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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

Critic Reviews

"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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awesome sequel!

Wasn't expecting to fall in love with this book but I did. Stephen King is the man!!! I will always love his novels!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Will Patton brings this story to life!

I really enjoyed this book, being a fan of both the book and the movie, The Shining. Will Pattons remarkable reading really brought it home for me. A wonderful actor, with true attention to his craft.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • Urcuquí, Ecuador
  • 02-01-15

The Doctor is In

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Vampires as Metaphor for Addicts

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kali
  • Walnut Creek, CA
  • 12-09-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • tara
  • Cheney, WA, United States
  • 10-21-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent narration. Ok story.

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great!

Not since Stu Redman in The Stand have I enjoyed and loved a character so much as Dan Torrance in Doctor Sleep. There were at least 2 scenes towards the end that had me fighting off tears. I was lost in the story and almost sobbed out loud! Will Patton did a great job with the cast of characters and I hope we get to meet some of them again. I wasn't sure I wanted to read a sequel to The Shining as it scared the crap out of me when I read it a few years ago. To me, Doctor Sleep provided a satisfying conclusion.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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

58 of 83 people found this review helpful

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rewarding conclusion to danny's story

Any additional comments?

note: i've only read or listened to 3 other stephen king novel's (the shining, the stand, and the talisman) so i wouldn't be able to tell you if this was a "great" king novel, but i CAN tell you this is a truly good story.

of all the books i've ever read or listened to, the shining is the one book i compare all others to when it comes to a good scare. to me, that is "horror." i haven't found many stories that are comparable, but maybe that's b/c i was 18 when i read it. even though it was the summer of my freshman year at college and was your typical meathead frat boy, the shining still scared me! but of course like many of you, i HAD to keep reading! LOL now in my late 30's, i was psyched to learn danny's story continued. so, i was eager to listen to doctor sleep. i wanted to know if i could be scared again.

after listening to doctor sleep, i can safely say i wasn't scared again, but what i can say is that it was an entertaining story even though i never got the creeps. stephen king does a really good job portraying danny's life as an alcoholic. i found it kind of sad that he'd fallen to that level. i drank a lot in college, but i never felt like i had to drink just to make it to the next day. the theme of alcoholism plays a credible part of the story, especially when considering danny's family history. there's another compelling reason danny drinks, but i'd rather let you discover why instead of divulging it.

listening to the story, i got attached to danny. i cared about his character. i was pulling for him to overcome his temptations to drink, and i found those scenes powerful and realistic.

i really liked how stephen king integrated the character of abra into the story and how danny and abra finally come together. it's just one of those things that you keep listening for b/c you anticipate it soo much. needless to say, i had a few late nights. LOL stephen king does a good job pacing the story as danny's and abra's stories merge. i actually found myself getting kind of giddy!

so yes, i bonded with the characters in the book. i also liked a lot of the minor characters, such as danny's friends. again, stephen king doesn't rush the story. he credibly builds frienndships so when friendship is called upon, it feels real and not contrived.

as far as the villains, i didn't find them as scary as the overlook or its inhabitants, but the one creepy thing about them was their plainness- how they are able to hide in plain sight. geezzz...maybe i'm contradicting myself! but i can honestly say i'll never look at a rv the same way again! seriously! even though the villains didn't scare me, i LOATHED them. i soo wanted them to get their comeuppance! so on a level, i bonded with them.

i enjoyed will patton's narration. his voice eases you into the story, his voice matches what i believe danny's would sound like.

overall, i really enjoyed the story. if you're interested in finding out whatever happened to danny torrence, then listen to this story. it is a rewarding conclusionof his story!

p.s. after listening to this, i'm definitely tempted to listen to more of stephen king's work, especially his older work b/c he is an exceptional storyteller!

25 of 36 people found this review helpful