Sunday, September 25, 2011

Duma Key; Stephen King

Title: Duma Key
Author:  Stephen King
Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Edition: audio book and Kindle
Reader: John Slattery ( very good)
Source: Library 
Date Completed: 9/23/2011 
Setting: Minnesota and Florida
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

Easing my way back to a favorite author of the 80's and 90's,  Duma Key seemed like good choice. I read that it was a milder, less gore Stephen King than from his earlier days. This novel was written after his close call with death in 1999, when he was hit by a van while walking along a road in Maine.  

Duma Key is about the special powers that come to some people who have had a near death experience.  In this story protagonist, Edgar Freemantle once was a successful business owner in Minnesota. Married with two adult daughters, life was good. Everything changed for Edgar when a crane came down on his truck with him inside of it.  Head injury, extensive rehab, lost arm, and now a wife who can't deal with how her husband has changed (periodic fits of anger and rage) -- Edgar's life will never be the same.  His shrink suggests a change of environment, and doing something he once enjoyed (drawing in Edgar's case ) may be just what he needs.

Edgar relocates to a tiny island off the coast of Florida --Duma Key.  His home is Florida is large and pink, "Salmon Point #13". He refers to the place as "Big Pink".  Although the place takes a bit of getting use to, the place has breathtaking and inspiring sunrises and sunsets. Soon Edgar begins to experience strange sensations and itching in his phantom arm. When this happens, his creative juices to paint and draw are stirred and amazing creations happen. His work before long is in demand and he becomes pretty famous on the island, but this comes with a price.

Freemantle's art is different. It paints a story of things to come, and they are not happy things either.  Before long this gift becomes a curse, and it becomes clear that the remote coastal town of Duma Key,  has more sinister things happening there than one would suspect.

Did I like this book? Yes, quite a bit, but I found it a bit too wordy. It's over 600 pages and the build up to the sinister events takes about 2/3 of the book.  I must say though that I never felt bored though.  I alternated between the Kindle eBook and the audio book that I got from the library, and I found one to really compliment the other.  The audio reader, John Slattery was very good, and it was particularly fun to listen to Edgar's misspoken words, which had resulted from his head injury.  Some of what he come out with was very humorous. In my opinion, that had less effect with the print version.

All the characters were very well developed, and this is where Stephen King really shines. Besides Edgar there was his elderly landlady, Elizabeth Eastlake, who encourages Edgar to pursue his drawing. She has deep ties to Duma Key and more than a few secrets of her own.  Her caretaker, referred to as "Wireman" is another individual who provided interesting and fun dialogue for Edgar.  I did not find the novel terribly graphic or scary, like many of his earlier books, so for me that was a good thing. I love books like this as we ease into fall. Try this one --it's well worth the time investment.


  1. Diane, This book sounds interesting, but with my increased workload, I can't imagine trying to tackle 600 pages. As a book lover, I'm embarrassed to admit that. I loved Stephen King when I was young but I haven't picked him up for awhile. Maybe over Christmas break. Thanks for the review.

  2. You had me at near death experiences! I didn't know it was about that. I am intrigued. His books always appear to be so wordy, don't they.

  3. I tend to shy away from really long books when I am busy, and this is a busy season. Some of King's other books really disturbed me back in high school and I'm afraid I have been shying away from him ever since. I guess they were well written as I can still recall the nightmares a few of them left me with. My husband is a big fan though and we own tons of his books, so should I ever decide to read one I have lots at hand!

  4. I read this, too, many moons ago. Excellent review, Diane. You've reminded me what I enjoyed about this book.

  5. I haven't read a lot of King's work, but do know a few die-hard fans, and would love the chance to experience some of the best of his work. I was really excited when I won a copy of Under the Dome, and though it's a pretty long book, I look forward to giving it a go. I will have to report back on it's wordiness!

  6. It's been years since I've read King. I have often thought of reading his newer stuff but just never found the time. Sounds like a good book even though it's a bit long for me!

  7. I enjoy King and haven't read this one. He has so many books that I never know which ones are "good" and which ones aren't worth the time. This sounds like a good one.

    And I never thought to listen to an audio AND read a book at the same time.

  8. I can't get into any of his later work, not sure why. I really got turned off after Insomnia, which cured mine. I tried the one about the cell phones, but I didn't like that one either. I've been told this one and Under the Dome are good, I'm a little scared though. One of these days I may have to give it a try. Thanks for the review.

  9. 600 pages is tad bit long for me. I think I go for books of 300 pages at max these days :)

    This sounds good but I am not sure I want to read this now.

  10. I'm a big SK fan, but this is one I haven't read. It's good to know that it's a bit gentler than some of his others. He's one writer that I seem to fly through - lots of words but it's not hard going.

  11. I really liked this one. I loved Wireman.

  12. I haven't read a lot of Stephen King (Dolores Claiborne, and Dark Tower series), but currently reading Dark Tower IV. I had to laugh when you mentioned alternating between your Kindle edition and audio; I'm alternating between my Kindle edition and my print book!

  13. Funny how we both reviewed this book this week! I read it a few weeks ago, though.

    I found it too wordy too and didn't like the ghost story much. But the first 2/3 were great!

  14. After reading your and Leeswammes' reviews, I think this might actually be a Stephen King I could read without giving up a week's worth of sleep. I've put it on my TBR!


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