Stephen King, Master Of Horror, Returns To Crime With 'Joyland,' A Hardboiled Whodunit

on May 30 2012 10:35 AM
Author Stephen King signs copies of his books, as part of The New Yorker Festival
Author Stephen King signs copies of his books, as part of The New Yorker Festival Reuters

Horror novelist Stephen King, long known for his deliciously weird and terrifying stories such as Carrie, Cujo and The Shining, is coming out with a crime novel.

Joyland will be published in June 2013 by Hard Case Crime, which is known for its pulp-fiction-style reads. King in 2005 published The Colorado Kid with the company. That mystery book's plot involves an unidentified body. King's previous crime-writing experience includes the 2007 novel Blaze, published by Scribner, under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and described by Publishers Weekly as a diverting soft-boiled crime novel that reflects influences ranging from John Steinbeck to James M. Cain.

Joyland takes place in an amusement park in 1973 and tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever, a publisher statement reads.

E-book aficionados will have to hold their horses, though: The book will only be available in paperback form when it first comes out.

I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts, King said in a statement. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we're going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being.

Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai described Joyland as a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking work of fiction, which isn't exactly how one might describe a typical King novel (unless prom queens with telekinetic powers getting covered in pig blood warms your heart.)

It's a whodunit, it's a carny novel, it's a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don't get to do either because death comes for them before their time, Ardai said in a statement. Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved. When I finished it, I sent a note saying, 'Goddamn it, Steve, you made me cry.'

Don't worry, dear publisher. The King made us cry, too.

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