JOYLAND is the kind of Stephen King novel I most revere. In many ways it's more literary than commercial and more moving than frightening.
Let me say immediately that the story here is one of King's best, filled with all the King thrills we demand. Broken-hearted young college man takes a summer job with an amusement park called Joyland, a park that comes complete with an unsolved murder and a dead woman's ghost, or so it is claimed. These elements drive the plot and do so ably; I actually had a nightmare because of the book, something that rarely happens to me.
But what makes the book so rich and authentic and classic is the personal story of Devin Jones as he ruminates about his lost love--there are passages that convey pure pain; the melancholy is almost beautifully oppressive in places---and tries to prepare himself for the years ahead.
Nobody writes about the young American male than Stephen King and JOYLAND is one of his masterpieces.
BTW The topcover is the one Hard Case went with. I ran across the rejected one an artist's website.