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
"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)
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
Narrator does an excellent job differentiating the characters. I forget I'm listening to a book because I can clearly see each character in my mind thanks to the narrator. But the story was just okay for me. I struggled to finish and am actually glad it's over. However, I did enjoy the details of Danny's/Dan's struggles to control his outer supernatural demons (the ghostly ones, not the RVers) as well as the inner alcoholic ones.
No, it was like a TV series episode. Not bad, but nothing memorable either.
Yes. I prefer his less "fluffy" books. Unfortunately, I don't foresee him writing too many more of those, if any.
Probably better off borrowing this book from the library for free. Not worth the credit I spent on the book.
Narrator was great.
Story is way too out there for my taste. There wasn't any boundaries for the story the author could just over come any obstacle by giving the characters a new ability.
In a small, peaceful town on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion.
The particular genius of Stephen King at his best is an ability to concoct supernatural situations that are patently absurd, and then guide the reader down the twisting path of an inventive storyline toward unconditional credulity. By the time characters start swapping minds between their bodies or “flipping” into parallel dimensions, it has all become strangely plausible. This is one of those books.
“Doctor Sleep” provides the long-awaited sequel to “The Shining,” one of King’s earliest successes, and especially the character of little Danny, now all grown up and tormented by alcoholism and ghosts. It’s probably not necessary to know the original in order to enjoy the second, but it helps in small, significant ways.
Here is more of King’s pure invention: a band of elderly characters traveling the country in RVs, whose golf pants and liver spots mask a breed of ancient vampires called The True Knot (just “the True” to their friends). They feed—not on blood, but on the mystic essence of children who happen to possess the psychic powers of “the shining,” as Dan does. This essence is called “steam,” and its extraction is brutal, painful, and eventually fatal. For the True Knot, it's life itself. for centuries.
Downloaded in three parts, I wasn’t initially sure I’d stick with it. Not every King work is an unqualified page-turner for everyone. Before the end of the first third I was hooked. The reading by Will Patton is another tour de force, making a gripping story even more emotionally wired. He can do more with a harsh, throaty whisper than most could do with a scream, making your skin crawl. I couldn’t put it down, and I hated to see it end.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
When Dan Torrence was a five-year-old boy in The Shining (1977), his wannabe writer father succumbed to alcoholism and to the malign influence of the haunted Overlook Hotel and tried to kill him and his mother. (I still remember being terrorized by Stephen King's book when I read it back then in high school by a pool in broad daylight.) Fast forward to the present era in King's Doctor Sleep (2013), and 40-year-old Dan is still struggling to survive. For most of his life, he has been afflicted by the shining (the psychic ability to dream future events, to mentally receive and send thoughts, and to see dead people up and about, etc.), fearing that the gift was a curse that would drive him insane and believing that the only way to handle it was to drink it away: "The mind was a blackboard. Booze was the eraser." But the more he drank, the more he unleashed his inner feral dog and the more people he hurt and jobs and towns he lost. Luckily, in the opening chapters of this sequel to The Shining, Dan seems to find his home and calling in Frazier, New Hampshire, living and working at the small town's hospice, where, with a stray cat named Azzie, he helps terminally ill patients peacefully fall asleep into whatever comes next. Unluckily, the Overlook isn't finished with him.
Into Danny's life King interweaves two more story strands. The first features the True Knot, a "family" of self-proclaimed "Chosen Ones" who travel around America feeding on the "steam" emitted by the shining-gifted kids they torture to death. By feeding on steam, the True Knot members attain near immortality, not unlike vampires, though of an ironically all-American type, for, far from the usual sophisticated European aristocrat look, the True Knot adopt a "harmless RV folks" one, sporting tacky tourist t-shirts and driving gas guzzling campers and sporting conservative bumper stickers. Then there is Abra Stone, a precocious girl born just before 9/11 with a prodigious amount of the shining, much to the consternation of her parents. Despite hiding her gift to ease her parents' minds, Abra comes to the loving attention of Dan and to the scary attention of the True Knot. With exquisite suspense, King brings the three sets of characters ever closer together.
King writes great action set pieces that are exciting, scary, funny, unpredictable, inevitable, and inventive fusions of the physical and the paranormal. One of the reasons his work is so suspenseful and moving is that he's so good at writing three-dimensional characters we care about. Dan is fragile, brave, caring, and witty, Abra immature, sweet, vindictive, and powerful. The supporting characters are mostly convincing. And True Knott members like Rose the Hat, are scary and vulnerable, inhuman and all too human.
One of King's great insights is that perhaps the most terrifying thing of all is the possibility that our closest family members may harm us, especially when we are children. Just in the novel's "Prefatory Matters" he introduces a father who rapes his eight-year-old daughter, a grandfather who molests and torments his grandson, an uncle who beats his toddler nephew, not to mention Dan's own abusive father. King also of course taps more typical horror reflexes: our fear of pain and death and of powerful people who may do with us what they will. And he depicts the disease of alcoholism with harrowing realism (Dan's struggle against it and his AA organization feature prominently in the novel).
The novel is about families (dysfunctional and functional, biological and relational), about death (and life), about the way in which our childhoods, genes, and environments shape our adult selves, about power and responsibility, and about culture and horror. Despite depicting harrowing psychic and physical violence and potent evil, King maintains faith in some higher power balancing things out in our mysterious and mortal universe: "Life was a wheel, and it always came back around."
King is a pro with a keen ear for memorable lines, whether vivid descriptions ("His smiling, predatory face was the damp whitish-green of a spoiled avocado"), cool similes ("He felt like some breakable object that has skittered to the edge of a high shelf but hasn't quite fallen off"), quirky humor ("The hungover eye had a weird ability to find the ugliest thing in any given landscape"), frisky frissons ("At some point, as she had been concentrating, a corpse had joined her in the tool shed"), philosophical nuggets ("Death was no less a miracle than life"), and personal epiphanies ("I am not my father").
Another fun virtue of this book is King's keen eye for American culture, as in his pithy descriptions of recent presidents by their renowned identifying features, his understanding of how small towns function and feel, his depiction of highways as the arteries of the body of America, and of course his many cultural references, which range from the popular (Shrek, Twilight, Catching Fire, Facebook, etc.) to the literary (Moby-Dick, East of Eden, Ezra Pound, etc.) and cult (Pink Flamingos). The most intense action scenes occur in spots redolent of Americana: a mini-railroad picnic area, a highway, a campground.
Will Patton gives a stellar reading of Doctor Sleep. His voice is scratchy, tender, masculine, clear, and flexible. He is convincing as a child, adult, or old person of either gender in any mood. His scary characters become even scarier in proportion to his voice becoming softer. He enhances King's contextual humor and horror. The audiobook features an opening dedication and closing author's note, both read by King.
People who like The Shining should enjoy Doctor Sleep (though it's not necessary to have read the earlier book to appreciate the sequel), and anyone who likes character-driven, theme-laden, page-turning, well-written paranormal horror should like it, too.
This is very much an Alcoholics Anonymous inspired story. That isn't a secret, Stephen King, recovering alcoholic, acknowledge the book's AA roots in interviews promoting this long-awaited sequel to The Shining. In this book, he's conjured up the True Knot, a peculiar band of vampires who rather than drinking blood, inhale the "steam" coming off victims who die horribly, mostly at their hands. Cleverly disguised as retirees traveling America in motor homes, these vampires desperately seek steam the way a junkie joneses for heroin or an alcoholic craves a drink. Like other addicts, members of the True Knot do any evil things to satisfy their addiction. It is up to Dan Torrance, the boy with the shining from the 1977 novel who is now a middle aged recovering alcoholic, to stop the True Knot. He gets help from Abra, a teenage girl, who has a powerful shining but is being hunted by the vampires who want to kill her for her steam. The ending where Dan confronts the True Knot and his own secret issues from his drinking days, pretty much follows the standard for thrillers. Will Patton, the reader of the Audible version, does an excellent job with the voices, including the New England accents of some of Dan's cohorts. There also is some good AA wisdom in this book but it is hard to judge how those outside the 12-Step world will view it.
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.
Stephen King is the Master. And by that I mean THE Master. I've read and listened to all of his works. In his recorded remarks at the end of this work Mr. King said, "...and I'm pretty good at what I do." Yes, he is.
The book is masterfully performed by Will Patton. As I'm an avid fan of Mr. Patton and his readings of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels, I enjoyed hearing echoes of Clete Purcell in some of the dialogue in Dr. Sleep.
While long, the book is perfectly paced, excruciatingly well-organized (and that's a good thing- there are a lot of moving parts here), exquisitely edited and totally addictive. As with athletes, artists, craftsmen and statesmen, one would expect talent to wane over the decades. The opposite seems to be the case with Mr. King.
Mr. King's magic, it seems to me, is in carefully cultivating terror on the margins of one's mind - not so much from what is said or done or happens, but instead by something else that resonates just outside of one's mental peripheral vision.
While some of his earlier books seemed to be written with the movie rights and adaptation to screen in mind, this was not the case with Dr. Sleep.
Finally, I enjoyed very much Mr. King's references to AA wisdom, the nuggets of which were, like acorns, strewn along the path of this tale, adding to both the depth of the characters and the enjoyment of the reader.
Very, very well done.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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