Saturday, January 28, 2017

Duma Key by Stephen King - A Review

Amid the lulling noises of the ocean waves rushing onto the beach are the clicking of shells under the pink house that reaches out over the water . . . or is that sound, voices? No, it's only shells, only shells. . .




DUMA KEY
elsewhere in the Florida Keys. . .

This is a suspense story woven into the deceiving background of palm trees, island beaches, and shells that 'talk' beneath a house reserved for artists. In this story by Stephen King, master of the horror genre, we learn about an artist who seemingly reaches the peak of his talent after a traumatic accident. 

Edgar Freemantle has suffered from a construction accident which takes his right arm and some of his memories. He is left with a scrambled mind and a throbbing rage as he begins rehabilitation. After the accident, his marriage falters and ends, leaving Edgar wishing he had not survived.

He moves to South Florida in the Keys, those islands that extend from the mainland outward into the Gulf of Mexico. His therapist tells him to get a hobby he enjoys and try to come to terms with his new life. Edgar begins to draw and paint. . .at times feeling a driving force he cannot identify. The results astound him. Now he has a purpose, but he wonders at what is driving him. Perhaps it's the need to do something, anything. Perhaps not.


As he settles in to the Pink House, he begins to meet his neighbours and others who live or do business on Duma Key. One elderly lady who owns part of the island, including the house in which he is staying, has a few quirks of her own. She takes a liking to Edgar, as does her hired helper, called Wireman. Between trying to get his work into a gallery for an art opening and trying to determine what is real and what isn't, Edgar has his hands full. His past life intervenes when one daughter who is closer to her father, comes to visit. Everyone is praising the work that Edgar is creating, especially as he has suffered the loss of one arm. That arm occasionally feels as if it's still there. . .

Edgar realizes he must find out 'what' happened to the original family that settled here. One of them is still living. The deeper Edgar and his friends investigate, the more the paranormal activity increases. Relationships between the characters, secrets about the past and the strange behaviour of plant life and the ocean near the Pink House will keep you wondering what's next. The pace in Duma Key is much better than the pace in The Stand, which I found too drawn-out in the middle. 

I recommend Duma Key to readers who are fans of Stephen King, love paranormal stories or suspense, or those who have an interest in art. It didn't take me long to get through it, it's a page turner. 

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Are you a fan of Stephen King's writing? Have you read Duma Key? What would you do if you thought the house you lived in or rented was haunted?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. I have several upcoming book reviews about books by: Jack Kerouac, Agatha Christie (2), and Diana Gabaldon. Hope you drop by to check them out, especially if you're looking for a change of pace. 

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NOW in the news (Jan 28/17): Sanctuary Cities

Update: Canadian cities follow American counterparts in declaring Sanctuary for undocumented immigrants: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, with others discussing and voting on joining the move to resist following Trump policies on the Canadian side of the border.  See CBC news Feb 21/17.

Original news: Jan 28/17
Many of the great cities in the USA are putting up resistance to the current protectionist policies of the new president, in particular, immigration. The following article is from our Canadian news. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/sanctuary-cities-undocumented-immigrants-donald-trump-executive-order-1.3956502 CBC News, Sanctuary cities in the USA. Egalitarian policies still prevail in some smart humane cities, managed by smart mayors! Bravo!!

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26 comments:

  1. I loved Duma Key; it's among my favorite Stephen King novels.

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    1. I received it as a gift, and because I'd been to the Florida Keys, I was interested. I liked the art angle of this story.

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  2. Overall I'm not a King fan, but this one sounds pretty good. As long as it's not gory I could probably give it a try. I'm not sure I'd like living in a haunted house though. My dad teased me that my childhood home was haunted by the original owner from the 1800s, and when we first moved into this house I thought there might be a ghost cause of the footsteps I'd hear in the space under the roof, and the way Pepper acted, but not anymore.

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    1. It's not gory, more suspense and psychological type horror. The house I grew up in had a history of ghosts, too.

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  3. Hi D.G. Yep. I'm a Stephen King fan of most of his books anyway. I like the sound of this one very much. I will now read it after your excellent review. I love the paranormal themes and the inclusion of art. (My current hero is an artist in Paris). What's not to like?
    CNN is going wild with all the uprisings re Trump's immigration changes. Oh boy.

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    1. Is this Paris artist recent or one of the artists of the past? You've made me curious with that hint. Yes, Canada is struggling to get more clarification on what's what with as Trump does a good job of reviving an old American image abroad. . .

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  4. DUMA KEY is my favorite Stephen King novel. I liked reading it so much that I bought the audio of it and have listened to it several times on my blood runs. In fact, I think it may be time to re-listen to it again. :-)

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    1. I remember you saying you liked this novel, one of the reasons I read it, Roland.

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  5. Hi DG - it's not a genre I read ... but Stephen King has an excellent reputation for his work ... so I'm missing something - yet we read what we like. However having seen your review and read a bit more ... I might at some stage read the book - for some aspects not perhaps the paranormal.

    To be perfectly honest I have no idea what I'd do if I suddenly started experiencing things paranormal ... though I know and realise there are other signs of life.

    Interesting - thanks for posting ... I'm intrigued ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I don't read a lot of horror either, but a little paranormal element seemed to add something to this tale. It's not gory, but psychological - the MC has had a brain injury, so he seems to have awakened a sixth sense.

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  6. I've only read his collection of short stories but not a full novel.

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    1. You should try this one, Alex, you might like it. I've read The Stand and Hearts in Atlantis, and perhaps one more. I liked Carrie, and the Shining but only saw them in the movies.

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  7. I like some of his books and I loved the last one I read, 11/22/63. This one sounds interesting too. Hope you are doing OK.

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    1. Doing OK describes it, Inger, making adjustments as needed. If you've read other books of his, you will like this one. It's psychological like the old Hitchcock style stories.

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  8. I am a King fan. I like some of his books better than others. Duma Keys is one of my favorites - The Stand probably being my all time favorite, lol.

    I've lived in a couple houses that I was sure was haunted. The first one had a ghost that felt kinda middle aged and lonely. He'd sit on the bed in the early mornings, move around the spare bedroom, sometimes walk through the kitchen. He seemed to like it when we'd talk to him. I was alone a lot during that year and he was good company.

    The second one was creepy. Had a malevolent feel. He was in one of my son's bedroom, and there were times my son was afraid to go in there - he was fourteen, so it wasn't a childhood fear of the boogie man. Sometimes I'd come home and instantly feel afraid of the house, like someone was there to do me harm. Nobody ever got hurt, but that creepy feeling was aweful.

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    1. Well Donna, my estimation of your resilience just went up tenfold. If you can handle that situation, you can do anything. I do agree that some ghosts or spirits aren't intent on evil, but yet may have had an untimely death. Have you ever read Psychlone by Greg Bear (part horror, part scifi). You might like it.

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  9. I did grow up in a haunted house and most of the time I just ignored it. Unless the noises got too loud.

    My favorite King book was Eyes of the Dragon.

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    1. Yikes. I wouldn't go near a couple of closets in the house where I grew up, nor one bedroom at night especially. Our family stories told of one of the original owners who hanged himself on the stairway. . .as a teen I had to pass that spot. I never looked up.

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  10. I love King and I'm not sure why this one totally slipped by me and I've never read it. Thank you for sharing your review! I am going to get the book right away.

    Thanks too for sharing about the sanctuary cities. I was proud of our mayor for announcing my city would be one.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the review. And to get political for a moment: I'm proud of all the US cities that are standing up for what's right, like that Attorney General who was canned. Today I read that the AG should back up her president rather than protect US principles and justice. What twisted interpretations are being thrown around by the current US administration - must be 'alternate' truths. . .what about protecting what's good about the USA, no matter who is in office?

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  11. So, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I read this when it first came out, and I recognize the synopsis, but... I totally forgot it. So it's probably not my favorite King work. I'm more of a Dark Tower kind of guy, anyway.

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    1. Never be embarrassed to admit something didn't stick in the memory. It has to make an impact for that. I've read so many scifi novels that sometimes I get the plots and endings confused - say what? But not when I'm doing a review. . . It's not the usual King fare, I agree, probably written in a milder moment.

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  12. I've started a few of his books but stopped after a few chapters. They sound good, and I know people love them, but it's hard for me to get in to them. :\

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    1. This one is an easy one to get into Chrys, as is Hearts in Atlantis. My daughter encouraged me to read some of his work, since I used to avoid it too.

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  13. I read this when it first came out, and I remember enjoying it. The story was intriguing and the pace good. But I'm a Stephen King fan, so I typically enjoy his books.

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    1. I've had that book sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. . .so finally got to it in the TBR stack. I liked the art angle and the location of the story!

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