CONSTANT READER REVIEW – Duma Key by Stephen King

“There were some strange things kicking around Duma Key, and I had reason to believe they weren’t all nice things…”

Okay, phew. Duma Key features a slow (slow…SLOW) buildup reminiscent of a rollercoaster. Except the hill is the majority of the book, and the descent is the last third, at 100 miles an hour. The story is good. It’s unique-ish (although, another King book features a painting with “special” properties…) and it still feels very much like a King book although it’s set in Florida. Maybe he figured enough bad stuff has happened in Maine by his hand.

“We checked into hell on different shifts, you and me.”

Edgar, our main character, feels very authentic. His issues with memory and speech following a horrific accident are easily woven throughout the story – they never feel forced. You can’t help but feel bad for him, and I found myself wondering what Edgar was like before his accident. He uses drawing and painting as a way to heal from his injuries and we quickly learn that those pieces of art possess…something. Or, maybe, they’re possessed BY something.

The supporting characters here are memorable – Wireman, of course, stands out due to his tragic backstory and frequent words of wisdom. We don’t get enough of Elizabeth – of the REAL Elizabeth – but our glimpses into her childhood contain some of the most chilling parts of the book. And Jack! Probably the least developed of our “main” characters, but still a delight.

“I told myself there was time. Of course, that’s what we always tell ourselves, isn’t it? We can’t imagine time running out, and God punishes us for what we can’t imagine.”

This book contains some incredible tragedies – both things that have happened in the past, and things that happen in the current timeline. There’s a strong theme of parental love here, too, and the way different people deal with unimaginable grief. It’s underlying, but I think that will be something I remember most about this story.

My final feelings about the story are a bit conflicted – overall it’s not the plot that resonates with me, but the writing. There are some incredible one-liners in this book, and for that, I think it’s worth the read.

“…the only way to go on is to go on. To say I can do this even when you know you can’t.”

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