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Doctor Sleep Paperback – June 10, 2014
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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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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.) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In many novels, including King's, the protagonist is mistreated and put through the wringer. For a book to be interesting, characters have to be put in danger and suffer.
King even discusses this in Bag of Bones. Often times, characters are killed off to ratchet up the drama.
It happens here in Dr. Sleep. The characters are put in harm's way, but you get the idea that King is a little soft in this book. Trouble is quickly resolved for the good guys. There is risk, but they always get out of it without much damage.
The antagonist, however, gets the real business. A group of vampire like people roam the country, lead by a beautiful female leader. They are constantly losing people and suffering set backs. Plans go awry, key people are killed, and the entire group is in jeopardy.
Maybe King was going for this twist. Or maybe he let the good guys of the hook, and then to increase drama and make the book exciting, he tortured the bad guys instead.
The plot, setting, and the especially the characters are interesting. You do not feel short changed--this is a great read.
But you do sense that King let the good guys off easy, which made the ending less intense.
You WILL be entertained. You WILL be frightened. You WILL be sickened by the 'villains,' And, as all Stephen King novels, you WILL have peace and closure when the book ends.
The book starts with some of the immediate aftermath of how Wendy & Danny lived after the happenings of The Shining (the book is more enjoyable if you've read the novel instead of just having seen the movie). We see how some of the ghosties have followed poor young Danny from their destroyed Overlook. But Danny learns to control his shining with additional help from Dick Hallorann and eventually becomes Dan Torrence, an alcoholic who needs some serious help.
Doctor Sleep is sort of a "What If Jack had found AA instead of trusting himself to avoid alcohol?" novel. Dan hits rock bottom, finds a sponsor, and uses his shine as an orderly in a hospice to help patients (non-euthinasianly) pass on (hence the title).
Meanwhile, a young girl, Abra, is born with a stronger shine than even young Danny had. As an infant, she sends nightmares to her parents trying to warn them of 9/11. As a young child, she makes a whole drawer of spoons float on the ceiling. All the while she and Dan connect despite never having met...yet.
And then, King does what he does best—introducing us to the True Knot, a group of (what used to be) people who have survived for centuries led by Rose the Hat. They travel across the country in Winnebagos and look like nothing more than a group of retired seniors whiling away their final years. But the horror comes in how they survive—by breathing the "steam" given off by those who die in pain. You know those "Have You Seen Me?" pages in weekly shoppers that have dozens of B&W pics of missing children? King proposes that the True Knot is responsible for most of those disappearances...
Abra & Dan have what the True Knot wants (shine = steam) and the two have to combine forces to try to defeat them. Everything circles back to where the Overlook once stood for a final climactic battle that seems to wrap up a bit too quickly (or perhaps it was just because I was stupidly trying to finish the book last night while very sleepy). I'm surprised by the lack of death (very unlike Under the Dome which had surprising losses throughout) but I'll never look at a group of Winnebagos the same way ever again!