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Duma Key

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  100,155 ratings  ·  5,538 reviews
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A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. A marriage that produced two lovely daughters sud
Hardcover, 1st Scribner hardcover ed (US/CAN), 611 pages
Published January 2008 by Scribner Book Company
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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 w…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  · 
Rating details
 ·  100,155 ratings  ·  5,538 reviews

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Kevin Kuhn
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 bo ...more
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 rente
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Duma Key has climbed the ranks, dirtily throwing elbows the entire way, and officially entered onto my 'Top 5 Kings' List.

This is quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself.

Edgar Freemantle is a successful businessman.

Living with his wife of 20+ years in Minnesota, they have raised two healthy girls and have a good life. A solid life.

That is until the day Edgar is involved in a horrific accident on one of his construction sites.

Crushed by a piece of heavy equipment, he is lucky to be aliv
Jake Kern
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever been broken.
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
...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 like The Stand, It, or The Dark Tower, it is powerful, insightful, and terrifying. Also, the fact that the book is not epic is one of its greatest strengths. One of King's self-indulgences in the past couple of decades has been his ability to use 1000 pages to w ...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 hundre ...more
Paul O'Neill
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 m
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 i
Edward Lorn
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Will Byrnes
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: stephen-king, horror
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
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Online Buddy Read with ZachReadsStuff 8/18/20 (Re-read for me) We meet every 3 chapters for discussion on Twitter.

My Re-read Quotes and Notes:

"A hurt body and mind aren't just like a dictatorship; they are a dictatorship."

Oh, how I've missed Big Pink and the colorful Duma Key sunsets. 😍

Slow build, it isn't until after chapter 3 the horror elements start to intrigue me.

The first person narration didn't bother me as much last time as it is this time.

Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 work...becaus ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 g
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 surl
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 rele
Tom Lewis
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 st ...more
Pantelis Andreou
Even though I wasn’t quite feeling it this time, in the end it was just how I remember it and the ending was satisfying with really special characters.

Of course Jerome Wireman is the MVP here with his sayings and Edgar Freemantle a very interesting individual with his own struggles.

Even when Mostly the supernatural stuff felt really powerful and creepy, the overly long character study was really too much at times.

This story is really worth it but after much consideration this is not amongst my f
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 abo
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. I'
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
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.
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 shou
Ashley Daviau
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 entra ...more
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 i
Cody | CodysBookshelf
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 s
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one was a surprise for me. I've read Sleeping Beauties recently and I wasn't a fan and for some reason I expected Duma to be boring. Well... It's one of the best books I read this year so far. It's charming and spooky and touching. It's King at his best.
His character development in Duma is unparalleled. I feel like I really know all of them well, Edgar and Wireman most of all.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. It is truly amazing.
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 con
Gary K Bibliophile
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
“I can do this” - A recurring inspirational thought of Edgar Freemantle (no relation to Abigail... or are they? 🤔 ) during his long recovery from a near fatal worksite accident. The accident cost him his arm and badly injured his legs, caused lingering memory and speech issues, and ultimately broke up his marriage. It also provided him with financial means to escape from it all and relocate to Duma Key FL to aid in his rehabilitation.

Part of his recovery included a reconnection with his persona
Apr 28, 2008 rated it liked it
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 e
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 sini ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 Bi
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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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