My reviewrating: 4 of 5 stars
I have a friend who pines for the good old days when Steven King "had an editor that edited." By which she means his older books were tighter paced and more disciplined.
Well, there are very few editors that edit any more. Editing, as it used to be, was dropped long ago as a cost cutting measure.
And this is not a fast paced book. Yet, I do not think it's undisciplined. I get the feeling that King knows how to keep readers of big books happy. It doesn't rush, it doesn't want to. It keeps you interested with whacky characters and relentless foreshadowing.
It's a spooky book. Probably best read on the beach in a storm. The horror element sneaks in slowly as you watch Edgar Freemantle try to reinvent himself as a painter after a terrible construction accident and the breakup of his marriage. He finds a place on the Beach, at Duma Key. A place where *bad things* happened before.
But the real fun is in how Edgar makes new friends. Wireman, the ex-lawyer and Elizabeth, the semi-lucid heiress whose past is entwined with the *bad things* that have gone before.
It's a matter of taste, but I think most readers will find the horror element mild. Not a lot of gross-out scenes, and some of the worst violence occurs "off screen." So spooky, not horrific. At least to my jaded tastes.
Here's a description of Edgar's psychologist:
"He was a very tall, very black black man, with features carved so large they seemed unreal. His great staring eyeballs, ship's figurehead of a nose, and totemic lips were awe-inspiring. Xander Kaman looked like a minor god in a suit from the Men's Warehouse. He also looked like a prime candidate for a fatal heart attack or stroke before his fiftieth birthday."
My major complaint was that in the last quarter of the book, where all hell breaks loose, while it has a few surprises, has been so well foreshadowed, it unrolls pretty much as you expect. But by then, you are so caught up in the characters, you can't put the book down.
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