New Hampshire college student Devin Jones is eager to line up a job for the summer of 1973. Captivated when he comes across a help wanted ad for Joyland, a rickety amusement park on the coast of North Carolina, Devin hops on a bus and heads down for an interview. After nailing the job and spending some time hobnobbing with a couple of the carnies, he visits a local boarding house to book a room for the summer before returning north. The friendly landlady feeds him lunch and fills him in on the gruesome unsolved murder of a teenage girl which took place in the Joyland funhouse several years before. Devin is entranced by the tale, and spends the next few months seeking to solve the puzzle and expose a wily killer.
If horror isn't usually your thing, but you have still been wanting to try Stephen King, Joyland may be the book for you. Part mystery, part ghost story and part coming of age novel, this emotional whodunit will keep you guessing! King has a way of bringing on bouts of nostalgia, and Joyland made me think of my childhood visits to Seaside Park in Virginia Beach, which also had a very creepy funhouse. Back then I was too young to go inside, and to this day I wonder what unspeakable terrors lay within! If you are intrigued by the idea of carnival crime, you might also enjoy Before She dies by Mary Burton and Where There’s a Witch by Madelyn Alt.