Book Review – Duma Key by Stephen King

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Edgar Freemantle is a successful businessman whose life takes a shocking and drastic turn when he suffers an accident that causes him to lose an arm. His rehabilitation doesn’t go smoothly and tensions between him and his wife, Pam, cause her to push through a divorce. In an attempt to rebuild his fragile psyche, Edgar takes a trip down to Duma Key, and while there he rediscovers a previously forgotten love of painting. However, he soon discovers that he can see things in his paintings that he shouldn’t be able to see, and long-dormant mysteries of the area rise up again…

Another solid book from Stephen King. It’s a bit of a nitpick, but one of my gripes with a lot of stories is that writers write about writers, and this annoys me a little because I feel like it’s not being very creative. Some might say that having the protagonist be an artist  is pretty much the same thing, but it’s different enough in my eyes to be a relief. I like the way King describes the paintings, although I can’t but feel this would have been an ideal book to include some illustrations.

The narrative is strong and although it’s a near-600 page book it doesn’t feel like a slog, and King has the good gift of making you want to read more at certain points, meaning you can work through this book quite quickly. The creepiness builds slowly and then all of a sudden it’s completely unsettling, and although I wasn’t shaken to my core with fright it definitely had an effect on me.

I liked most of the characters. Edgar was an entertaining protagonist and is easily sympathised with. Some of them went undeveloped though, I thought, like Melinda. There were just a few that lacked closure. Some of the dialogue didn’t ring true either, particularly the way that Wireman spoke. I didn’t get the sense of a natural rhythm so I could never hear a voice in my head when I read the bits where he spoke.

Overall though I enjoyed it. I think it had a good concept and was sufficiently creepy, and it’s a good long book to read without being dense and heavy.

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