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Duma Key

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  107,395 ratings  ·  5,774 reviews
Librarian's Note: this is an alternate cover edition - ASIN: B000UZJREU - Duma Key

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 and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of r
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 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)
Rob Sharp There are after crossovers between King books, sometimes entire characters, sometimes just their names. For example The Regulators and Desperation use…moreThere are after crossovers between King books, sometimes entire characters, sometimes just their names. For example The Regulators and Desperation used lots of the same character names but for entirely different people.(less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  107,395 ratings  ·  5,774 reviews

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Duma Key has officially climbed the ranks, dirtily throwing elbows along the way, and entered my Top 5 Kings List.

This is quite an accomplishment, as other Constant Readers know.

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, Edgar is lucky to be
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 bo ...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 rente
Jake Kern
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever been broken.
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
...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
The shells were rattling again, whispering up through the house goes the refrain of this book. Stephen uses the rattling shells over and over like the waves on the ocean, a constant reminder of something speaking to you. He also uses "I can do this" as a mantra like someone droning on in an 'OM'. We also can't forget the pain Edgar, our resident painter and artist, is in all the time. I love these little devices used to keep us in the setting, to bring the story to life. Like the ocean droning o ...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 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  ·  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
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
Brittany Lee
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky-season
I will forever hear the grinding of the shells, shells, shells when I think of Duma Key.

I loved it! From the scenery to the sci-fi/paranormal elements, it was completely unpredictable!

My favorite part was the description and scenes of the art- how art and talent unfold and feel. When in the flow of art you can lose yourself for hours on end, eating up all your energy, leaving you ravenous, even mad. That burning itch you feel deep down when the creativity muse starts to stir. The writing was exe
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
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
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 st ...more
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
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
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 rele
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'
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
Sadie Hartmann
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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. ...more
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 entra ...more
Karl Marberger
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Slow to start, but it becomes an emotional and evocative read. Definitely King’s more literary side in this writing.
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 i
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 sini ...more
Gary K Bibliophile
“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
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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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