Last month, Doctor Sleep (Sept. 24) the much anticipated sequel to horror author Stephen King’s seminal novel The Shining,was released. The novel has spent the 4 weeks since its release atop the New York Times Best Sellers list and is currently #1 in fiction after spending last week at the #2 position behind John Sandford’s Storm Front (Oct. 8).
In Doctor Sleep, Stephen King picks up where he left off in The Shining, with the destruction of the Overlook Hotel. In a prologue to Doctor Sleep King gives us the early history of little Danny Torrance after the events of the first novel. His father, Jack Torrance, died with the ghosts of the Overlook and his now single mother Wendy is now taking care of him as best she can with back injuries she suffered at the hands of Danny’s father during their time at the haunted hotel that causes her to have to move her and her son around often. They find a little relief in the form of Dick Halloran, the chef at the hotel from the first novel who teaches Danny about the shining (a power of telepathy, etc. that they have in common. Dick plays a kind of father figure to Danny in the first pages of Doctor Sleep and a guide.
After this prologue of sorts we find Danny — now Dan — a young man and much different from the emotionally scarred young boy from The Shining and the first pages of Doctor Sleep. He’s preparing to hit a rock bottom that soon lands him in AA and in search for some stability and maybe a little meaning in his life. In the small town in New Hampshire where he enters AA he may have found both.
He finds work at a nursing home where he’s soon known as “Doctor Sleep” because he uses his special ability to guide the dying residents to the light, so to speak. And while he’s working at the home a special little girl makes psychic contact with him which would in the years to come lead Dan into a battle for the girl’s very soul against a band of immortal wanderers called the True Knot and their leader Rose the Hat.
Doctor Sleep a great novel from Stephen King and a great addition to the legacy of The Shining. King, almost 70 years of age, has not lost a step and has even added to his bag of writing tricks. The novel is engrossing on the character level and the plot is just as involved as much of his earlier work. Fans who were dying to know what happened to little Danny Torrance after the events of the first novel got the answer and much more in Stephen King’s latest venture.