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Stephen King haunts with "The Shining"

Cover of Stephen King's novel

The Shining by Stephen King


Stephen King's novel The Shining may be one of his best known, possibly thanks to Kubrik's film adaptation. This epic haunted house story has lots of facets and elements to it, but sometimes the puzzle pieces don't fit together tightly enough. Each part is great--conceptually, on its own. The Shining feels like an early piece of King's work, which it is--it's a little slower, more detailed exposition, and psychological to the point of character study. The intrigue will keep you reading through the slower parts, and it's really worth it by the end.

Seeing Jack Torrance's mental breakdown as he becomes obsessed and, eventually possessed by the hotel makes for great reading. Danny Torrance's struggle with his "imaginary" friend and his telepathy inside the haunted Overlook Hotel also makes for great reading. And who doesn't love a good haunted house story? The horror is often very effective, and the characters are very well defined. They're realistic people with believable problems. They just happen to be faced with the supernatural.

Sometimes King gets a little too detailed with the hotel's upkeep when all we really want is ghosts. Granted, Jack tending the boiler leads to Jack finding the mysterious album full of news clippings about the Overlook, which leads to his obsession...but we still have to learn about how the boiler needs to be checked often. Everything has a purpose in the novel, but sometimes the payoff is delayed a bit too long to really excite.

Stephen King is a master of horror, and The Shining is no exception, despite its faults. Sometimes slow and a bit too long, but enough meat to fill you up. Great moments that will actually scare you, with some dare-I-say boring passages along the way.

You can find Stephen King's The Shining at your local chain bookstore, online or at an independent bookstore near you (click here for a list). You can also download the eBook on your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other eBook reader.