Duma Key has climbed the ranks and officially entered my ‘Top 5 Kings’ List. This is quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself.
Edgar Freemantle is a successful businessman.
Living with his wife of 20+ years in Minnesota, they have raised two healthy girls and have a good life. A solid life.
This is, until the day Edgar is involved in a horrific accident on one of his construction sites.
Crushed by a piece of heavy equipment, he is lucky to be alive, although losing his right arm, injuring his hip and scrambling his brain doesn’t seem so lucky to him immediately after the fact.
His recovery is extremely difficult, putting a lot of strain on his marriage, with him and Pam ultimately separating.
His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests perhaps a change of scenery would be best for his recovery efforts, as well as a hobby. Edgar figures, why not? He has the money, what is he sticking around Minnesota for?
He rents a beach house on a remote, undeveloped piece of land on the Florida coast, Duma Key. The house, something of an artist’s retreat, is perfect for him, as he is feeling like doing some sketching himself.
Edgar begins to settle in and does indeed begin to create amazing art.
He’s unsure where some of it is coming from. He just seems to be compelled. The drawings and paintings pour out of him at an incredible rate, becoming more intricate and astounding as he progresses.
During this time, he makes a new friend while out for one of his daily beach walks. Jerome Wireman lives at the big house on Duma Key, caring for its aging lady of the house, Elizabeth Eastlake.
It is mainly through these characters that Edgar begins to learn of the dark history and lore of Duma Key and the Eastlake family.
However, Duma has a lot to say itself and that’s when things really start to get dangerous.
There is so much to love about this story. I knew absolutely zero about it going in. I don’t even think I ever read a full synopsis.
I was delighted as the story unfolded. The relationships, as is to be expected with King, were so deep and well done. The friendship between Edgar and Wireman is easily one of the best I have ever read.
In my opinion, King is great with this type of human dynamics. Further, I really appreciate how none of the relationships in this story were romantic.
It’s friendship, it’s family, and none of them are perfect, but they’re all so real and compelling.
Duma Key itself was incredibly well done. He has such a sense of place, always incorporating the idea that places remember; pieces of history live on through the lifeblood of the land and structures themselves.
You see this type of idea a lot throughout King’s works, from this one, to The Shining, Pet Sematary and everything in between.
Overall, I could wax poetic about this novel for hours. There is so much to unpack with this story. It’s extremely intricate, I would love to read it again someday and most likely will.
If you are a Constant Reader and haven’t picked this up yet, delay no more. It’s a stunner!