Pages: Paper Back
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewer: Virginia Armstrong
Rating: 7 JAG
To keep his mind off his broken heart and his first lost love, Devin Jones takes a job at Joyland, an amusement park in North Carolina. There, he meets Madame Fortuna, who eerily predicts his future. Uncertain if she is for real or not, he ponders her words until, one by one, her predictions prove true.
Looking out for the one with the “sight”, he becomes obsessed with the ghost of Linda Gray, who was said to haunt the Horror House at Joyland. With the help of friends, Erin and Tom, he begins piecing together the woman’s murder. Exploring the Horror House, Tom witnesses something that he refuses to speak about. Something that leaves him forever changed.
As summer rolls to an end, Devin decides to stay on at Joyland. Its then that he meets ten-year old Mike Ross and his mom, Annie. As a friendship begins to forge between the three, Devin starts piecing together the murder of Linda Gray. As he gets closer to solving the puzzle, danger lurks nearby, forcing him to make a frightful decision. Does he surrender his life? Or does he sacrifice another’s?
Joyland is a coming-of-age murder mystery filled with youthful notions and innocence. Not your typical Stephen King novel, yet the characters are engaging just the same. As the story jumps from a twenty-one year old to the same person forty years later, it’s easy to visualize Devin Jones at both stages of his life. The story is of friendships made and lost, of life, death and the beyond. As usual, King’s characters have a way of becoming real, the emotions now shared between the writer and the reader.