Synopses & Reviews
No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through...
A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. A marriage that produced two lovely daughters suddenly ends, and Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived the injuries that could have killed him. He wants out. His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests a "geographic cure," a new life distant from the Twin Cities and the building business Edgar grew from scratch. And Kamen suggests something else.
"Edgar, does anything make you happy?"
"I used to sketch."
"Take it up again. You need hedges... hedges against the night."
Edgar leaves Minnesota for a rented house on Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico and the tidal rattling of shells on the beach call out to him, and Edgar draws. A visit from Ilse, the daughter he dotes on, starts his movement out of solitude. He meets a kindred spirit in Wireman, a man reluctant to reveal his own wounds, and then Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman whose roots are tangled deep in Duma Key. Now Edgar paints, sometimes feverishly, his exploding talent both a wonder and a weapon. Many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When Elizabeth's past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.
The tenacity of love, the perils of creativity, the mysteries of memory and the nature of the supernatural Stephen King gives us a novel as fascinating as it is gripping and terrifying.
"In bestseller King's well-crafted tale of possession and redemption, Edgar Freemantle, a successful Minnesota contractor, barely survives after the Dodge Ram he's driving collides with a 12-story crane on a job site. While Freemantle suffers the loss of an arm and a fractured skull, among other serious injuries, he makes impressive gains in rehabilitation. Personality changes that include uncontrollable rages, however, hasten the end of his 20-year-plus marriage. On his psychiatrist's advice, Freemantle decides to start anew on a remote island in the Florida Keys. To his astonishment, he becomes consumed with making art first pencil sketches, then paintings that soon earns him a devoted following. Freemantle's artwork has the power both to destroy life and to cure ailments, but soon the Lovecraftian menace that haunts Duma Key begins to assert itself and torment those dear to him. The transition from the initial psychological suspense to the supernatural may disappoint some, but even those few who haven't read King (Lisey's Story) should appreciate his ability to create fully realized characters and conjure horrors that are purely manmade." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"While not alike in plot, this book has a feel of such books as Bag of Bones and the more recent Lisey's Story and is essential for any popular fiction or King collection." Library Journal
"[M]asterfully plotted...rife with vital characters....Perhaps the book is the stuff of old grade-B movie chillers and not one of King's masterpieces, but it's grade-A writing and solid craftsmanship all the way." Booklist
"Edgar's own story in the present is more compelling than the revelations of the key's past, and the novel might have been twice as powerful if it had been cut by a third, but King fans will find it engrossing." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"However simple [King's] storytelling sounds, it exerts a relentless tidal pull....The last third of the book goes into overdrive, leading each of the people and objects strewn innocently through the story to some kind of diabolical turn." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The book is a slow burn, and the better for it....[T]here's the thrilling sense of a master determined not only to flex his muscles but develop them too." Los Angeles Times
"[A] page-turner of the most cinematic sort full of sparring dialogue, discrete scenes and vivid surface descriptions." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[F]ans hungry for the best-selling author to write something scary again can finally eat their fill....King has delivered a superb fright fest with his latest." Chicago Sun-Times
"At its core it's a horror story, but with enough emotional complications to keep you turning the pages." Boston Globe
Six months after a crane crushes his pickup truck and his body, self-made millionaire Edgar Freemantle launches into a new life. His wife asked for a divorce after he stabbed her with a plastic knife and tried to strangle her one-handed (he lost his arm and, for a time, his rational brain in the accident). He divides his wealth into four equal parts for his wife, his two daughters, and himself, and leaves Minnesota for Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily remote stretch of the Florida coast where he has rented a house. All of the land on Duma Key, and the few houses, are owned by Elizabeth Eastlake, an octogenarian whose tragic and mysterious past unfolds perilously. When Edgar begins to paint, his formidable talent seems to come from someplace outside him, and the paintings, many of them, have a power that cannot be controlled.
Soon the ghosts of Elizabeth's childhood return, and the damage of which they are capable is truly terrifying.
Like Lisey's Story, this is a novel about the tenacity of love and the perils of creativity. Its supernatural elements will have King fans reeling.
The #1 bestselling author delivers a new novel about a man whose near-fatal accident gives him access to vast powers of creativity and destruction.
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.