To my surprise, a birthday gift provided me with my most bittersweet reading this summer: Stephen King’s Joyland. Though I’m not a fan of his horror fiction, I am a huge admirer of the rest of King’s work.

Joyland (1) The cover of Joyland, published by Titan Books as part of its wonderful HARD CASE CRIME series (can’t you just feel the hard-boiled pulpiness?) evokes the sounds, sights and smells of a second rate amusement park, of warm summer days and nights, as well as something dark and menacing.

But I was pulled in by the tenderness at the story’s center, and in the heart of its main character, Devin Jones.

Maybe it’s because I raised three boys; or maybe it’s simply because Devin is as endearing as he is honest and flawed: all I know is that, true to its title, the novel was a joy to read from the first page.

Like summer, it ended way too quickly.


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