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zondag 26 december 2010

Duma Key by Stephen King

It grows on you

The life of Edgar Freemantle, the owner of a successful Minneapolis based construction company, takes a turn for the worst. First his truck gets crushed by a crane. Although he survives this accident, his right arm gets amputated. Following his violent mood swings, mostly due to the excruciating pain he suffers during his recovery, he looses his wife as she files for a divorce. In order the break loose from this negative spiral Edgar’s psychologist, Dr. Kamen, gives him the advice to move away and start anew. Edgar takes a year-long vacation and rents a beach house on Duma Key. There he lets his growing obsession for painting take a hold of him, with enormously successful results. He becomes even known as a new American Primitive. But through his art he also awakens some dark and revenge bearing power. He will need all the help he can get to keep his sanity. Luckily his neighbours Jerome Wireman, a retired lawyer, and the woman he accompanies Miss Eastlake seem to have some answers.

With Duma Key Stephen King has plotted a decent and classic ghost story that can hardly be called original. It uses all the tricks in the book for writing scary yarns and does so with much craftsmanship. It starts rather slow but certainly gets up to speed for the final third of the book. Whereas the story is certainly lacking some freshness, the atmosphere and character setting is simply sublime. The true strength of the novel lies in a depiction of the mental struggle of its protagonist. It does reverb a bit King’s Bag of Bones novel, but with much more potency. As the novel grows on the reader the lacking originality is easily forgotten.

With Duma Key the master of horror proves, after some lacklustre attempts, that he hasn’t lost his touch at all. Although it is a big novel (611 pages), it certainly is a real treat for the Constant Reader.

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