Joyland is as genre-foiling as its author .... As you read the dialogue, the book becomes less a story about a summer’s mystery than a tale of entry into another, coexisting world, one with its own rules, codes, and language ...strengthens his storyline with a rich cast of supporting characters ...is quick reading, and its pleasures are simple ones. And yet it’s just complicated enough to force us to question the distinction between high and low literature.
...in many respects, a different sort of book, but it, too, depends on King’s typically unerring sense of character for its deepest effects. The narrator is Devin Jones, a 60-something writer looking back on the summer of 1973, when he was 21 years old ... Within that Bradbury-like setting, King has created a moving, immensely appealing coming-of-age tale that encompasses restless ghosts, serial murder, psychic phenomena and sexual initiation ...quotidian details pervade the narrative, providing a solid foundation for the dramatic, sometimes otherworldly events ...opens up this world and gives it a tangible reality. The resulting portrait of Joyland in action is absorbing enough, all by itself, to sustain a full-length narrative. This, however, is a Stephen King novel, and so a darker, more menacing reality eventually asserts itself ... The melodramatic aspects of the story are great fun, but the real strength of Joyland stems from King’s ability to connect with his characters directly and viscerally.
...Stephen King’s nostalgic new summer novel about the adventures of a lovelorn college boy in a haunted Southern amusement park. The book delivers chills, not shocks, and is silly-scary in the manner of a yarn that a sophomore might tell a freshman while toasting marshmallows around a fire ... Between the lines is an implied critique of the sanitized, corporate, Disney-style amusements that have supplanted the grass-roots titillations of an earlier, cruder era ... There’s not a lot more to Joyland than that, good fun ... The novel is like a plump wad of cotton candy; it fills the mouth with fluffy sweetness that quickly dissolves when the reader starts to chew.
King's new novel, Joyland, operates very much from this territory: a drama that unfolds in miniature ...a double vision — the 21-year-old actively living through his experience while his older incarnation reflects on it — gives the book an unexpected perspective, even as it reassures us that whatever happens in the novel, Devin will come out alive ... Joyland, however, is written with a lighter touch, an air of if not nostalgia then wistfulness ...grows only more heightened as the narrative progresses, making Joyland a coming-of-age novel as well, although such a process is bittersweet at best.
...Joyland is a Stephen King novel. As such, though there is indeed a crime to be solved, it is filled with more of his usual fictional tropes than it is with bare-knuckled adventure ... The supernatural plays a bigger role in the story than classic detective work ...is more of a coming- of-age-story than crime fiction. It is Mystery as Memoir and has much more to do with the complexities of life and living, and the death and dying that goes along with it, than it does with murder ... If you pick up Joyland expecting Raymond Chandler or Mickey Spillane, two of the great pulp crime novelists this series claims to emulate, you may be disappointed. If you're looking for a good Stephen King book that pushes all the buttons he is good at pushing, then Joyland makes for a great summer read.
Joyland does feature a murder mystery and a wonderfully garish pulp-fiction cover that looks like it just flew in from 1958 ... At its heart, this is a captivating story filled with more light than dark, more sweetness than horror, and plenty of grace ...still brilliantly captures the doubt and despair that can overtake the lovelorn, the brooding tapestry of why-didn't-she-want-me and I-don't-want-to-go-on ... The amusement park itself is another vivid character in the novel, full of rides like the Whirly Cups and (groan) the Chair-o-Planes. But King doesn't take the easy way out by painting Joyland as a sinister place of screeching carnies, shadowy tunnels, and creaky machines ... There are a few bumps in Joyland ... But the characters, the setting, and the simple lessons about life are so vital that nothing else really matters.
...King's new coming-of-age novel that leans more toward the wistful realism of The Body than, say, Hearts in Atlantis, where the supernatural merged with adolescence. Joyland is small, tidy; you get the feeling that, for all its shimmer, King banged it out over a long weekend ...this story of a broken heart, a summer job and a beach amusement park — infused with ghosts, killers and a boy with 'the sight' — is lovingly streamlined. It starts strong, ends stronger. Sturdy finales are never a given with King, but this one, Constant Readers, will have you gasping and, ultimately, blinking back big fat tears ...will have a tough time fighting for a mention among Misery and Salem's Lot and Pet Sematary. But rest assured those who board King's latest roller coaster won't forget it anytime soon: the ultimate 'beach' book from one of literature's slyest entertainers.
Joyland is the second story King has written for Hard Case Crime, and like The Colorado Kid...it comes complete with throwback cover art and a fantastic, nostalgic narrative ...takes the form of a tale told by an old man looking back on the last year of his youth ... It’s rather more reminiscent of Duma Key and Different Seasons than the aforementioned classic, and more interested, in the main, in natural characters than supernatural factors, but be that as it may, Joyland bears its fair share of thrills and chills ... What we have here is a coming of age tale, primarily; a beautiful book, warm and honest, about a boy becoming a man, and his tempered transformation really does pack a punch ... In short, Joyland is a joy. A gem whatever its genre.
Joyland is King at his best when he writes thrillers. He knows how to set a scene and reel a reader's interest in the story so that they can forget about everything else and concentrate on characters that they just might know...it may well be with the short-story format, or as is the case here in Joyland, with the shorter-story, coming in at less than 300 pages, that King is at his best ... King has always done nostalgia well – he seems to be able to write about what if feels like to be a teenager better than a real life teenager themself could ... Joyland is a coming of-age/murder-mystery that will appeal to both teenagers and teenagers-that-once-were. There’s a lovely pulp-fiction feel to the book and the characters are ones that are easily recognisable to us from within our own lives.
Joyland comes with all the horror trappings for which Stephen King is known: a sinister carnival, a grisly unsolved murder, a haunted ride ...there is murder, and blood, and the possibility of a ghost, and a dramatic and deadly denouement, but it's hard not to end up more captivated by the glimpse King gives into carny life...is a far gentler, deeper, more thoughtful book than the one it masquerades as. More a coming-of-age mystery than a horror-filled thriller, it's closer to the tone of King's short story 'The Body' – on which the film Stand By Me is based – than it is to the author's real forays into horror, and all the more intriguing for it.
Clocking in at just under 300 pages, it seems short for a guy responsible for epics like The Stand and It. Instead, the novel is a tight and engrossing slice of life starring a college kid trying to get over the pain of first love gone wrong ...King doesn't go the milquetoasty Nicholas Sparks route. His relationships are always grounded and, while maybe not meeting readers' romantic expectations, are satisfying in how they play out ... Yet it's the coming-of-age storytelling and a young man's roller-coaster of a summer that make Joyland a prize worth all your tokens and skeeball tickets.
If there was ever a book written for the summer, it would be Joyland by Stephen King. It is a beautiful, quietly riveting, multi-faceted work that holds your attention from the jump and evokes the sounds of Ferris wheels and the smells of popcorn and cotton candy from its first pages ...not exactly a hard-boiled work, though there are elements of detective fiction within it. It is additionally a coming-of-age novel, a mystery, a romance, and has a touch of the horror and supernatural ... Unlike many of his books, it is not long, weighing in at just 285 pages ...set his novel in one of the most fascinating places in the pulp universe – a place of fun and entertainment designed to separate the 'rubes' and 'chumps' from their hard-earned cash. But it was a world with its own language, culture and cast of misfit characters... What King has done is transcend genres as only our greatest writers can and tell an incredible human story.
A haunted carnival funhouse gives a supernatural spin to events in Thriller Award–winner King’s period murder mystery with a heart ...when Devin begins investigating an unsolved murder committed four years before at the carnival’s Horror House, and quickly stumbles into more than he bargained for. King brings his usual finesse to this tale’s mystery elements, and makes Dev’s handling of them crucial to the novel’s bigger coming-of-age story, in which Dev adapts to the carny life and finds true romance.
King turns in a sturdy noir, with just a little of The Shining flickering at the edges, that’s set not in the familiar confines of Maine (though his protagonist is from there) but down along the gloomy coastline of North Carolina, with places bearing such fitting names as Cape Fear and the Graveyard of the Atlantic ... As ever, King writes a lean sentence and a textured story, joining mystery to horror, always with an indignant sense of just how depraved people can be. The story is all the scarier, toward the end, not by the revelation of the bad guy but by his perfectly ordinary desires, even though Joyland is anything but an ordinary place ... A satisfyingly warped yarn, kissing cousins of Blue Velvet. Readers may be inclined to stay off the Tilt-a-Whirl for a while after diving into these pages.