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.Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
Remember Danny Torrance, the child protagonist of The Shining? Now he's middle-aged Dan Torrance, settled in a quiet New Hampshire town and working at a nursing home where his remaining "shining" power helps comfort the dying. He's also befriended a 12-year-old named Abra Stone with the shiniest "shining" imaginable and must protect her from The True Knot, quasi-immortals who look like old fuddy-duddies in polyester but in fact live off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are tortured to death. The 1.5 million-copy first printing says it all.[Page 59]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Since The Shining was published in 1977, it has become an American classic, thanks not only to the book itself but also to the Stanley Kubrick film that it spawned, and King has become one of the most successful horror writers of all time. His latest novel, a highly anticipated sequel to The Shining, marks a return to form for the old master, who reunites loyal readers with Danny (now Dan) Torrance. Decades after the events at the Overlook Hotel, Dan is wrestling with his own demons and putting his psychic abilities to work at a series of nursing homes where he provides comfort to dying patients. When he finally finds a home--and sobriety--in a cozy New Hampshire town, Dan meets a young girl with a shining even stronger than his own. Together, he and young Abra Stone must take on a tribe of people called the True Knot, whose innocent, RV-driving appearance belies their true nature. VERDICT This is vintage King, a classic good-vs.-evil tale that will keep readers turning the pages late into the night. His many fans won't be disappointed. [Previewed in "A World of New Titles," LJ 7/13; see Prepub Alert, 3/4/13.]--Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins[Page 65]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC