Wrap Pet Sematary in a Bag of Bones and you’ll have Duma Key. Revenants, creepy dolls, paintings that fix the broken, and enough tragedy to fill a swimming pool with tears is what you’ll find within these pages. The scene at the end with [name deleted because spoilers] is one of the creepiest heart-rending scenes I’ve read. The descriptions are so well written. It truly is masterful. The sand coming off her fingers… Well, I guess you had to have been there. Those of you who have read Duma Key will know of what I speak.
This book also has one of my favorite secondary characters ever to show up in a King novel. Wireman beats out Trashcan Man for the top honor. I like Wireman. He’s a cool dude. Moreover, I could read banter between him and Edgar all day and never get bored of it.
If you are one of those who have not felt the draw to read this book, or have never been able to finish it, I really wish you would. The level of imagination on display here is impressive. King wrote over 50 novels before this one. Keep that in mind. To still give this much of a shit about his craft after writing that many doorstops… Dude, it’s just mindboggling.
Finally, there are far too many tie-ins to the Dark Tower universe to name here (especially where the number 19 is concerned) but I feel the most important are the obvious ones. Roses pop up in a lot of Edgars paintings, and Edgar shares the same gift as Patrick, The Artist from the final book. At one point in the book, Edgar thinks of life as a wheel, and there’s mention of his daughter hearing a woman talking inside a sink drain.
For those of you hardcore Tower junkies, you can go to King’s website (link below) and check out all the times 19 shows up, or you can read the bit I copied and pasted below. Your choice.
Submitted by Zack: “There are several references to the Dark Tower Series. Edgar refers to himself as a “gunslinger” (pg 433). One of Edgar’s major works is “Roses Grow from Shells.” His ex-wife tattoos a rose onto her breast. Roses are also mentioned several times in the novel. The main antagonist wears a red robe similar to that of the Crimson King. His daughter’s name ( Ilse Marie Freemantle) has 19 letters in it. Edgar’s E-mail is EFree19 and his real estate agent’s is SmithReality9505, both of which have numbers the amount to 19, which constant readers will recognize. Along with these other “19’s”, the first big storm (or “Alice”) occurred in 1927, which when added together makes 19; and the flight he takes to Florida is flight 559. Pam’s room number is 847 which added together is 19. Edgar’s artistic abilities seem to parallel those of Patrick Danville, especially the ability to remove things from reality by drawing and then erasing them. Nan Melda loses two fingers on her right hand on a beach, which also happens to Roland Deschain at the beginning of the Drawing of the Three. Charley the Lawn Jockey (pg 568) shares the name of Charlie the Choo Choo, and the root “char,” meaning death, also echoed when Edgar thinks about having people sit in the “char” when he has to think sideways to mean “chair”. In one passage of the book, Edgar compares life to a wheel, in the sense of always coming around to the beginning, one of the main philosophies of the Dark Tower. The idea that drawings or paintings can change reality is another recurring motive.”
In summation: This book is packed with the magic of storytelling. It always surprises me when I hear King fans saying the didn’t like this one. I honestly believe it is one of his best.
Final Judgement: Art.