Joyland - Stephen King Noir is a flavor I savor, so when I saw that King's latest was a Hard Case Crime release, I did him a favor and bought the book.
What I got wasn't noir. It wasn't neo-noir, or noir lite. It's anti-noir.
Don't get me wrong. King is an excellent writer, with an incredible eye for the foibles of the human condition and a deft hand at creating memorable characters.
His eye for human foibles is in full effect here. There are observations scattered throughout this book that are pure gems, that will break your heart and make you think.
His characters, however, are a parade of stereotypes, most notably Harry Erskine in drag as the fortuneteller and the old carny owner with the heart of gold.
Hard Case Crime has some of the best old and new talent writing noir for them, and King is not one of them. Personally, I don't think he even bothered trying. Yes, I said it. King can't write noir, he wouldn't know noir if it sat on his face and wiggled.