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Doctor Sleep: A Novel Hardcover – September 24, 2013
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: What ever happened to Danny Torrance? For the 36 years since The Shining was first published, the answer has been left to our imaginations. Finally we catch up with Dan as his creator envisions him: a flawed middle-aged man with a tragic past -- his special gift, "shining," dulled with age and alcohol. He's "Doctor Sleep" now, a hospice worker who eases the end of patients' lives. He also happens to be the only one who can help a little girl with her own special gift. This is not simply The Shining II. Not only does this story stand on its own, it manages to magnify the supernatural quality that first drew us to young Danny, expanding its mystery and its intensity in a way that might even reach beyond this book into the rest of the King-iverse... and beyond. (Easter egg alert: look for the nod to King's son Joe Hill's recent book N0S4A2.) --Robin A. Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
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.)
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Dan gets on a bus and ends up in a small town in New Hampshire. He eventually ends up with one of his typical jobs: working at a nursing home. Dan earns the nickname "Doctor Sleep" at the nursing home as he is able to ease elderly patients through their last moments. He's assisted by a cat named Azzie, who seems to know before Danny does when a patient is about to die, visiting them in their rooms to alert the nurses to call Dan.
The shining may have diminished since he got older, but it's still with Dan. I won't reveal any details; I'll just say it's not pretty. One interesting vision he has is of a top hat. He doesn't realize it belongs to Rosie the Hat, the leader of a band called the True Knot; vampire-like beings who live on "steam." Steam happens to be the essence a child's shining.
Arriving home one afternoon, Dan he finds the chalkboard in his room above the nursing home has been erased and the word "Hello" written on it. Thus begins his relationship with Abra, a young girl who possesses a very strong shining. She first communicated with Dan when she was just a baby. Abra and Dan develop a close bond; she refers to him as Uncle Dan.
Not long after Dan meets Abra he realizes she's in trouble: the True Knot wants her shining to maintain their immortality. Can Dan save Abra from the torture and death the True Knot have planned?
I have to admit, I was a bit confused about the True Knot at first and how they fit into the story. Further into the book more about them is revealed, so that helped a lot. There were times I absolutely couldn't put down my Kindle! It's quite an interesting read; I also heard a movie might be made from it; I'd definitely go see it.
What Dr. Sleep is thought, is a wonderful book that I found hard to put down. We meet the young boy, Dan, who was terrorized by his father at the Outlook Hotel, now 36 years later. Dan would probably be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress syndrome if such a diagnosis had been around at the time. Seeing your father go mad is not something that sets you up for any kind of normal life.
Dan now is an alcoholic, just like his dad was, who wanders from job to job until he finally hits bottom. Finding himself in New Hampshire and among new friends, Dan is able to quit drinking with the help of AA, and start a new life. If only things were that simple.
Dr. Sleep finds Stephen King keeping up with modern life. Dan's abilities are called the 'shining' a word King coined that we'd recognized today as a 'sixth sense'. Dan connects with a young girl with the same abilities while he goes about his work as a Hospice working, easing the dying on the road to the next world.
Aba, the young girl with even great 'shining' than Dan, has been sensed by some soul-sucking human parasites who want her 'shining' to feed their lifestyles. Dan has to relive all of his own fears to save Aba from seemingly ordinary creatures who pass for elderly diesel--pushing citizens of the road, enjoying their twilight years.
I found Dan Torrance to be one of the most flawed, compassionate and compelling characters I've ever had the pleasure of meeting between the pages of a book. He used the nearly overwhelming fear of his youth to build of life helping others through their greatest fear, stepping unto the great beyond. A true wounded hero for the modern world, Dan Torrance has become an admirable man, something he could never see.
Dr. Sleep isn't as long as some of King's books, though at 500+ pages, it is long, though it never felt too long. I found myself anxious to get back to Dan Torrance's world to find out what would happen, but in the end, maybe it was just to spend more time with such a wonderful character.
Stephen King has written over 50 books, and over a long span of time, yet I never have felt for a minute that he was every 'phoning it in'. The man clearly loves his work and always works hard at giving the reader every ounce of his talent in every book of his I've ever read, which might not be all of them, but it is the majority.
King never wastes his talent and I'm happy that even though I'm sure he doesn't have to ever work, that he keeps at his typewriter, giving pleasure to his millions of fans.