Duma Key – By Stephen King
Book Report By Vincent
And I can knock out one more Stephen King Book from the list. I’d been meaning to read Duma Key for awhile and I lucked out with finding a hardcover for a buck at Half Price Books, which isn’t entirely unusual there. Stephen King books are a dime a dozen at most used book stores (almost literally). I guess it’s the one advantage to trying to read all of an author’s works when they’re so readily available. Now let’s get to the report!
Duma Key’s protagonist is Edgar Freemantle, the owner of a successful construction company, who is recovering from a life threatening accident that cost him his arm. The novel follows his recovery to the point where he decides to take up painting and move to a Duma Key, a small island off the coast of Florida. As he recovers and paints some sort of mysterious force seems to be guiding his painting, but you could probably have guessed that, being a Stephen King novel and all.
Since this is a much later King work (published in 2008) I was a little nervous, because I tend to not particularly enjoy the newest stuff as much. I hate to be that guy, but I am. I was even more apprehensive, because there are some similarities between this and another King book, Bag of Bones. Both novels feature an artistic man who has lost a wife (one to death and one to divorce), they both go to a retreat in order to find themselves, both have rich old people popping into their lives, and they both have otherworldly elements enter their lives. The main difference between the two is that the non-fantastic parts of the story are written in such a way that you really care about Edgar, which drives you to keep reading even before the horror elements come in.
By the time everything shakes out, it’s back to the same old, same old thing you find in many of other works by King. I’m not going to give anything away, but there’s nothing completely shocking going on. The most surprising thing was that the body count for the heroes was fairly low.
I don’t necessarily blame King for not being able to sustain my level of interest until the very end. Much of the magic of this kind of story for me is the mystery. Once the fantastic becomes more concrete and you start getting answers, a lot of the magic kind of boils away. King does an okay job of job of keeping the intensity of the threat though.
Since my Mom reads a lot of Stephen King books, I figured I’d find out what she thought about Duma Key. She basically said, “I didn’t quite get some of the parts. It was good, but I still didn’t quite understand it.” I asked here what she meant and aside from having read it along time ago, she didn’t quite get where the monsters in the novel came from. It made me think about it and I kind of understood what she was saying. SPOILERS: So there’s this death boat that took some of the family. Are only the family members on the death boat? Why weren’t there other undead sailors? And what’s the purpose of the death boat? What was the goal of the evil demon woman? To take over the world? Just be evil? It’s not like it’s vague to keep it mysterious, it’s vague to the point that it just feels like holes that aren’t filled in. In the end I guess it doesn’t really matter, but little things like this do kind of keep you from fully enjoying the work.
Overall I found it worth the time to take a trip to Duma Key. While not one of the best King books I’ve ever read, it was certainly entertaining.