Edgar Freemantle used be to a contractor in Minnesota before a crane backed over his truck. Now minus an arm, with a bad leg, and still reeling from catastrophic head trauma, he arrives at Duma Key a broken man. There he begins to paint. Edgar barely sketched back in Minnesota, but here on Duma Key he’s producing sketches and paintings that make art critics take notice. However there’s something sinister on Duma Key, something that’s giving Edgar’s paintings a power that he can’t control.
It’s been a very long time since I picked up a Stephen King book, and I pulled Duma Key off my bookshelf on a whim. Though I remembered a few things from the first time I read it, there were still huge chunks of Duma Key that I’d forgotten.
First of all, it’s a long book. My paperback version has about 767 pages, and King uses that length to his advantage when it comes to tension. There’s a sense that things aren’t quite right (though completely rooted in the real world) from the very beginning. Then slowly, subtly, things start to become more out of place before reaching the point of becoming dangerous. It kept hold of my normally short attention span for the hundreds of pages.
The other point I’d like to touch upon is the use of the past tense. Edgar Freemantle tells the events of Duma Key to the reader after they’ve occurred. So he knows how the story ends, and that allows King to foreshadow certain events. It creates tension as I wonder how the heck something bad could happen when everything seemed to turn out okay.
Duma Key would be a perfect choice for a reader looking to fall into a long, methodical horror novel.
Duma Key by Stephen King is published by Pocket Books in paperback.