Some authors are a safe bet.
You know, no matter what subject matter they approach, they will give you a good story. They will entertain you. The writing will be superb. And they will not leave you hanging.
No matter how weird or scary the topic, they will be like a forest guide, pointing out the wildlife along the way, while keeping you safe and sound.
Stephen King is one of those authors.
He might experiment with style, or genre, or other conventions, but you know there will always be strong, layered characters, a robust story and loads of excitement.
I read his newest novel ‘Joyland’ the other day. And I mean the other day, because I finished it about five hours after I got it. It is a fast read.
The story itself is about a lovelorn 21 year old (Young adult? New adult? Adult!) guy named Devin, who works at an amusement park and has bouts of experiences with the supernatural element and plain old murder.
There is a bit of love story involved and Dev sure does some growing up along the way.
King gives away many things in the beginning of the story, because he tells it from the perspective of a very senior Dev, who recounts his youth. (This reminded me a bit of ‘Water for Elephants’).
So we know, for example, that the protagonist will make it.
King sends the reader guessing along with the murder case and throws out some deliciously big red herrings. The climax of the story comes naturally and once you get there you can clearly see the foreshadowing not only of the who, but also of the where and the how.
(See how I kept the whole summary spoiler free? Yay me!)
I really liked this book. Not only because of the plot and the characters, but also because of King’s gleeful immersion into Carny speak, his nuggets of wisdom, and his winks at JK Rowling.
Reading this book, I got a clear sense of King liking to write it.
It is a short book. It is not his deepest book. But it is a little gem that was polished to perfection.
Not that Stephen King needs any help in the promotion department, but yes, if you have the chance, go out and read this book. I recommend it.