King’s new thriller is set in North Carolina in 1973. Joyland has a horror house and a torture chamber, but it’s not exactly a horror novel. The park’s fun house may be haunted by a ghost — which may explain the dead bodies — but the book isn’t exactly a supernatural thriller, either. Instead, the book combines elements of crime, horror and the supernatural. The main character is a college student who aspires to write for The New Yorker. After his heart is broken by his girlfriend, he wants to get away from New England and takes a job in North Carolina, at the Joyland amusement park, where he enters a different world.
The book will be published on June 4th by Hard Case Crime. “Joyland is a throwback to the books that I loved as a kid,” King says. “We lived way out in the country, and my mother would go once a week shopping, and she would go to the Red & White or the A&P to pick up her groceries. And I would immediately beat feet to Robert’s Drugstore, where they had a couple of those turn-around wire racks with the hard-boiled paperbacks that usually featured a girl with scanty clothing on the front. … The teaser line that I always loved the most was for a novel called Liz where it said, ‘She hit the gutter and bounced lower.’ … I loved that, and the one on the front of Joyland says” — he lowers his voice — ” ‘Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?’ “