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Doctor Sleep: A Novel | [Stephen King]

Doctor Sleep: A Novel

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Fiction, 2014

Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration - Male, 2014

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

©2013 Stephen King (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What the Critics Say

"Will Patton's delivery enhances King's prose in ways that make King's work so much more enjoyable in audio than just reading it…Patton's narrative voice captures the rhythm of King's words. His character voices, filled with a variety of regional American accents, remain consistent. Most importantly, the sinister aspects that embody characters and moments of this novel are superbly executed and will certainly leave listeners on edge." (AudioFile)

"King, not one given to sequels, throws fans a big, bloody bone with this long-drooled-for follow-up to The Shining." (Booklist)

"…a gripping, taut read that provides a satisfying conclusion to Danny Torrance's story." (Publisher’s Weekly)

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  •  
    D corona, ca United States 09-28-13
    D corona, ca United States 09-28-13 Member Since 2012

    I read, I write; I listen

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    "The sequel to the book; not the movie"

    "Doctor Sleep" is the sequel to the book; not the movie.This is an important fact that Stephen King shares in his author’s notes. Although, I am a fan of both the movie and the first book, Stephen King makes it clear that if you want the true story of the Torrance family you need to read the “Shining,” published in 1977, and then you will enjoy the sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” that much more.

    Little Danny Torrance was only five when he became an iconic character in one of the scariest books ever written; and the ethereal haunted Overlook hotel, room 217, “Redrum,” and his possessed and murderous, alcoholic father, Jack, will be forever remember in literary history.

    In “Doctor Sleep,” Danny is grown up; he works in a small New England town as a hospice worker and has the special ability to help patients come to terms with their deaths. Given his history its no wander, like his father, Jack, he is an alcoholic; but is trying to cope with his addiction by attending AA meetings. Alcoholism is very prevalent in this book, as it was in the first book of this series; in fact its diminished exploration in the movie, “The Shining,” by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the many reasons Stephen King was not a big fan of the movie, as he struggled with his own challenges with alcohol addiction during that time.
    Danny is still psychic, although his abilities have weakened with age and its obvious when he comes in contact with Abra Stone, a girl who, at the age of twelve, has not yet fully tapped into her powers.
    The young girl, is in danger, and she needs Danny’s help to keep her safe from a group, called The True Knot, that feed off of psychic powers; particularly children.

    “Doctor Sleep is more than just a sequel, although it has roots to “The Shining,” this is a story that has its own wings; and boy does it fly.

    If you’re wondering whether to purchase the text or the Audio version, the narrator of this audio book should make that an easy decision. Will Patton gives a spectacular performance and should not be missed.

    158 of 174 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 09-28-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 09-28-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "Because the Past Defines the Present"

    I discovered Stephen King the summer I was 13 years old. I remember reading "The Shining" (1976), "'Salem's Lot" (1975), "Carrie" (1974), and "Night Shift" (1977) over a hot and humid week. When the weather broke one night with a spectacular summer thunderstorm, I woke up screaming, convinced that a long-dead priest was in my room.

    Carrietta White and Danny Torrance psychic abilities - their shines - fascinated me. Wouldn't it be fun to make the tight Jordache jeans the tall blonde who was "going with" the boy I had a crush, on split the bottom of her jeans wide open, just as she tossed her perfectly feathered Farrah Fawcett hair? But Margaret White, Carrie's mother was a religious zealot; and Jack Torrance, Danny's father, was a raging alcoholic. Carrie and Danny didn't use their shine for fun, they used it because the people who loved them were murderous. Only Danny survived his childhood.

    In 2001, about the time Danny is learning to become sober, Abra Stone is born into a family with two (mostly) normal parents and an adoring great grandmother. Abra shines, and shines brightly. Her parents realize it, and take an approach to the situation Andrew Solomon (Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, 2012) would approve of: they have a pediatrician observe her, confirm what they know - and love and support her.

    Danny has a great evil to fight - alcoholism. He started drinking at 13. It dulls his shine, and considering what he does for a living - he's an orderly at hospices, and he helps people pass on, who could blame him? But, as any alcoholic knows, Danny drinks because he is a drunk. King has been sober for 26 years, and writes about Alcoholics Anonymous - 'the program' - with the passion, clear head, and understanding of someone who knows the program far deeper than being able to recite the Serenity Prayer from memory. King's description of Danny's longing for a drink at a dive bar with neon lights advertising $2 pitchers was so vivid, in one of the most narratively tense parts of Doctor Sleep, I found myself thinking, "Don't do it Danny, don't do it!"

    Danny and Abra have another, prescient and cannabalistic evil to fight - Rose the Hat and "The True Knot," a band of seemingly ordinary people criss-crossing the United States in those spectacularly expensive RVs you sometimes see on long drives on the 10 West, heading into Arizona; or parked in a Walmart lot, easily taking up a dozen parking places. The people in them look normal - even dull - but . . . and Rose and the True Knot are very, very old - because they take something from children with the shine.

    Would I have enjoyed Doctor Sleep as much as I did if I hadn't read "The Shining," or for that matter, "Carrie"? I think I might have liked it even more, because I would have been truly surprised by the Overlook Hotel/Lodge - and frightened by the ghosts, maybe as I was that long ago summer.

    I'm giving the audio a 4, not because Will Patton isn't a fantastic narrator - he is. He's got the characters to a t. When he was Dick Hallorann, I actually saw Scatman Crothers from the 1980 movie "The Shining" in my mind. However, there's a small portion of the narrative that is difficult to follow as an audio book. It sorts itself out eventually, but that's why I knocked a point off.

    [If this review helped, please press YES.]

    192 of 217 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 05-01-14
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 05-01-14

    Criminal defense attorney. Love audible and I'm kind of obsessed with writing reviews. No plot spoilers please. Seriously.

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    "I Really Wanted to Love This"

    The title says it all. I adore The Shining- it is a watermark aspect of my life, when I first read it and when I read it again 15 years later. But I just couldn't get into this, no matter how hard I tried. I would force myself for an hour at a time, getting through about half of it. I just had to give up. I know people love this book. I am actually semi-devastated that I didn't love it- I was looking forward to it for a long time. I know when I love a book- I'm done it in a day or two. I worked (and that is a terrible thing to say about a King) on this for a month to get halfway.

    I just... I just couldn't get into the whole dynamic between the characters, the Steam Eaters, all that. It seemed forced, like King was trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. And I am sure many of you will exclaim "But you just have to get to the end!!! It'll all make sense and it's totally worth it!!!" That honestly may be the case and I fully accept that... But I just can't make myself work through a book for dozens of hours for some eventual payoff. This is coming from a man who listened to *all* of the Dark Tower saga in just a couple of months and *wasn't* enraged by the ending, like so many others.

    Oh well. I'll always have the Overlook and the Rose.

    24 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 10-02-13
    Melinda UT 10-02-13 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. Love reading the reviews. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

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    ""All we see or seem is but a dream within a dream""

    In appreciation of the hours of terrifying enjoyment King has given me over the years, I felt I owed it to this author to digest on this newest novel at least a few days before putting in my 2 cents and my initial reaction. I also wanted to be honest and not just pander to fellow King fans.

    5,861 die-hard fans of Stephen King contributed to the completion of Doctor Sleep, having voted in a poll on King's official website whether he should write a sequel to The Shining, or write the next Dark Tower novel. Dark Tower lost by 49 votes. It's hard to not love anything from an author that seems so dedicated and accessible to his readers/fans. I realized that it's unfair to compare King's books, or expect each new work to start from the high point of the previous book and then surpass that zenith. If I became desensitized along the way -- that was failure on part of this reader rather than the fault of the writer.

    In an interview, King said, writing this book, he is not the same man that wrote The Shining, Salem's Lot, Pet Sematary, It. Those were written while King was a young man tormented by personal demons, and "you write about what you know." King came face to face with a much scarier adversary than any monster he could make up while facing those demons in his publicized battle with addiction. He said about returning to one of his fan's favorite novels, it was daunting to write the sequel from where he is now, to a book he hadn't visited for 30 years. For the factual continuity, he hired an avid, long-time reader/fan to go over The Shining, making sure Doctor Sleep was in sync with the previous book, and accurate. *[Remember the *chocolate Payday* fingerprints in The Stand? Let's face it...some of his novels could be used in college courses to show the importance of doing your research!]

    Doctor Sleep melds both kinds of monsters King was so familiar with. A grown Danny Torrance is fighting the alcohol addiction he has used to shut down his *shine* and keep the residual monsters, both mental and physical, from the Overlook Hotel contained. After one booze and cocaine fueled night, he takes money from a woman he has spent the night with, a messed up young mother, then later is haunted by a *bad shining* about her little toddler that stumbled into the bedroom while Danny was making his escape. This, he realizes, is his rock bottom. Vowing to stay straight, he takes a new job, but without the dulling liquor the Shining starts again, threatening his new sobriety. In his clear-headed state, he also begins picking up thoughts from another with the Shining, a young girl named Abra.

    Joining the villainous ranks of Pennywise, Randall Flagg, little Gage Creed, and the vampire Barlow -- is King's latest: a group of polyester-wearing, RV driving, Wallmart shopping nomads called the True Knot, whose top knot is *Rose the Hat,* a fabulous Cruella Deville on steroids kind of female villain (that I would love to see more of). Her group caravans across the country from their home base near the now burnt out Overlook Hotel, in a necessary search for children with the Shine, to suck out their *steam* and rejuvenate themselves -- whatever they are (much like the 3 witches from Hocus Pocus). When the murderous convoy picks up deliciously strong signals from the gifted Abra, the fight between good and evil is on.

    As noted by reviewers, this can be a stand alone novel. Much of the connection to the book The Shining is given through the characters conversations and thoughts. The familiar *Easter eggs* (as King's son calls the trivia-like references to previous books included in all of King's novels) tell you that you're in King's familiar and resourceful hands (there are even a few familial nods to NOS4A2). Danny wasn't a forceful character in The Shining (even less so in the movie) and isn't much grander here, but Abra was well thought out and feisty to Danny's passivity, and Rose the Hat was a character I'd love to see fleshed out with her own story. During the listening process, I may not have appreciated this as much as I do after a little reflection. While traditional King, this is also a smarter book, one that it takes a little wisdom, maybe a bit of life's hard knocks, to really get an appreciation for the levels of evil contained. I ended up going from 2* to 3maybe4* with my pondered rating, and think I might even read this one again one day -- less eager and more attentive. And Will Patton...he could read George Carlin's list of ugly words and I would adore him; he does a great job giving the book (especially ol' Crow Daddy) some complimentary gusto. Doctor Sleep is old King and new King; a King with some hard earned wisdom on top of that natural talent.



    72 of 96 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. brown 09-24-13
    B. brown 09-24-13 Member Since 2014

    moemoe

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Are you serious"

    King and Will Patton together. Am I dreaminig or is this for real? So many of King's books have been ruined by bad narration(THE CELL for starters) so i was so happy to see Will Patton as the narrator. Patton brings the characters to life just like he does in all his other narrations, mainly in James Lee Burke books, but his performance here is just as good or maybe better. Some free advice today.....If youve never read King but like Patton, I say you will be thanking me later for pushing you towards buying this audiobook. If you hate King but love Will Patton, still get it. I think Patton is sich a great reader that even when I hit the dull times he was able to keep me focused. 5 out of 5 for me all the way around

    48 of 67 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 02-22-14
    John 02-22-14 Member Since 2012

    I've been on a Zombie apocalypse binge this year. Let me know if you've read any really good ones not on my list.

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    "Entertaining sequel to the Shining"
    Any additional comments?

    This follow on to the Shining is entertaining if predictable. The life of post Overlook Hotel Dan is actually more interesting than the main plot. Although there are ghosts and supernatural creatures I wouldn't say the book is scary in that way. The main problem is that the bad guys come across as rather silly and end up being done in more by microbes and old age than anything Dan and his posse do. Worth a read/listen but don't expect any chills.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kali Walnut Creek, CA 12-09-13
    Kali Walnut Creek, CA 12-09-13 Member Since 2014
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    "what happened to the kid from The Shining?"

    What happened to that little kid from The Shining, once he grew up? What would have happened to his dry drunk of a father, if he had found Alcoholics Anonymous? These are two of the questions Stephen King wanted to answer in Doctor Sleep, he explains at the end of the novel. King has built up quite the tale out of the Overlook Hotel’s ashes: this was just awarded best audiobook of the year at Audible.com a few days ago.

    Doctor Sleep brings us that little strong, sweet, and smart kid Danny Torrance all cragged and grown up; Danny is such a painful portrayal of innocence lost he’ll make you wistful for your own early childhood, before all the mistakes started piling up. The Overlook still haunts poor Danny’s dreams, and he’s now a drunk who despises himself for turning out like dear old dad.

    King takes us through Danny’s alcoholic bottom with the descriptive language he has such a knack for, making the first bits of the book difficult, but necessary, to get through. King loves to linger a bit on the rough stuff in life; rather than having an off-putting effect, this is part of what makes him a horror powerhouse. The man who spent paragraphs describing wind-up teeth in “Chattery Teeth” and didn’t shy away from documenting the split of a woodchuck into two in Under the Dome turns his attention to Danny’s low points with alcohol, and we are spared no detail of where Danny’s drinking takes him. Danny’s recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous is a part of the story, something that is becoming more common in novels and television shows.

    Oddly enough I may have been happy with a story of Danny Torrance without the horror, but rather than only documenting Danny’s struggle to find recovery, King introduces a new and unlikely set of villains: a nefarious band of energy banshees called the True Knot, disguised as old folks touring America in RV’s and campers. They feed off of the shining that those like Danny possess. They sense something delicious in a bright young girl named Abra, who shines something strong and needs a mentor like Danny desperately.

    The characters here were delightfully vivid for me. The evil figures, roving in a band of trailers, were reminiscent of the post-apocalyptic armies in Robert McCammon‘s Swan Song, and I’d be interested to know if King was influenced by that classic in any way while writing this book. King has in Doctor Sleep, as he does in many of his books, an appreciation for the full spectrum of human capability. It would have been so simple for King to write Abra as a one-dimensional sweetheart, but she has her own dark side–as we all do, King seems to be noting.

    Where the story lost me a bit was in the action. Without giving too much away, many of the battle scenes felt a bit silly to me because they were taking place, well, in people’s minds. When used in books and in films, incredible mental powers (let’s face it, all magical powers) can often feel a bit hokey as they can at anytime become a cheap trick. I think King relied on this type of thing too much towards the end of the book. Things become much more cerebral than they did in The Shining, and I was disappointed there wasn’t a more epic The Stand style battle between good and evil.

    The final question here is Abra, Danny’s delightful and powerful-beyond-belief mentee, whose temper matches her strength. Will we meet Abra again, in her own book? It would be wonderful to see the capabilities of an older Abra, adolescent and out-of-control. It seems like too good of a story not to tell.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 10-31-13
    Patrick 10-31-13

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

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    "Finally, a King novel not bogged down with details"

    So I've attempted many King books before, starting with Misery & Cujo when I was a teenager, and then painfully getting through "It" years later. By painfully I mean too many details. King would mention the mail man's gastrointestinal issues for two pages in Cujo, and all of them just made me want to scream "Get to the point man!" Well surprise surprise, he has finally won me over with "Doctor Sleep." I can't recall one time while listening to this book that I became irritated with the typical excessive details bogging down King's other books.

    I can't say that this is a scary book, but more of a thriller, which is fine by me either way. Still, I'm glad to report to those of you who suffered like me through many King books screaming for less details or just giving up, I recommend.

    Will Patton's narration is awesome, he nails it.

    Go ahead and give this book a shot...I think you'll like it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tara Cheney, WA, United States 10-21-13
    tara Cheney, WA, United States 10-21-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Thank Goodness for this sequel....."

    He's done it again! But this time, he's reunited us with one of our favorite victims, Danny Torrance.
    All grown up, it seems Danny is a lot like dear ole' Dad. But does it have to be that way?
    Giving him a purpose, and allowing him to help another with the 'Shining' was a wonderful way to bring Danny back.

    Though this wasn't 'Balls to the wall' horror, the suspense and the action pick up about half way through. I found myself waiting for more and dreading the pause button. It really is a book for those who love King's twisted horror writing.

    I personally think the Shining was a lot more scary, but the idea behind this villain is eerily familiar.
    I also enjoy the way King and his son, Joe Hill, play off of each other's novels and create their own little 'other' world.
    Pay attention folks, there are references to some of Hill's books in here!

    All in all though, it was a great book that kept me on my toes and anxious for more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 10-13-13
    William 10-13-13
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    "Evil never really sleeps!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Doctor Sleep to be better than the print version?

    I wouldn't necessarily say the audio is better than the print, it is just more convenient for me to listen to recreational books than read them.


    Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    While I enjoy listening to Will Patton, I don't think he really hit the mark with this book. His half whisper style, while gentle to the ear, seemed to fail in capturing the suspense of the story.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    As a recovering alcoholic, King really nailed what it is like to fight the urge to drink even though you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I enjoyed when he revealed his deepest secret and no one seemed to notice. It is so true to form for an alcoholic.


    Any additional comments?

    It was good to continue where The Shining left off. I have been hoping for years King would do the same thing with The Stand.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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