All hail the new King

Early on in his career, Stephen King became a brand name, a corporate author, a guaranteed best-seller with allegedly frightening horror at the center of his, to me, overly plotted works. In the beginning, King was a clumsy writer. "Carrie," a better movie by DePalma than a novel by King, was huge, and King was on his way. "The Shining," etc., followed.

But a funny thing happened over the years. King worked on his writing style and his subject matter and lo and behold about a decade ago a story of his concerning 1930s' outlaw John Dillinger made it into "The New Yorker," the serious American fiction writer's literary church.

King had become a real writer, not a genre hack with a huge following of lipreaders who also watch Bill O'Reilly.

"On Writing" is a very helpful tome. "The Green Mile" and "The Shawshank Redemption" read as well as they filmed. The old King is dead, long live the more literary, but still plot conscious Mr. King.

The latest of the new improved King novels is "Duma Key," the story of a man named Edgar Freemantle, who loses his arm and has his memory scrambled in a horrific construction site accident.

Edgar's wife bails from a once happy marriage and Freemantle, at the advice of his therapist, tries a geographical cure. He moves from the oft-frozen wastes of Minnesota to a rental on Duma Key, according to the jacket copy " a stunningly beautiful, eerily undeveloped splinter on the Florida Coast."

From there things get very interesting. The old horror King, and the new psychologically sound King combine for a thrilling plot-driven ride, some scares, believable characters and a satisfying ending.

If you snobbily sneer at the name Stephen King, thinking Red State hero, you're out of touch. If you're already a fan of the late-1990s developing literary artist, you're in luck because "Duma Key" runs 600 pages. Better get going.

[[In-content Ad]]