I am a timid Stephen King fan, I prefer his alternate writing vs. what he is best known for. I would put this in the alternate category. The cover art sucked me in to listen and I am glad that I followed my instincts. Thanks to the wonderful audio division at Simon & Schuster folks for making this come together.
Take a run down local amusement park in the middle of no where small town and then the college kids that populate it for summer jobs and that is JOYLAND. It’s year round workers definitely are off and may even have something to hide.
Devin Jones who is brilliantly narrated by Michael Kelly is the main lead of JOYLAND. Devin is in college but seems to have lost his way and after a girlfriend breaks his heart he runs away to Joyland in North Carolina. What started out as a summer job becomes something more for him so he stays on during the year.
When all of the visitors and summer college help leave and the park closes down for the season Joyland takes on a whole different look and feel. Devin now becomes one of the year round staff and a member of this small community. He perceives something about the park and a girl who was murdered there. He is compelled to solve this murder as the girl’s ghost reaches out to him as she is currently trapped in the park. Was her murder a stand alone case or was it part of a series of murders?
Devin is drawn to a young boy and his divorced mom and that relationship changes his life forever. Through his working at the park during that year and his relationship with this family unit a mystery is solved in the park that played out a long ago.
JOYLAND is narrated by Devin now in his sixties so this is an excellent platform for an audiobook. Did I say that Michael Kelly the narrator was brilliant, I guess I did but he deserves it twice. JOYLAND felt different and definitely had a splash of noir from its cover art through its last word. This is a quick listen but it packs a wallop.