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Duma Key

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  95,906 ratings  ·  5,243 reviews
Don’t miss the thrilling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King about what happens when the barrier between our world and that of the supernatural is breached...

No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through...

A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle’s right arm
...more
Kindle Edition, 801 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Scribner
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Lynn Egger Reading it now..half-way through and I'm truly enjoying it. Holds my interest and as others have said - this book has very likeable characters and I…moreReading it now..half-way through and I'm truly enjoying it. Holds my interest and as others have said - this book has very likeable characters and I want them all to be happy and thrive--BUT this is a Stephen King book and I'm a huge fan who has lost many "friends" to his writing so I'm not real optimistic about all of them surviving and thriving! (less)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  95,906 ratings  ·  5,243 reviews


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Kevin Kuhn
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It’s funny, I read King’s Florida beach novel during a brutally cold Minnesota winter storm. Thirty below, not windchill, just straight up bone chilling cold. We also got plenty of accompanying snow. In this 600-page beast, King still transported me to burning sandy beaches and dangerous tropical storms. It begins with a construction-site accident, a man horrifically injured and the corresponding confusion, loss, pain, and brutal recovery that accompanies such an accident. King published this ...more
Jake Kern
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever been broken.
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Every single page is like a lover touching my cheek...sometimes it's a caress, and sometimes it's a slap...but every page, every word, has a profound impact upon me. I'm in the middle of the book, and I'm terrified to finish it, but I can't stop turning the pages...

...Just finished it. I heard one reviewer state that it was the best book King had ever written. While reviewers have short memories and liberal use of hyperbole, I must admit that this was one of his best he's written. While not epic
...more
Alex Telander
DUMA KEY BY STEPHEN KING: Most Stephen King fans will admit that the last couple of novels by the international bestselling author, while selling well, have been somewhat lacking coming from the renowned horror writer; one might even go so far as to use the term “mediocre,” and don’t get me started on Cell. Thankfully, with the arrival of Duma Key, the slate has been wiped clean and the master of horror is back! King’s first novel set in his alternate home of Florida weighs in at over six ...more
Paul O'Neill
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still every bit as good as I remembered.

It was red....

This must be King's most underrated book, and I've no idea why. Maybe because it was released in 2008 and maybe horror wasn't as cool then and it kind of slipped through the cracks. Feels weird calling a book with 70k ratings underrated, but there you go. I've never heard anyone say that Duma Key was up there with the best of King's works. After finishing this I certainly will be!

If this was released earlier in King's career, would it be
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Kemper
And this is why adults shouldn’t play with dolls…

Edgar Freemantle used to be the quintessential American success story. He was a self-made millionaire who built a thriving construction business, and he had a long and happy marriage which produced two daughters. However, Edgar’s good luck ran out one day when he had a brutal run in with a crane at a job site that cost him an arm, screwed up a leg, and cracked his skull. The brain trauma left his eggs slightly scrambled and made him prone to fly
...more
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"We can't imagine time running out, and God punishes us for what we can't imagine."

Duma Key focuses on the story of Edgar Fremantle, a self-made millionaire who becomes injured at work after a crane crushes his pickup truck. Following the loss of his arm, amidst other injuries, Edgar becomes a little too much for his wife to handle and she asks for a divorce. He leaves behind his wife and two daughters and heads off to Duma Key, a stunning but eerily quiet stretch of the coast where he has
...more
Will Byrnes
In Duma Key Stephen King taps into extreme mid-life crisis and although he stirs it in a bubbling vat of macabre, the core, non-magical, element remains. What is one to do with one’s life? Edgar Freemantle struggles with redefining himself after having faced near-death trauma, having lost not only his right arm but some of his mental function, and, oh yes, his marriage. Have a nice day. Luckily for him, and conveniently for the author, he has been a very successful contractor and, having socked ...more
Edward Lorn
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Wrap Pet Sematary in a Bag of Bones and you'll have Duma Key. Revenants, creepy dolls, paintings that fix the broken, and enough tragedy to fill a swimming pool with tears is what you'll find within these pages. The scene at the end with [name deleted because spoilers] is one of the creepiest heart-rending scenes I've read. The descriptions are so well written. It truly is masterful. The sand coming off her fingers... Well, I guess you had to have been there. Those of you who have read Duma Key ...more
Howard
Awful. Cloyingly sentimental, forcedly folksy, sloppily written. At first I was hoping that he was doing this on purpose, using the unrealistic dialogue and the instant bonding of the characters to turn it around on us, make us look back and see it as creepy eventually, but it's just bad writing. The characters don't act like people, they act like characters in a Stephen King novel. When they develop psychic powers, nobody even blinks, and everybody immediately understands how they ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
How jacked up is it that I'm going to say I find Stephen King comforting?

Yep. Pretty jacked up.

Then again, I've been reading him since I was a pre-teen (or tween, I think that's the proper term for it these days). Anyway, when the R.L Stine and Christopher Pike seemed a bit immature, (no offense to those authors, I LOVED them as a kid!) I turned to King.

He's what I know.

(insert joke about my psychological issues here)

After all these years, he still manages to weave a fantastic tale.


So, to not
...more
Ken
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For such a great King novel it’s actually quite baffling that this one isn’t mentioned alongside his best works, it certainly has a forgotten modern classic feel to it!

It’s probably here where I should confess that it wasn’t until the first couple of chapters that I’d soon realised that I’d read this before, it would have been around the time that the paperback it was first published 10 years ago.
My theory is with no movie adaptation it’s easily slipped peoples minds, with a King resurgence
...more
Mindi
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“Our memories have voices, too. Often sad ones that clamor like raised arms in the dark.”

The first time I read Duma Key in 2014 I spent a lot of time kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. I had actually received it as a gift for my birthday the year it was published, and it just ended up sitting on my shelf for a long time. I didn't even buy Under the Dome and 11/22/63 when they were originally released, and that's saying something because for years I had never missed a Stephen King
...more
Becky
I've read a lot of King. I read a lot of King, and this is among his best. I know some people feel that after his accident he lost his touch for the creeping horror that made him famous, but I assure you that is not the case. This book proves that King not only still has it, he's still improving.

I listened to this on audio, and I'm sure that lent something to the suspense, but I'm very glad that I did. (I downloaded from Audible, and each part was preceded by music that is creepy on its own.
...more
Jeff
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeff by: Mara
Shelves: scary-sh-t
This one gave off a kind of Bag of Bones vibe – swell characterizations; engaging enough storyline; clunky foreshadowing; decent, but not thrilling, horror aspects; some puzzling plot turns and yet still another disappointing dispatching of a villain and what’s with the Slipknot hate, King?

I’m probably in the minority, but I like a lot of King’s more “sober” works and this one oddly makes a decent tandem read with Bag of Bones and, of all things, Maugham’s The Moon and the Sixpence.

Cuz it’s
...more
Tom Lewis
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m mixed on this book. I’m a big King fan, and love it when he does spooky; and for the most part, that’s where this book takes it. It has some of his best character work, and his descriptions of this haunted little island off the Florida Keys really make it come to life. What annoyed me was the page after page after page of info dumps as the characters try to unravel the dark mysteries behind this island. And I’m still baffled at how they reached some of their conclusions. But the real show ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
DUMA KEY had so much promise.... GREAT story in the beginning. Then when Edgar Freemantle and Wireman got together, the direction and dialogue just became silly. I don't know of any 2 grown men who converse in the same way as Edgar and Wireman did. It was forced and overly trite. That was the beginning of the end for me. I was also disgusted with how King wraps everything up in Florida. Hard to buy into it all. DUMA KEY was ultimately a big disappointment.
Ashley Daviau
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s been years since I first read this book and I loved it even more this time around which I didn’t think was possible. In fact, I consider it one of my top 5 King books now! I think it’s one of those books that gets better every time you read it, you catch a little something new each time. This time around it struck me so profoundly, I felt like I was sucked into the book and I was living the story alongside Edgar and Wireman. It was such a beautiful and yet terrifying feeling, being so ...more
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
It's been years since I first read Duma Key. While I loved it the first time around and gave a five star rating, it's possible I loved it more the second time around.
I think just knowing the story better and where it was going, helped clarify some of the more supernatural aspects of certain events early on.
Lately, (on bookstagram) I've seen people rating a King book lower *because* he had a supernatural element to an otherwise, genre specific story--example: The Outsider. People thought it
...more
Kasia
Ahh... what can I say about Duma Key, other than it being an extraordinary experience, a literary breath of fresh air, a masterpiece of color and texture without any actual paint being used. I guess there are some people out there think it's boring or long but I instantaneously felt a bond with the book and I can say that I absolutely loved it! The writing itself was so colorful and interesting that I enjoyed each and every page, there was in no rush to get to the ending by any means, but I did ...more
Wayne Barrett

I'll have to mirror fellow reviewer and friend, Edward Lorn on this one because, as he pointed out, this novel did strike me as a mix between Pet Cemetery and Bag of Bones.

King did a great job with the character development and plot line. Unlike Bag of Bones, which felt a little weak for me, Duma Key was laid down with great depth and power. If I had a complaint, and what keeps me from giving it 5 stars, is that after following this deep drama for so long, the climax seemed a little silly in
...more
Lisa
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Just about anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bri | bribooks
2019 Update:
A novel that grows in my estimation upon each reread, it has now earned a spot in my top 3. Hell, it could be my favorite King novel. SK writes about the creative process with clarity, and his setting of a ghost-ridden, Gothic-esque island in south Florida is one of his most invigorating and unsettling. Pair that with outright poetic prose and some of this author’s scariest sequences, and you have a bonafide winner.

Read for ‘600+ pages’ in Halloween Bingo.

Original Review:

What can I
...more
Gary
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classic-lit
This book is a return to King in his classic style. The writing was tight and concise, umlike some of his 90s material which tended to ramble a bit. He claims to be writing more slowly as he ages, and tyhis is working in his favor. This book capitalizes on the author’s ability to create likable characters that we care about, foreshadow tragedy, and establish settings that can drive the story when the plot lags.
The story focuses on Edgar, a protagonist that has suffered a tragedy and goes to an
...more
Imogen
Apr 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More literal magical negros than we usually mean when we use that phrase (although this one shows teaches white people things too), more classic-rock-oriented tragic heroes than you see in Sophocles, and arche/stereotypes so predictable and effective that you're totally sucked in even as you're laughing at the dialogue and the plot twists: you know when you are reading Stephen King.

I'm glad I started reading him when I was little and I liked everything, instead of now that I am old and I hate
...more
Emma
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounded up. I’m really surprised this isn’t more talked about because it’s really very good. As with any King book you care to pick up, you feel like you know the main characters because he takes the time to go to town on the small details, the thought processes, the motivations, wants, desires and needs. The setting here is a little different-not a small town, rather a small island. It is an atmospheric and creepy read in places. The positive vibes on setting up on the island soon turn ...more
Rafael
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This particular Stephen king book is a poem to art, being a designer and art enthusiast this book hit me on the spot.

Wealthy construction contractor Edgar Freemantle recently a survivor of a crane accident that left him with a bad hip, only one arm, a terrible memory and very bad case of anger, that led to a divorce with his wife, has decided he's had enough and wishes to start a new life away from what he knows in to a new environment, that is when he finds Duma Key, a beach paradise with a
...more
Paul
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Too long and completely muddled. I will admit that King is a good tale teller and the book reads easily, but this is a novella turned into 700 pages!! A mixture of rehashed folklore and Greek myth with a strong dose of Pirates of the Caribbean. Some of it is laugh out loud funny, but not purposely.
Edgar Freemantle has an accident, loses an arm and acquires a brain injury. His marraige falls apart and being wealthy moves alone to a Florida Key to paint. Something has awoken and drawn him there;
...more
Adam Light
I haven't been writing reviews of my King rereads so much lately, not for any particular reason other than perhaps sheer laziness, but this one demands that I write something.
This is a mammoth tome, but it reads like sands slipping through slightly spread fingers. Is it King's magnum opus? I can't be sure, but it is such a heartbreaking, eerie, and humorous read, combining all of the man's best qualities and mixing them into a cyclone of white-knuckle suspense. If you need a place to begin
...more
Jon
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t far into reading Duma Key before it dawned on me that there was, quite possibly, something very important about this novel. It’s no secret that King was almost killed in a car accident in 1999 and, for quite some time afterwards, there was doubt whether he would ever recover enough to be able to write again. The author himself even gave voice to the idea that he was considering the very distinct possibility of retirement, because of the constant pain he’d suffered from since the event. ...more
Alan
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It must be nice to be Stephen King. Everything you write is automatically a bestseller -- no editor or publisher will ever tell you "no." But the flipside of such omnipotence is also evident in this book.
A building contractor from Minnesota has an awful accident in which he loses one arm and also suffers brain injuries from which he slowly recovers. His wife leaves him so he moves to an almost deserted Florida key and begins painting strange works of genius. It turns out that evil has awakened
...more
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Bookworm Buddies: Duma Key by Stephen King - started! 58 17 Feb 17, 2019 06:24AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Duma Key by Stephen King - Starting July 15th, 2018 6 14 Jul 21, 2018 12:47PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong author 7 31 Nov 24, 2015 11:37AM  
Is SK back? 58 401 Nov 23, 2014 12:31PM  
Maple/LexServ Boo...: Duma Key - What did you think? 2 16 Aug 06, 2014 11:46AM  

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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, ...more
“Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won't carry a quitter. ” 360 likes
“If I kept saying it; if I kept reaching out. My accident really taught me just one thing: the only way to go on is to go on. To say 'I can do this' even when you know you can't.” 297 likes
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