I enjoyed reading Joyland because it covered a murder mystery, a coming of age story and a haunting in a believable way.
The cover has a strong noir and 60s tone, which made me wonder if this was going to be a breezy, lightweight piece to read through. Overall I think that estimate is accurate.
This is a series of crime books from what I can tell. I read on Wikipedia that King wrote a previous book for this series or publisher. I further read that that first story was the basis for SyFy's Haven. Guess what I'll be looking for on Netflix soon... ^_^
This book celebrates something of Americana with the location where the story is based and acts as a backdrop for the main plot: an old time amusement park in the Northeast.
I enjoyed seeing the beach through the eyes of the protagonist, I enjoyed the approach to friendships among kids in the same age group. I like stories where the bad guy gets his comeuppance in an unusual way, usually supernatural - it reminds me of an old favorite, Tales from the Crypt.
Though this is one of those stories where we don't really discover what's the background or back story of the antagonist/antihero. Which may have brought some additional dimension to his prior crimes as they build the supporting evidence on how horrible he is.
It's always fun to see a group of kids solve a mystery, and this story was the least gruesome King story I can recall. Definitely a lightweight read, and a great entry into the world of King.
PS - my own entry into the world of King was Cycle of the Werewolf and Dragon's Eye back in the very early 1990s.