Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Duma Key" by Stephen King

Bookbabe is most definitely one of King's "Constant Reader" folk, and very happy to be one this time around. This is like the King of old; a good book - no, a great book - with characters that feel real enough you expect them to be in the room with you. As he did with "Lisey's Story", he's exploring the world of art and creation, a place where anything can and does happen. But not always for the best....

Edgar Freemantle is a middle-aged man, owns his own business, married, has two grown daughters. Life is pretty good for Edgar. Then one day everything changes; there's an accident at a work site and he loses his left arm. Almost loses his life, as well. Edgar also has some brain trauma from the accident (his pick-up truck was crushed when a crane backed over it, a crane who's beep-beep-beep mechanism was malfunctioning). The result of his injuries are, of course, one less arm than most people and one less wife, as well. At the suggestion of his therapist, Edgar decides to relocate, hoping a change of scenery will do him good.

Enter the island of Duma Key and the rental home Salmon Point. Only in Edgar's mind, it's "Big Pink" and it's the best thing that's ever happened to him. He's taken up drawing again, painting even, and what's more, he seems to be pretty darn good at it. Never mind that the his art is a bit strange, and definitely never mind that his art can and does have a direct effect on the real world. Edgar is doing much better on Duma Key and Duma Key seems to be glad to have him.

Ah, but this is King were talking about, so you know that things are about to get weird. Edgar meets his neighbors, the indominatable Elizabeth Westlake and her caretaker, Wireman, and realizes that his artistic abilities may not be his own. He learns from Elizabeth that there's a force that has been sleeping on Duma Key, one that has apparently awakened with his arrival. And he learns that nothing is as it seems.

This is King doing what he does best, creating characters that are so rich and complex that you feel as if you really know them. Then he puts those same characters in danger and has you hanging on the edge of your seat to find out what happens. "Duma Key" is not a book to be missed, especially if you're a fan of King's older works.

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