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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)

What members say

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It grew on me!!

Anyone who says this story is too far out there or whatever they say, should have known this. This story creeps up on you. The plot is great, one of Kings best. I'm bias, the first novel in this set, The Shining was always my favorite. Great job Stephen King, and Will Patton is Excellent on this audio book. This takes me back to Kings old books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Close to Perfect

Will Patton is a narration machine. A performer with magnificent presence. He chews King's words with such relish that you can't help but be swept up in the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Shining Wheel of Life

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • KP
  • Oakland, CA
  • 01-13-14

Fantastic Stephen King!

What a fun book! I liked it BETTER than The Shining. Of course, that could be because I already read and vaguely remembered The Shining. In any case, Dr. Sleep transported me to another world… the world of a good book. It was a good story, and Stephen King knows how to tell good stories. I really appreciate the naturalness of his writing.

Although a person would not HAVE to have read The Shining first, I DO think it adds to the enjoyment to have the details from The Shining in the mind while going through Dr. Sleep. It adds to the fun to remember Dick Halloran, Wendy Torrance, Horace Derwent, and even Mrs. Massey from room 217!






1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

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Classic King

First of all, if you've only seen the movie "The Shining" and not read the novel - please for the love of whatever you consider holy - read the novel. No offense to the late, great Mr. Kubrick, but he butchered the story with that film. Anyone who has not read "The Shining" must do so before picking up this sequel or the richness of the story will be lost.

I was a little worried about a sequel as most tend to be watered-down extensions of a great story that only serve to make the writer more money. And good on the writer for that, by the way, get it! But this was a truly great story. It held me so greatly that I was irritated to have to return to real life to work, or sleep or anything else normal folks do. I just wanted to remain in the world of the story. And honestly, I was curious to see what had become of little Danny Torrance.

As the now grown Dan Torrance struggles with past and present demons, he meets a little girl who possesses the same gift that he has - the shining. It is around her stunning abilities that the story evolves as good fights evil and man fights himself. It is classic King and I highly recommend diving into this story for a truly satisfying read.

...but not before you read "The Shining" dammit.

Will Patton did a remarkable job narrating, deftly switching from the voice of an innocent little girl to the raspy growl of pure evil. I'll be searching out other books that he's narrated.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheri
  • Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • 10-12-13

Really enjoyed it

You just can't beat Will Patton as a audible book performer - team him up with a story by Stephen King and you have a sure hit. I enjoyed this immensely and am hoping for a sequel about Dan and Abra. :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beyond The Shining

What did you love best about Doctor Sleep?

I liked this book as it brought the story from the Shining up to current and tied some things together that needed to be resolved. I have enjoyed the Shining once I understood that it was more about a haunted family than a haunted hotel. This was a great bring up to date of a classic story.

What other book might you compare Doctor Sleep to and why?

Doctor Sleep has qualities of several other King stories, but is not like them.

What does Will Patton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Patton did a marvelous job on this reading. He had different voices for the different characters and keep the story moving on quite well.

If you could take any character from Doctor Sleep out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Don't know exactly, but I did relate to Billy Freeman.

Any additional comments?

This story had good characters, a good plot and a good setting. It completed the story of the Shining and I enjoyed the ending; that doesn't exactly wrap it up, but does bring it to an end. There were many things from original shining that are parts of this story and that was comforting.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • dudley, MA, United States
  • 10-09-13

Great "catch-up" of little Danny T from Shinning

I think SK did a fabulous job showing how a little boy named Danny Torrence grew up after going thru the Overlook ordeal and working with whatever outcome he had to work with throughout his adult life. That part was realistic, esp AA. The other part of the story just added to SK's imagination and kept us readers interested in mind telepathy as well as ghosts even coming from the old story the Shinning, As SK even admits at the end of his novel, sometimes a sequel (most times) cannot compare to the original, this one came pretty darn close. Worth the credit and more....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Silvia
  • Oakland, CA, USA
  • 10-28-13

Dr. Sleep Indeed! Dr. Sleepy In Fact.

I am a huge Stephen King fan and consider him to be one of the best authors around. All that being said, Dr. Sleep left me sleepy rather than sleepless. The story seemed contrived and predictable. It certainly did not meet the usual high King standards. I almost felt as if he had run out of ideas and decided to dust off an enthralling tale of the super natural, hoping to touch on the glory of The Shining. Don't get me wrong--I still couldn't stop listening to this sequel; I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters. Perhaps another and more serious problem was the narrator. Will Patton tried to inject the missing feeling into the book with an often sonorous voice that attempted to convey fear and tension. Instead, he interfered with the story, often detracting from the tale with his overly dramatic reading of simple sentences.

However, an author as prolific and talented as Stephen King is entitled to an occasional miss. I will continue to look forward to his amazing offerings with anticipation.

19 of 29 people found this review helpful