Sunday, March 23, 2008

Duma Key by Stephen King

Brice Leclert , whose entry is shown above, was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the DUMA KEY poster competition.

I have been a fan of Stephen King's books since the beginning. Each book is like a gift - to be cherished and enjoyed. To me, there's no feeling that matches how I feel when I get his newest book, so full of promise. And they never fail me. Well, except for The Dark Tower series. I just never got into them, they're fantasy, though I have a bit of a crush on Roland, the main character.

Back in the 80's and early 90's my favorite thing to do was to head (alone) to the cottage in Maine and start reading his latest book about 10:30 at night. I would read all night and not go to sleep until the sun came up. It would scare me to death, well not completely to death, but pretty damn close. I loved it.

Last year I reread all of my Stephen King books. With all of the spare time that I had I thought it would be fun to revisit them all together. There were, however, two books that I just couldn't get the energy to read; Misery and Cujo. They are too close to real life and I just couldn't go there. It was great to read the books all at once as I was able to see the thread of characters he has woven into his books much more clearly than I had previously when the books were released a year or more apart from each other. Once I finished, I boxed all the books and gave them to my friend Jason to enjoy.

I don't buy his books anymore. I figure he's made enough money off me with the 30 or so books I've bought, so I get his books from the library now. And my habit of just leaving the newest King book out for a few days (or weeks) to build anticipation isn't so great with a 3 week return date. When he released Desperation and The Regulators at the same time in 1996 it took me 2 years to start to read them. I just didn't know which one to read first!

So I just this morning finished reading Duma Key, the latest (and possibly one of the best) of Stephen King's dozens of books. It's a story of a man who loses his right arm in a freak accident, then loses his wife to divorce. He moves to a tiny island on the west coast of Florida and becomes a prolific painter and strange things begin to happen. Here's a synopsis I found from his site:

Edgar Freemantle reaches a T-junction in his life's journey when a freak accident costs him his arm... and his marriage. He takes the turning marked Florida - home, as they say, of the newly wed, or nearly dead.

But rather than choosing a typical holiday location, Freemantle is drawn to a beautiful, eerily remote stretch of land off Florida's West Coast: Duma Key, a tangle of banyans, palms and pines next to a deserted beach - uninhabited bar a few houses owned by an old lady named Elizabeth, once a famous patron of the arts.

Encouraged by his youngest daughter, Freemantle discovers a unique talent for painting, starting with the fabulous sunsets. But soon he finds himself experiencing weird phantom pains in his missing arm. And something strange and disturbing is happening with his pictures: they are becoming predictive, even dangerous to those who buy them.

Freemantle must team up with his fellow resident, Wireman, to chart his way through the increasingly disturbing mystery of Duma Key, where out-of-season hurricanes tear lives apart and a powerful undertow lures lost and tormented souls. Eventually, they will have to discover what really happened to Elizabeth's twin sisters, who disappeared in the 1920s - and the haunting secret to which this strange old lady holds the key.

Duma Key is a mesmerizing and compelling story about friendship, and the bond between a father and his daughter. It is also about the power of memory and truth, art and nature.

Here's a link to the first 30 pages of 611 total pages.

I recommend it highly - even for folks that don't think they would enjoy his books. You just might!

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