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Joyland (Hard Case Crime #112)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  42,042 ratings  ·  6,620 reviews
College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

A riveting story about love and loss, about growing up and growing old—an...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Hard Case Crime (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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You gotta agree - Stephen King can tell a story like few others can.

Maybe it's because he can see the world in the way most of us do not, and then grants us the privilege to experience it through his eyes for a few hundred pages - the world that can be unsettling and scary and fascinating and different in subtle little ways that change the way you view it - at least for a little while.

Add to it that Stephen King also can do nostalgia like no other (well, perhaps excluding Bradbury - and there...more
There’s a ghost that appears in the haunted house ride of an amusement park in the 1970s? Jinkies! Is this a Hard Case Crime book or an episode of Scooby-Doo?

Actually, it’s a Stephen King novel. And as we found out the last time Uncle Steve wrote a book for the HCC line, he doesn’t have a problem with blurring the line between crime and supernatural. Since HCC needs all the help it can get, I’m pretty sure nobody bitched too much when he turned this one in.

Devin Jones is a struggling college ki...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Aug 06, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by the title and cover
4 ½ stars All you King fans out there are going to read this anyway. Go for it, be a *Rube, its worth the price of admission. For anyone else who's curious about all the kerfuffle over King, maybe test the waters with this. No, it’s not his best but it’s pretty great. It’s short, leans towards paranormal rather than horror in case horror isn’t your thing, and you gotta love that hardcore pulp-fiction cover!
Tons of suspense, the mystery of beautiful women being murdered to unravel, a plot that m...more

Written for the Hard Case Crime line of paperback novels, Stephen King's Joyland may look like a duck -- with its tantalizing pulp cover making promises of sex and violence -- but it definitely doesn't quack. In fact, it's another kind of animal altogether, a coming of age tale tinged with the bittersweet tang of nostalgia and the wistful remembrances of what was and what might have been.

This isn't new territory for King. Anyone who's read him at all knows that this is his stomping ground and w...more
I am not sure what bubble I was living in that I hadn't heard about Stephen King's new book JOYLAND, so it was just luck that the day it was released, I just happened to in the book store browsing. The cover shouted out "look at meeeee!!!" I quickly grabbed a copy off the shelf, and thought to myself, "Mine, mine, mine!" When I finally got around to reading it, I was not disappointed...

 photo 80654a5e-a035-4246-8501-cbce94c39823_zpsc27f9561.jpg

This was one of those Stephen King books that made me feel like I was sitting on the front porch on a warm Summ...more
Dan Schwent
On the heels of a breakup, college student Devin Jones takes a summer job at an amusement park, an amusement park haunted by the ghost of a woman murdered on one of the rides. But what does that have to do with a woman and her dying child that Devin meets walking on a beach?

Stephen King throws the Hard Case line another bone with Joyland. Much like The Colorado Kid, it will undoubtedly draw much needed attention to the line despite not being like the other books.

Joyland is the story of Devin Jon...more
WORK CLOSE TO HEAVEN! Who would not be attracted to the idea of a summer job at JOYLAND? Maybe the carny rides and cotton candy will salve the broken heart of a twenty-one year old English major and tame the persistent negative thoughts that threaten his very existence.

College student and summer carny Devin Jones hears the story of the ghost-in-the-fun-house, the young girl slaughtered in the dark by her boyfriend, and the apparition that appears only to a few with her arms outstretched and want...more
Alex Duncan
I've been reading Stephen King since I was a child and this book reminds me of his old stuff. It's really good.
Now I know how Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt while he watched the movie Gravity.

I give Joyland three stars as far as story goes, and a one star when I take into consideration that Stephen got everything wrong about how amusement parks are run. He obviously did zero research. The most believable thing in this book is the ghost part, but I know the vast majority of you out there did not spend twenty odd years hopping around the United States working in amusement parks like I did, and therefore would no...more
Stacia (out of inspiration)
You can't save everyone.

I was tempted to add some new category shelves for this review because the ones I am using don't quite fit the type of retro-reflective, not-really-coming-of-age-but-more-of-a-late-blooming type of read which I experienced. Maybe I should add crime or murder or something, but if I said this was a crime novel, or even a murder mystery, I'd sort of only be giving you part of the picture here.

Devin (Dev) is on the path to discovering himself in the summer of 1970-whatever...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
I decided this review didn't need to be more than a quick one. I've said enough, why say more. I couldn't put Joyland down. It was a fascinating look at carny life, touching at times, and proves King can still write a wonderful story less than 1000 pages long. The noir, crime-solving aspect was almost an afterthought to this interesting tale of life working at an amusement park.

If you have fond memories of a summer job where you almost spoke a different language with your co-workers and really b...more
Watch Stephen King Talking about This book on Today show now @


'Work close to heaven!'
That was the advertisement that Mr Devin Jones one Summer reacted to, and this stand up guy at the age of twenty one was soon to become Howie the Happy Hound suited up in Hound attire doing the Hokey Pokey dance with kids at Joyland, a fun amusement park, a place where fun was lived out in its highs of rides and pitch darkness of the Horror House.
There is unf...more
If I ever were to meet Stephen King, I imagine that the conversation would go something like this:

A: Mr. King, what a pleasure it is to meet you. I’m glad to have this opportunity because I owe you an apology.

SK: An apology? We don’t even know each other. Why would you need to apologize to me?

A: I’m sorry for avoiding your books all of these years and for thinking that you were a one dimensional author who only wrote horror stories. I’m sorry that it took me so long to discover your wonderful wr...more
Rachel Whitley
Finding out there's a new Stephen King book on the horizon is like being seven years old, walking into the living room on Christmas morning, and seeing a pile of presents with your name on them as tall as the Christmas tree!

(edited after reading the novel)

What can you say about a Stephen King book that hasn't already been said?
Even so, "Joyland" moved me in a different way than most King novels. It is a coming-of-age story, much like "Stand by Me,", but it differs in that there...more
Cristina Vega
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

We don't sell furniture. We don't sell cars. We don't sell land or houses or retirement funds. We have no political agenda. We sell fun. Never forget that. [Bradley Easterbrook - owner of the Joyland amusement park]

I would have bought this book based only on the juicy cover and the blurb, regardless of the fame of the author and without checking for positive reviews in advance. The entertainment world has been good a good source of interesting reads for me in the last couple of years (The Circ...more
JoyLand is a slow burn of a book and that was alright by me. I love getting to know King’s characters and Devin Jones is no exception. He’s our young, intelligent narrator, burning with the passion and enthusiasm of youth; he is also healing a broken heart, his first, when he signs up to work at the carnival.

This is a Hard Case Crime file so one would expect a murder or two and there is, except it happened years ago and remains unsolved. While never really taking center stage through most of th...more
Hunger For Knowledge
It feels good to be back and united with Mr. Stephen King and his addictive storytelling voice. It has been awhile, too long. Let's hug.

I was not familiar with Hard Case Crime series but wanted to see how and what King would do with the label. Well, he did manage. With the style of the typical King, mixing and matching his trademarks.

And I was loving it, most of the time. Sure, the story was dragging at times and there were few things that made me think if this would be common or even possible...more
I don't know if it's my middle-age sensitivities ramping up or if King is just resonating with me more and more, but I'm becoming very emotionally involved in most of the things he's written.

Joyland is no exception, and he came very close yesterday to making me bawl my eyes out. Heck, I'll admit it: I'm an absolute wreck when it comes to
(view spoiler)...more
Barks & Bites
Joyland by Stephen King I listened to Joyland as an unabridged audio. I love carny tales and this one was a fantastic blend of carny life, murder mystery and coming of age tale all wrapped up with the quirky dialogue and turn of phrase that only Stephen King can deliver.

Set back in the 1970’s, Devin is a college student who accepts summer work at a struggling independent amusement park called Joyland. Joyland’s goal is to spread happiness and joy to children big and small with their doggie masco...more
"When it comes to the past everyone writes fiction."

In Joyland, King takes us all the way back to the early 1970s by way of a theme park located in a North Carolina small town. Seeking summer employment, college student Devin Jones joins the cast of carneys as a part-time worker. While it was meant to occupy his time between semesters, Devin doesn't realize just how important this job is and how it will change his life forever.

I may list The Stand as my favorite Stephen King novel but I'm not su...more
Sam Quixote
Every Stephen King fan has a wonderful memory of reading one of his books, the experience making you oblivious of all else as you become enveloped in the story, completely consumed with the characters, the plot, the sheer brilliance of the storytelling. For me those memories are clustered around my early teens when I first read King, reading Misery, The Shining, IT, Pet Sematary, Different Seasons, in a massive reading jag – I fell hard for King and there was nothing better than picking up one o...more
If you ever want to look at storytelling in its purest form you can't go wrong with studying Stephen King. I'm not generally a fan of his content but everything I've read has been solidly written and entertaining, with a strong narrative voice and Joyland is no exception.

I guess with this one early readers will fall in to two categories, those that equate yet another new novel from King as being like Christmas and those that are big fans of the Hard Case Crime line of paperbacks. I am quite unas...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Devin Jones’ college girlfriend has taken a summer job that will have them spending the break away from each other, so Devin decides to apply for a job at an amusement park called Joyland in North Carolina. Little does Devin know this will be the summer that changes his life forever. He will find lifelong friends, suffer his first heartbreak, discover love in many different forms and be haunted by an unsolved murder that took place on Joyland’s grounds.

If I pretend for one moment I had never hea...more
Jun 10, 2013 Victor rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone especially Constant Readers
Shelves: favorites
Joyland is my first King novel that I read right when it was released so I knew absolutely nothing about the book and that's exactly the way you should read this book.

I was a little worried that I wouldn't enjoy this book as much as King's other work like IT and The Shining because I'm not a big fan of crime stories. But Joyland is a coming of age story with a good mystery twist now that I think about it. I guess that when I thought it would be like the shows CSI or Law and Order.

Joyland start...more
T.D. Whittle
I loved this little book (it's about novella length) for it's unapologetic American nostalgia which is beautifully evoked, for its lack of cynicism -- balanced with enough saltiness to keep the sweet in check -- and for it's straightforward excellent storytelling. It is not a typical King novel, in that it is low on blood and horror and high on intrigue and the coming-of-age realisations of its main character, who seems to have a lot in common with King himself, as he presents to the public anyw...more
Jon Recluse
Noir is a flavor I savor, so when I saw that King's latest was a Hard Case Crime release, I did him a favor and bought the book.
What I got wasn't noir. It wasn't neo-noir, or noir lite. It's anti-noir.
Don't get me wrong. King is an excellent writer, with an incredible eye for the foibles of the human condition and a deft hand at creating memorable characters.
His eye for human foibles is in full effect here. There are observations scattered throughout this book that are pure gems, that will break...more
It is now marked as 'to read'. It should say 'dying to read.'
Four months later: I loved it. It is typically SK--simply written and deeply moving with regards to our 'human condition'. It leaves me hungry for more of SK's written work.
This is a review of the audio book edition of Joyland.

I had stopped reading Stephen King books sometime in the early 90's. I think that the first few books of the Dark Tower series were my last Stephen King read. I'm not sure why I have been avoiding his books - I loved his earlier stuff - The Shining, The Stand, It (clowns still creep me out), and I am enjoying Under the Dome on TV. I must say that this has been one of my favorite Stephen King books so far. It wasn't freaky scary, only just a...more
Janie Johnson
This book demonstrates exactly how diverse Stephen King is in his writing. While I was not wowed by this story, I was still sucked in rather quickly. What got me hooked on this story was most definitely the Era, the feel of the atmosphere, and also the characters. They were so rich in vitality and realism. Definitely a great coming of age story if not anything else.

I really enjoyed the setting, the premise of the story, I guess because I remember the old time carnivals and fairs, loved the sight...more
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Has anyone read every Stephen King book? 29 335 Jun 25, 2014 09:30PM  
North Carolina Go...: J is for Joyland 1 5 Jun 09, 2014 04:04PM  
Fiction Threads (...: Joyland by Stephen King 9 15 May 24, 2014 05:26AM  
Cast the movie 3 131 Apr 07, 2014 12:15PM  
South African Boo...: Joyland (Spoilers) 8 42 Feb 23, 2014 01:02AM  
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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“When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.” 147 likes
“When you're twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It's only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect that you've been looking at the map upside down, and not until you're forty are you entirely sure. By the time you're sixty, take it from me, you're fucking lost.” 146 likes
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