From The Publisher:
No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through...
A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. A marriage that produced two lovely daughters suddenly ends, and Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived the injuries that could have killed him. He wants out. His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests a "geographic cure," a new life distant from the Twin Cities and the building business Edgar grew from scratch. And Kamen suggests something else.
"Edgar, does anything make you happy?"
"I used to sketch."
"Take it up again. You need hedges... hedges against the night."
Edgar leaves Minnesota for a rented house on Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico and the tidal rattling of shells on the beach call out to him, and Edgar draws. A visit from Ilse, the daughter he dotes on, starts his movement out of solitude. He meets a kindred spirit in Wireman, a man reluctant to reveal his own wounds, and then Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman whose roots are tangled deep in Duma Key. Now Edgar paints, sometimes feverishly, his exploding talent both a wonder and a weapon. Many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When Elizabeth's past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.
The tenacity of love, the perils of creativity, the mysteries of memory and the nature of the supernatural -- Stephen King gives us a novel as fascinating as it is gripping and terrifying.
From The Critics:
In bestseller King's well-crafted tale of possession and redemption, Edgar Freemantle, a successful Minnesota contractor, barely survives after the Dodge Ram he's driving collides with a 12-story crane on a job site. While Freemantle suffers the loss of an arm and a fractured skull, among other serious injuries, he makes impressive gains in rehabilitation. Personality changes that include uncontrollable rages, however, hasten the end of his 20-year-plus marriage. On his psychiatrist's advice, Freemantle decides to start anew on a remote island in the Florida Keys. To his astonishment, he becomes consumed with making art-first pencil sketches, then paintings-that soon earns him a devoted following. Freemantle's artwork has the power both to destroy life and to cure ailments, but soon the Lovecraftian menace that haunts Duma Key begins to assert itself and torment those dear to him. The transition from the initial psychological suspense to the supernatural may disappoint some, but even those few who haven't read King (Lisey's Story) should appreciate his ability to create fully realized characters and conjure horrors that are purely manmade. - Publisher's Weekly.
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Mr. King's use of horror is not what it used to be. It may still be the impetus for his stories, but it is no longer the foremost reason they're interesting. Sure, he can still use supernatural effects to scare the wits out of you. But lately he also shows off other interests. In the wake of the 1999 roadside accident that permanently altered his consciousness, he has turned the evanescence of health and sanity into his books' most disturbing source of fear…Mr. King constructs this story with patience and rigor. - The New York Times
Construction multimillionaire Edgar Freemantle has a violent side. After he loses his right arm in a critical work accident, Pam, his wife of more than 29 years, asks him for a divorce. In a spurt of anger, Edgar uses his remaining limb to stab Pam with a plastic knife. Heeding the advice of his therapist, Edgar packs up and leaves Minnesota for some psychological rehabilitation along the Florida Gulf Coast on the undeveloped island of Duma Key. There aren't many other residents, and Edgar quickly begins to discover the hidden family mystery of the elderly Elizabeth Eastlake, who owns most of the island's houses. In his new rental home, Edgar begins to experiment with drawing and painting, sometimes in a frenzied manner, as if controlled by some outside source. As Edgar's artwork begins to bloom, the haunted mysteries of Elizabeth's past unfold. While not alike in plot, this book has a feel of such books as Bag of Bonesand the more recent Lisey's Storyand is essential for any popular fiction or King collection. - Library Journal