Stephen King’s ‘JOYLAND’ finds a home at Hard Case Crime

Hard Case Crime announced this morning that it will be publishing Stephen King‘s JOYLAND, the crime novel he’s mentioned at several recent speaking engagements, in June 2013. This will be King’s second Hard Case Crime release, following The Colorado Kid from 2005.

While Kid left some crime fans flat because of its ambiguous nature (it was, literally, a story about mysteries that have no solutions), the synopsis of JOYLAND makes it sound like a more traditional crime novel:

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, JOYLAND tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

JOYLAND is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book,” said Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime, in the publisher’s press release.  “It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time.  Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved. When I finished it, I sent a note saying, ‘Goddamn it, Steve, you made me cry.’”

The book will initially be published in paperback only – an interesting move for King, who has long been a dabbler in, and supporter of, digital publishing. King cites his love of paperback crime as the reason for the move, and considering that the entire impetus behind Hard Case Crime is to recapture the feel of those old spinner-rack crime novels, it’s a move that makes sense. The press release does not give a timetable for what I feel will be an eventual e-format release

There’s also no mention of special editions, but Hard Case Crime has been working with Subterranean Press as of late on special hardcover editions of their books, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something announced at a later date.

The press release states that the book will feature a painted cover by Robert McGinnis, the artist responsible for the Sean Connery James Bond movie posters, and Glen Orbik, who’s painted numerous covers for Hard Case Crime (including the cover of The Colorado Kid). It’s not clear if there will be two covers, or if McGinnis and Orbik are collaborating on a cover, but hopefully we’ll know soon.

The Hard Case Crime line is published by Titan Books under the leadership of creator/editor Charles Ardai.

Finally, JOYLAND is a real place. It’s an amusement park in Wichita, Kansas, abandoned since 2006. As Buzzfeed writer Gavon Laessig noted when he first posted this a year or so ago, “This is the stuff that Stephen King novels and awesome roman candle fights are born of.”

Looks like he was right.

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