Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
I read Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1962) years ago and never forgot it. I've reread it several times, and always find something new in the story of a traveling carnival lead by Mr. Dark, whose followers are marked by tattoos.
I felt the same way when I listened to Stephen King's "Joyland" (2013), even though the plots of the books are quite different. The atmosphere is the same, and so is the sense of evil. The carnival rides play a key part in both.
"Joyland" is a regional 'Six Flags' type of amusement park, not an international destination like Disneyland. I loved the new 'carny' language I learned. Guess that makes me a 'greenie', but at least I'm not a 'rube' if I know the lingo. That makes this the perfect book for a patient parent to listen to/read if she's been drafted as chaperone on one of those long, hot summer days of not-quite-cutting edge rides, junk food, and sunburned children excited enough to throw up on her shoes.
"Joyland" is a true mystery. Solving the mystery does not rely on the supernatural elements in "Joyland", so mystery fans won't be disappointed by vague clues from beyond being the key to figuring out 'who dunnit'. Finding the killer was no easy task for Devin Jones, the protagonist (aptly narrated by Michael Kelly) and it isn't easy for the listener/reader either.
"Joyland" is also a sweet coming of age story of love lost and love found, set against the backdrop of the most powerful love of all.
This book has some mild, not explicit sex. There is some violence, but it doesn't come near the violence in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. It's good for 'young adult' readers. For Stephen King fans, there are plenty of references to his other works - and it's fun to find them. However, the book stands on its own - you don't need to get the inside joke from King's "The Dead Zone" (1979) to love the story.
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I'm relatively new to audio books and this is only my second fiction book to consume but I'm beginning to wonder if I'd prefer a straight reading and let my imagination do the voices rather than the narrator doing voices. If I took a second listen I'd listen to the dramatization.
I don't know if is the hard boiled detective genre, a product of its time, or the fact that I so looked forward to getting to this book that I hyped it up in my mind but I only have a lukewarm review. Over the years it was definitely recommended to me by more than one person so its been in the queue for a long time. I think what bothered me most was out of 3 women none seem remotely realistic and the book boderlined on a misogynistic view of women. The twists and turns kept me interested but every time a woman interacted with Sam Spade I would just think to myself. Really?