Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Book Review: "Duma Key" by Stephen King

Well I finally read the latest from Stephen King, the master of horror. Actually I would say Mr. King is the Master at taking something pretty plain and making it downright horrifying. In "Duma Key" he goes even further and takes something extraordinary and makes it "hyper-extraordinary. But before I go further I will warn you, constant reader, that while this book has a lot going for it, it also seems to lack that big extra scary "umpf" that only King does so well. While there were no super scary moments the book is still a great, fun read. No, I take that back, what could be more scary than paintings coming to life and a spirit known as Perse drowning children and sending their ghosts back to make sure she lives forever. I think what it is, is that I have built up a Stephen King tolerance, and nothing scares me like Pennywise the Clown or Jack Torrance.

Okay let's talk about Duma Key. This latest novel starts with the life of Edgar Freemantle going through a major life changing event. Edgar is a 57 year old contractor that is involved in a terrible accident which involves a large crane smashing into his truck. Edgar loses his right arm and suffers severe head trauma. He spends some time in the hospital in a coma and when he wakes he finds it difficult to communicate and unable to control his temper. His psychologist suggests a little doll for him to focus his anger upon. Edgar's wife soon asks for a divorce after he tries to choke her (this is one of the many things Edgar doesn't remember doing). The psychologist then recommends a change of scenery and to take up a hobby. Edgar used to draw so he decides to take up painting, but before doing so he decides to move from Minnesota to one of the Keys in Florida, Duma Key.

On Duma Key, Edgar's paintings take on a supernatural feel and even the process becomes supernatural with the paranormal phantom limb from his missing arm. It is on Duma Key where Edgar meets Jerome Wireman, Wireman to his friends. Wireman is a former attorney who once tried to take his own life after losing his wife and daughter. Wireman is now a caretaker for Elizabeth Eastlake, an eccentric old woman who is a native of Duma Key, and possibly owns the whole Island. After Edgar's daughter comes down for a visit, Elizabeth warns him that Duma Key has never been a good place for daughters. And thus the story begins to unfold. Twin sisters drowning, a mysterious spectre that seems to come from the bottom of the ocean and the mysterious ship of the dead, "The Perse."

Now Edgar, his assistant Jack and Wireman must destroy Perse. To do so will not be an easy task. Perse works through Edgar's Paintings and he becomes an extremely popular artist and everyone wants his art. His art also is supernatural in that just by panting when the phantom limb is throbbing he can make what he paints become reality, like killing a man that rapes and kills a child by simply painting the man with no mouth or nose. Perse goes after Edgar's family and the war is on.

Earlier I said this book wasn't a huge scare factor for me, but then again I am proud to say I've read every book that has been published by Stephen King, and I have built a tolerance. But the saving grace for this book was the excellent characters that were written, especially Wireman. Wireman is full of great lines that could be great ways to lead the perfect life. Between the idioms of Wireman and the inner turmoil of Edgar Freemantle, this book is a fun read. All Stephen King fans should read this book, and non-King fans will enjoy the great dialogue between the characters and the great descriptions of the artwork by Edgar plus the extra chills thrown in to remind you, Stephen King wrote this.

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The official book trailer/promo:

Stephe King talks about the book and how it came about (thanks to

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