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot and It. I tend to lean more toward his horror stories than his fantasy series like Wizard and Glass. King is such an amazingly talented, unique and prolific writer. Stephen King had his own horror story unfold when he was hit by a car in 1999. Although King had published many good books after the accident, they were just okay. I worried that he might have lost the ability to write stories that were as great as he used to write. King put my worries to rest when I read Duma Key.

Although most of King’s novels are set in New England (no writer captures New England locals’ attitude and accents quite like King), Duma Key is set in Florida. Edgar Freemantle rents a beach house on Duma Key after nearly dying in a construction accident. The accident makes him an instant millionaire, but costs him his right arm and his wife of twenty-five years. During his stay at the beach house, Freemantle gets to know his neighbors, the wealthy and elderly Elizabeth Eastlake who owns Duma Key and her caretaker Wireman.

As Freemantle recuperates, he discovers his unquenchable need to draw and paint. He finds that he is compelled to paint to sooth the twitching of his missing limb. His art is so good he acquires a following in the community. As with most of King’s stories, things are not what they appear on the surface. Freemantle’s art has the power to heal and to harm. His paintings can predict and change future events.

During Freemantle’s stay on Duma Key he becomes close to Wireman and Elizabeth Eastman and discovers they all hold tragic secrets that may destroy them and those they love. It falls on Freemantle to find a way to save them all. This is classic King psychological horror with a little supernatural thrown in the mix. The book is long as most of King’s are, but the reader won’t mind because the writing is so creative and well crafted. King has written several books since Duma Key including short story collections Just After Sunset and Full Dark, No Stars, his epic novel about the Kennedy assassination, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, now a popular television series, and Doctor Sleep, the long awaited sequel to The Shining. I have devoured them all.  It’s good to be King.

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