The dark chronicler of our time. Joyland by Stephen King "Who dares enter the funhouse of fear". Here's what I believe about Stephen Edwin King: just as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey wrote the poetry of the younger Boomer generation, Stephen King has written our maturing prose story. From Boy's Only yarns like "Stand By Me" to the Horror-laden lifework that began with Carrie, he's caught the lifes of us real-life Boomers with unfailing veracity. Only Terry Pratchett seems to be able to consistently reach into that same Jungian zone we somehow share. How can a writer inspired by EC comic books as a kid have gone on to expand that four color EC world into a vast, unique, haunted Prose universe? The answer, whatever it is, makes Stephen today one of the most well-known writers living or gone. In a way I envy him. The writers who inspired me as a boy (Sir Charles G D Roberts, Grey Owl, Ernest Thompson Seton, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Edgar Rice Burroughs) are either forgotten by all but the Faithful, or consigned to the Children's Shelf. But only in a way. The world just gets darker and Stephen grins and says, "See, I was right from the beginning!"
And yet Stephen's work still somehow throbs like a Who classic. There's hope in that sound. So now comes Joyland from Hard Case Crime. His hero is just an ordinary joe with an ordinary name (Devin Jones) who gets a job at an archetypal amusement park. It's got your House of Horrors, a mirror house, a wax museum and lots of thrilling rides. We've all been there, we think. But hang on: out of our memories Stephen is about to build nightmares. Partly, I don't understand the man. While Stephen was scared of things under his bed as a kid, I knew that the rustling under my bed was a short-tailed Manx cat that nobody else wanted or some critter I'd found Out There in the cruel world and was now healing (I hoped) in a shoebox with holes. But I understand the people he writes about. They're us. Joyland is available as a paperback book and an Audiobook (narrated by Michael Kelly). About it, Stephen says, "I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we're going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book."