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Picks and Pans Review: Brushes with Death

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Duma Key
by Stephen King |

REVIEWED BY JONATHAN DURBIN

NOVEL

King’s latest is a chilling 600-page thriller about Edgar Freemantle, a successful contractor who barely survives when his truck collides with a crane. Maimed and suffering bouts of rage, he tries to stab his wife while in a fugue state; she asks for a divorce soon after. Starting over in Florida’s isolated Duma Key, Freemantle discovers a latent talent for art, but there’s a problem: His paintings have a tendency to come true, and many of his visions are disturbing. “Art is memory, Edgar,” a critic tells him. “The clearer the memory, the better the art.” Freemantle’s memories (and premonitions) are intimately related to a tragedy that took place on the island some 80 years ago and involve supernatural forces: dead little girls, a waterlogged zombie and a red-robed wraith. With its echoes of The Shining and blazingly fast pace, Duma Key will please King’s fans. It’s a horrific tale with enough character development to win readers’ sympathies before scaring them sleepless.