Edgar Freemantle was a contractor in Minnesota until one day his life changes forever. His truck is hit by crane and the whole right side of his body was damaged. He lost his right arm and had a fractured hip and it even affected his brain in that he couldn’t think of appropriate words for example calling a “chair” a “chum”. Edgar also became violent toward his wife Pam trying to strangle and stab her. This, of course, led to a divorce. Edgar needed to start a new life so he moved down to Florida to a little island on the west coast near Tampa called Duma Key (made up for the book). He moves in to a rental house on the beach that he takes to calling “Big Pink”. Trying to wean himself off the painkillers and build up strength he starts taking longer and longer walks on the beach until he winds up several houses down at a home called “El Palacio”. There a man named Wireman takes care of an elderly lady Elizabeth Eastlake who owns all of the properties on this stretch of beach. Elizabeth has Alzheimer’s and her memory is quickly fading, but she also holds on to a secret and it is something Edgar is beginning to find out on his own. On arriving to Duma Key, Edgar found out that he could paint. His stump where his arm should be starts to tingle and then itch out of control and the only way to satisfy it is to paint in a frenzy. What he ends up with turns out to be really good. He does these surreal paintings with a girl or a shell or something else in front of the gulf with a tattered old ship moving ever nearer. Edgar even finds out that Salvador Dali at one time rented “Big Pink”.
But he finds out something else with these paintings of his. They have special powers. Sometimes they give him ESP where he can see a friend of his back in Minnesota is on the verge of committing suicide. He calls his ex-wife to see if she can help put a stop to it. Wireman, at one point, tried to kill himself and got a bullet lodged in his head. Edgar is able to remove it by painting a portrait of Wireman. Finally, Edgar is able to kill a killer who abducts young girls at the mall in Tampa just through his paintings. The paintings and especially the ship are all a part of this secret of Elizabeth’s and without revealing much more everything comes clear near the end.
As a Stephen King fan, I would have to say I enjoyed this as much as I do his others. Besides a few supernatural elements, it doesn’t really get creepy or horrifying until near the end. King has a knack for exploring characters and the two main characters Edgar and Wireman are pretty fun in this one. With that said I would probably give the book about 3 stars. I don’t think it will be as memorable as other King books I’ve read, but it was still a fun read.