I finished Stephen King's latest novel, Duma Key, today.
I'm sure there will be readers who disagree with my opinion, but I believe it to be one of the best he's ever written. I would rank it along with Salem's Lot, The Shining, and The Stand. At least in the top five of all of his novels/short story collections.
One disclaimer that I will offer is that I place The Dark Tower series in an entirely different category. The Dark Tower is an epic story that takes 7 books to complete. It stands on its own as, in my opinion, one of the greatest works of fiction ever written. But I'm biased, I guess, because I've been a King fan ever since I read the three previously mentioned novels back in college.
In Duma Key, we meet Edgar Freemantle, a man who lost an arm and nearly his life in a construction accident (perhaps King is once again transferring his near-death experience, but so what??). He also sustained some head injuries, which affected his mental state, which ultimately caused his marriage to fail.
At the suggestion of his psychiatrist, he rents a house in the Florida Keys for a year, to get away and to do something that takes his mind off of things...drawing.
So he draws. And paints.
I will not "spoil" here. But I felt like I knew Edgar Freemantle intimately by the end of this book. His emotions, his psyche, all of his motivations. The friendship that he has with a guy named Wireman is really special, as is the relationship he has with his, um...I'm not sure what to call him, actually, but sort of a "valet" I guess. Jack. Jack drives him around and is a bit of a gofer for him.
The climactic portion of the story pits all three of them against the ubiquitous evil that King always manages to dredge up.
It even made me cry a couple of times. A little. Not much.
The Dark Tower did that, too.
If you like Stephen King, you will love Duma Key.