By Michael Brown
Stephen King crafts a suspenseful tale of Good vs. Evil in his sequel to The Shining. Haunted by memories of his horrific year at the Overlook Hotel as a child, Dan Torrance is a recovering alcoholic living in a small town in New Hampshire, working as an orderly at a hospice where he uses the shining to help dying patients pass on peacefully, earning him the nickname “Doctor Sleep”. Dan is living a decent life until he’s contacted by 12 year-old Abra Stone, who needs Dan’s help. Abra also has the shining and she’s much more powerful than Dan.
So much so that she’s been targeted by a band of wandering, RV-driving, nigh-immortal psychic vampires who scour the country looking for children with the shining so that they can torture and hurt them, feeding off their “steam” as they call it, purified and sweeter from fear.
Now, Dan must organize a band of his own if he’s going to protect Abra, himself, and everyone the two of them hold dear.
Doctor Sleep isn’t filled with the nail-biting horror of its predecessor, but the ghosts are present and sometimes they’re even scary. King’s sequel is more suspense than scary, focusing on Danny, now Dan, Torrance’s trying to cope with his memories of the Overlook, alcoholism (a subject King knew about all too well while writing The Shining), as well as just trying to cope with his gift. There are times when Dan isn’t a nice guy, and he shows himself to be his father’s son. But he pulls it together and has a decent life surrounded by people who care about him– people he’ll need to help him fend off the True Knot, the psychic vampires mentioned above.
The build up to Dan and Abra’s face off with the True Knot is insane and kept me turning pages, or rather, clicking them since I read it on my Kindle, right until the end. It really wasn’t what I was expecting, I will confess. I was expecting a cross-country, hard-travelin’-heroes kind of story but it didn’t turn out that way at all. I do suggest reading or having read The Shining since, as King mentions in his Author’s Note, this is a sequel to the book and not the movie, which he detests, and a lot of it is referenced.
Expect a definite twist and some help for Dan from an unexpected source. Doctor Sleep will have you doing anything but. But it will have you looking at the next RV you see a little differently. 5 out of 5 stars for this one. I would have given it 4, but I loved the ending. Very good book.
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This review reprinted with permission from Michael Brown’s blog, “Dad Man Walking.”
About the reviewer: Michael Brown is a member of Krypton Radio’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen/Staff reporters, and a voracious reader with a love of his family and of being a nerd. When he’s not hiding from reality in a game of D&D, he’s busy reading and expanding his vocabulary in new and confusing ways. Check out Michael’s new blog “Dad Man Walking.”