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Duma Key by Stephen King This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Duma Key by Stephen King is dark and horrific - leading us down the mysterious path of the unknown, suddenly going off-track before winding up at the same destination. Edgar Freemantle, the protagonist loses his arm in an accident which has also severely damaged his brain rendering him physically and emotionally drained. But then as if in compensation, he finds in himself an artist whose works are creepy yet mesmerizing reinventions of sunsets. ‘The gift is hungry’ he realizes because after short bursts of inspiration and strong sense of his phantom right arm, he feels starved. Thus begins the story building stronger and stronger with the passage of pages as Edgar gets more than he bargained for. He realizes that through his paintings he has the power to see the past and change the future, a gift both fascinating and burdening. Moreover as he slowly grows stronger in mind and body, he senses the presence of the supernatural – a deathly spirit who has redefined him as an artist for her own means, the least of which is to rule the world – and rebels. This does not go down well with Perse who unleashes all her power to punish Edgar for using her very own gifted talent against her and then starts a roller-coaster ride, the undeterred determination of a human against the all-reaching hands of evil.
Each scene is portrayed vividly, drawing it clearly and too disturbing for my comfort, playing out Edgar’s emotions as each day brings him closer to truth and…death. Mixed in with him are the other characters – Wireman, his telepathic neighbour in Duma Key; Elizabeth, a sweet old woman who turns out to be the answer to all of Duma Key’s secrets; Kamen and Kathi, his therapists; Pam, his ex-wife; Isle and Melinda, his daughters. His new talent gives him profound insight in his relationships but that very talent turns against him when Perse, using his pictures as a medium, hunts down his most cherished ones. While keeping in flow of the plot, Stephen King also lay bare the struggles Edgar go through to keep his relationships together and safe as first he battles with his temper and later with the anger of Perse.
A truly terrific read but as it my first Stephen King book, I have no base for comparison. But as horror story that replays itself over and over again in the dark hours and steals sleep, it does a pretty good job. The rich and developing plot also draws us into Edgar’s life and as pages pass by, it gets harder and harder to put down the book. Added to this are the witty one-liners – do the day and let the day do you; we fool ourselves so well that we could do it for a living - all from the insightful and experienced mind of Wireman. Duma Key is a recommended read for those brave-hearted who can survive the intense mental images that the book creates.

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