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ProductsMore About Doctor Sleep by Stephen KingOverviewStephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless--mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-08-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Iconic horror author King (Joyland) picks up the narrative threads of The Shining many years on. Young psychic Danny Torrance has become a middle-aged alcoholic (he now goes by “Dan”), bearing his powers and his guilt as equal burdens. A lucky break gets him a job in a hospice in a small New England town. Using his abilities to ease the passing of the terminally ill, he remains blissfully unaware of the actions of the True Knot, a caravan of human parasites crisscrossing the map in their RVs as they search for children with “the shining” (psychic abilities of the kind that Dan possesses), upon whom they feed. When a girl named Abra Stone is born with powers that dwarf Dan’s, she attracts the attention of the True Knot’s leader—the predatory Rose the Hat. Dan is forced to help Abra confront the Knot, and face his own lingering demons. Less terrifying than its famous predecessor, perhaps because of the author’s obvious affection for even the most repellant characters, King’s latest is still a gripping, taut read that provides a satisfying conclusion to Danny Torrance’s story. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agents. (Oct.)BookPage Reviews
Battling more than one kind of demon
In an author’s note at the end of Doctor Sleep, Stephen King explains how the idea of writing a sequel to The Shining—his third novel, published in 1977—was planted by a fan at a book signing back in 1998. King mulled it over for more than 10 years before sitting down to figure out how 5-year-old Danny Torrance fared after his narrow escape from the horrifyingly haunted Overlook Hotel.
As one might suspect, Danny didn’t fare very well. Aside from psychological scars, he must contend with the occasional unwelcome visit from Overlook “ghosties”—the pungent bathtub lady, Mrs. Massey, for one—in some of the novel’s more hair-raising scenes. But he also battles demons inherited from his father: namely, a severe alcohol addiction.
After hitting rock bottom, Dan winds up in Frazier, New Hampshire, and lands a job at The Helen Rivington hospice, where he uses his telepathic “shining” abilities to comfort dying patients, earning him the moniker of Doctor Sleep. He connects with a young girl named Abra, whose ability to shine is off the charts. It’s so potent, in fact, that it’s attracted the attention of a sinister tribe of drifters called The True Knot.
Members of the Knot do their best to blend in with society as they travel the highways in their RVs. The chill-inducing truth, though, is that they are quasi-immortal paranormals who subsist on the “steam” released when children who shine are tortured. The leader of the Knot is Rosie, a gorgeous seductress, who is rarely without her jaunty top hat—and who always gets what she wants. And she wants Abra.
Needless to say, expectations for a sequel to a beloved book like The Shining are high, and for the most part, Doctor Sleep delivers. Accompanying Dan through the rough years that followed his time at the Overlook—sometimes you wish you could give him a hug, other times, a sense-infusing slap—makes it all the more gratifying to come out the other side with him. Fans will surely forgive a few questionable plot turns and once again marvel at King’s seemingly boundless ability to conjure super-creepy, utterly evil villains like the members of The True Knot. Though it’s sprinkled with King’s tension-relieving, trademark humor throughout, Doctor Sleep still contains plenty of sleep-with-the-lights-on scares that’ll have you looking sideways at the occupants of the next RV you encounter.