The following is a brief summary that describes excerpts in Rod Marquardt's "Keller's Den" and Stephen King's "Duma Key" .
Both novels take place along the Florida coast and begin around Halloween. Also, an island is instrumental in each novel regarding the genesis for an ancient curse. The main characters are industry professionals, one a stock broker, the other a construction owner. Both main characters gain a mysterious and rapid ability to paint beyond their means. An ancient evil curse influences both main characters while they paint and is the source of their newly found talent. In each novel, a secondary character suggests that this talent should be taken to the next level, such as a gallery or art museum. The unknown force also determines what will be painted. The pen or brush takes control in one of the excerpts in each novel. One of the paintings in each novel is almost identical. The paintings in each novel were to be confiscated and destroyed by burning due to evil influences. Both main characters set out to destroy the curse and are helped along the way by secondary characters. Both main characters contemplate suicide. Mysterious old ladies that live next door are prominent in each novel and have several similarities such as dying by the hand of the curse. A female representing evil in each novel wears either a black sari or a red cloak. Both main characters use a psychiatrist to help them cope with tragedy. Both main characters experience an unearthly “intruder” and use the word “cavalry” when being rescued from the “intruder.” Living skeletons from the ocean wear tattered clothing and have weapons. An old wooden ladder is used when descending down to the skeletons. A ghost ship with torn masts is used in each novel. A character related to the main character in each novel drowns in a bath tub induced by the hand of the evil curse and then comes back to be relevant in the story’s end. Saltwater is found on the floor in each house. A ghost in each novel writes to the main character on a blank canvas. One main character experiences strobe-like visions, nightmares in his head and pictures that flashed in his mind like a slide presentation, while the other main character experiences a vision of a nightmare that flickered like an old movie. Both main characters fall from the chair in front of the easel and reference a neck injury. Both novels have the same graffiti on a wall – a heart shape with initials. Both novels use telepathic inferences. A character in each novel, intent on suicide to save lives of others, speeds down the highway (one is on highway 13, the other highway 23). Both main characters have a similar dream regarding sharp teeth, thundering and similar times on the digital clock (one time is 2:19, the other 3:19). In a recurring dream, both main characters shout out to a female. A similar imposing figure induced by the curse changes about with the wind in both novels and is referenced as being “hypnotic” in each novel. Near each novel’s end, both main characters see images of past faces either on a canvas, or a wall. A vampire reference that is compared to the curse is similar in each novel.