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