Some demons stay with you forever. And, in Stephen King’s new novel “Doctor Sleep”, his long awaited sequel to “The Shining”, it doesn’t matter if those demons come from a bottle of alcohol or an old hotel. Either way, like your skin, they are a part of you throughout your life.
This time around, Stephen King succeeds magnificently in answering a question long on the minds of his legions of fans; Whatever happened to Danny Torrance?
Well, the boy who survived a terrifying month with his Mom and Dad at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, a place filled with malevolent spirits, is all grown up and still suffering from what happened there.
An alcoholic who used drinking to quiet the horrific images and thoughts of others that have plagued him since a young child (a gift, or curse, that an old friend once called “The Shine”), he struggles with working the AA program as he attempts to build a somewhat normal life.
That is, until a young girl with enormous power similar to his reaches out and asks for his help. Through the “Shine”, she has witnessed a group of drifters, who call themselves the “True-Knot, torturing, killing and stealing the essence of a young boy who is also gifted. The only problem, she has been seen by them, as well, and they are coming to do the same thing to her.
Redemption is a common theme throughout the novel. Just as an alcoholic must admit his past mistakes and try to make amends to those they have hurt, Danny has done some things in his past that he is not proud of and helping this young girl, Abra, who reminds him so much of himself, is definitely a way to find some redemption. Even Dan’s job as a hospice orderly allows him the opportunity to use the “shine” to help those about to crossover with their fear of the unknown.
For a moment, even Jack Torrance, the Father who once tried to kill him, gets a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of his son.
As with many Stephen King novels, the scares come from both what we can see, the “True-Knot” and from what we cannot, like the ghostie people only those with the “shine” are haunted by. Each in their own way is terrifying and deserving of the goose flesh and sudden jumps at strange noises that will inevitably occur as you continue to read.
Like a teenage girl, or an old car, or a group of R.V. travelers, Stephen King’s skill at creating terror from common people, places or things is unrivaled.
Reading “Doctor Sleep”, one gets the feeling that no one ever really left the “Overlook”. Not the characters or the readers. Just like Danny, the people and what happened to them in that hotel continue to haunt us and demand to be heard. It is a trip back and a look forward at one of the most recognized characters ever written and it is a journey well worth the trip.
Just keep your eyes on the road and stay clear of any strange Mobile Home Parks.
In a brief aside, Stephen King, once again, uses pop culture liberally and brilliantly in this novel. In particular, keep an eye out for those “Charlie Manx” and “Christmasland” references. A big “shout-out” to the “King” for blatant parental pride.
I hope you enjoyed our review of “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King and will give it a try. If you have, please hit the subscribe button above to receive all the latest book reviews, author interviews and publishing news as soon as they’re done.
See ya next time!