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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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Doc is all grown up now and fighting new villains and keeping the old ones at bay. He's not known as "Doc" in this novel, but we can still see him in the adult, but with adult problems. Problems that include the demon alcoholism that his own father fought and lost his life to. We are introduced to a new child heroine in this story. I'm not real sure I felt the same about her as I did the child that Doc was in the earlier story. Perhaps because she is so much stronger. Oops, was that a spoiler? No, not really. Hopefully, just a hook.
I almost feel like King is setting us up for another story. I hope so. I know I want to know where life and the Shining takes these characters.
Basically, Danny is grown up, battling alcoholism thanks to AA, and working in a hospice. The title comes from his ability to help patients pass on when they are ready to go. When a young girl named Abra, who also has the shining, begins speaking to him inside his head, a unique friendship surfaces. And just in time too! Abra is in danger. A group of vampire-like RV folk, calling themselves the True Knot, who feed off "the steam" of children who have the shining are hunting her.
Though this book, ringing in at just over 500 pages, isn't as big as some of his other lofty tomes, it certainly feels like that when you read it. Having read almost every King book, being a fan since high school, I remember the days when his books really did terrify me and keep me thinking about them at night.
Today King focuses more on the individual and their inner demons than he does his villains, hence all the talk here about AA with Danny which goes on and on. Rose The Hat, the leader of the True Knot, and her gang of ruffians just wasn't scary to me. And at times when you think King is going to take you to the edge, he leaves you hanging and having to imagine the horrific details on your own. Sometimes not having the details spoon fed to you is equally terrifying, but not here. So, overall, those wanting to read something from the "King of Horror" will be disappointed.
Notice I'm still giving this book 4 stars. The lack of the scary elements which put King on the map doesn't make this a bad book. King can still write good dialogue and create good characterization. I didn't want to put the book down, and I was quite satisfied after having finished it, already wondering what he's working on next. There's a good story here with likable characters that you are sure to remember. But those expecting to be kept awake at night because you are scared, let's just say you'll just be awake for just wanting to find out what happens next. Otherwise, it's okay to turn the lights off and go to sleep.
Most recent customer reviews
In this sequel to the “Shining” we see booze hound and drifter Dan Torrance finally settling down in a small town in New Hampshire, going to AA meetings...Read more