“I can do this”

Edgar Freemantle finds the artist within him after losing an arm in an accident and moving to Florida as a means of trying to get his life back together. Or at least to make it bearable. Memory problems, rage, divorce, he doesn’t have much going for him until that sunset across the gulf – and what might be a ship – captures him. And he captures it, among other things, on the canvasses he fills with dark and wonderful paintings.

New friends, the memorable Wireman and the old, rich and demented woman he takes care of, add to the joys of his new life. What must be hauntings, and the growing feeling that his art is growing a life of its own, add to the horrors.

Yup, it’s another King story that gradually spirals into ever more frightening and supernatural territory and topped off with an unabashedly dramatic climax with imagery seemingly far removed from the down-to-earth tone of the beginning, but not before we’ve been forced to care deeply for the characters. And not before we are treated to, among numerous other great scenes, a depiction of nervousness that is an absolute gem, as Freemantle gets ready to address a crowd of art lovers. The mood is exquisite, with an almost audible soundtrack of waves across the seashells beneath the house. The recurring “How to Draw a Picture” chapters, which initially seem independent but gradually intertwine with the main story, are one of many other causes for kudos.

In tone not unlike “Bag of Bones”, near the end reminiscent of “Black House” and containing themes from the last Dark Tower novels, “Duma Key” is still very much its own story. Partly because the setting. Partly because… well, with King each story is its own, isn’t it? That’s why we remain Constant Readers.