Doctor Sleep

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Overview

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 twelve-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....

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Overview

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 twelve-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 twelve-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 devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

Winner of the 2013 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Stephen King fans waited more than thirty years for a sequel to his 1977 masterpiece The Shining. Here it is. Little Danny Torrance is now a middle-aged man, still plagued by the troubling images prophesied by Lou Torrance. At first, he first finds peace and sobriety in a small New England town, where, with the help of a supernaturally attuned cat, he helps dying patients at a nursing home. That relative tranquility ends, however, when he meets a gifted young girl and is introduced to the eerie children torturers of The True Knot. A horror tale sequel worthy of the original; a bestseller in hardcover; now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
Mr. King's earlier books were full of phantasms and demons, but he grows ever more adept at rooting his dark thoughts and toughest struggles in reality…He remains amazingly resourceful. He's so good at scaring that he can even raise goose bumps when he writes about the measles.
The New York Times Book Review - Margaret Atwood
…King is a pro: by the end of this book your fingers will be mere stubs of their former selves, and you will be looking askance at the people in the supermarket line, because if they turn around they might have metallic eyes. King's inventiveness and skill show no signs of slacking: Doctor Sleep has all the virtues of his best work. What are those virtues? First, King is a well-trusted guide to the underworld. His readers will follow him through any door marked "Danger: Keep Out"…because they know that not only will he give them a thorough tour of the inferno…he will also get them out alive…Second, King is right at the center of an American literary taproot that goes all the way down: to the Puritans and their belief in witches, to Hawthorne, to Poe, to Melville, to the Henry James of The Turn of the Screw, and then to later exemplars like Ray Bradbury.
Publishers Weekly
08/12/2013
Iconic horror author King (Joyland) picks up the narrative threads of The Shining many years on. Young psychic Danny Torrance has become a middle-aged alcoholic (he now goes by “Dan”), bearing his powers and his guilt as equal burdens. A lucky break gets him a job in a hospice in a small New England town. Using his abilities to ease the passing of the terminally ill, he remains blissfully unaware of the actions of the True Knot, a caravan of human parasites crisscrossing the map in their RVs as they search for children with “the shining” (psychic abilities of the kind that Dan possesses), upon whom they feed. When a girl named Abra Stone is born with powers that dwarf Dan’s, she attracts the attention of the True Knot’s leader—the predatory Rose the Hat. Dan is forced to help Abra confront the Knot, and face his own lingering demons. Less terrifying than its famous predecessor, perhaps because of the author’s obvious affection for even the most repellant characters, King’s latest is still a gripping, taut read that provides a satisfying conclusion to Danny Torrance’s story. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agents. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-01
He-e-e-e-r-e's Danny! Before an alcoholic can begin recovery, by some lights, he or she has to hit bottom. Dan Torrance, the alcoholic son of the very dangerously alcoholic father who came to no good in King's famed 1977 novel The Shining, finds his rock bottom very near, if not exactly at, the scarifying image of an infant reaching for a baggie of blow. The drugs, the booze, the one-night stands, the excruciating chain of failures: all trace back to the bad doings at the Overlook Hotel (don't go into Room 217) and all those voices in poor Dan's head, which speak to (and because of) a very special talent he has. That "shining" is a matter of more than passing interest for a gang of RV-driving, torture-loving, soul-sucking folks who aren't quite folks at all--the True Knot, about whom one particularly deadly recruiter comments, "They're not my friends, they're my family...And what's tied can never be untied." When the knotty crew sets its sights on a young girl whose own powers include the ability to sense impending bad vibes, Dan, long adrift, begins to find new meaning in the world. Granted, he has good reason to have wanted to hide from it--he still has visions of that old Redrum scrawl, good reason to need the mental eraser of liquor--but there's nothing like an apocalyptic struggle to bring out the best (or worst) in people. King clearly revels in his tale, and though it's quite a bit more understated than his earlier, booze-soaked work, it shows all his old gifts, including the ability to produce sentences that read as if they're tossed off but that could come only from someone who's worked hard on them ("Danny, have you ever seen dead people? Regular dead people, I mean"). His cast of characters is as memorable as any King has produced, too, from a fully rounded Danny to the tiny but efficiently lethal Abra Stone and the vengeful Andi, who's right to be angry but takes things just a touch too far. And that's not to mention Rose the Hatless and Crow Daddy. Satisfying at every level. King even leaves room for a follow-up, should he choose to write one--and with luck, sooner than three decades hence.
Library Journal
★ 09/15/2013
Since The Shining was published in 1977, it has become an American classic, thanks not only to the book itself but also to the Stanley Kubrick film that it spawned, and King has become one of the most successful horror writers of all time. His latest novel, a highly anticipated sequel to The Shining, marks a return to form for the old master, who reunites loyal readers with Danny (now Dan) Torrance. Decades after the events at the Overlook Hotel, Dan is wrestling with his own demons and putting his psychic abilities to work at a series of nursing homes where he provides comfort to dying patients. When he finally finds a home—and sobriety—in a cozy New Hampshire town, Dan meets a young girl with a shining even stronger than his own. Together, he and young Abra Stone must take on a tribe of people called the True Knot, whose innocent, RV-driving appearance belies their true nature. VERDICT This is vintage King, a classic good-vs.-evil tale that will keep readers turning the pages late into the night. His many fans won't be disappointed. [Previewed in "A World of New Titles," LJ 7/13; see Prepub Alert, 3/4/13.]—Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins
The Barnes & Noble Review

To paraphrase Heraclitus, "No novelist can step twice into the same subcreation." Writers begin changing the instant they append "The End" to a novel. Readers begin changing the moment they encounter that same phrase. And even the novels themselves, through the strange transmutations of time and shifting tastes and mores, exhibit changes as we look backward upon them, acquiring retroactive meanings and tonalities.

The impossibility of a sequel ever recapturing everything — or anything - - about its ancestor never stopped legions of writers from trying, or hordes of readers and publishers from demanding more of what they previously enjoyed. And so Stephen King — whose oeuvre has been mostly — with the exception of the Dark Tower saga and the duology he wrote with Peter Straub — admirably free of sequelitis, now delivers a new installment to one of his most famous books, The Shining. Does Doctor Sleep diminish or dilute, enhance or expand its admired and illustrious predecessor? Can it possibly be assessed in some sense on its standalone merits?

Let's look back at The Shining first. The primary text, that is, for to bring in Kubrick's cinematic adaptation would require volumes all its own.

Only King's third novel, the book is a young man's enthusiastic synthesis of his literary ancestors, as he revels in his newfound powers. (King was thirty years old in 1977, the year of The Shining's debut.) Besides the explicit references to Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Fall of the House of Usher," the book also amalgamates haunted house tropes from The Yellow Wallpaper onward to EC Comics. Add in naturalistic frights such as the performance anxiety of a writer, marital discord, parenting issues (including reverse-Oedipal aggressions), class divisions, alcoholism, and economic hardships, and the witch's cauldron of terrors is effectively full.

But the dominant speculative motifs of the book — rendering it more science fiction than horror — are actually two that may have passed unnoticed by "mundane" fans of King's novel. Yet anyone steeped in genre work immediately recognized that King — widely acquainted from his youth with SF and fantasy, as well as horror — is riffing in The Shining on a long tradition of exceptional children in science fiction and on the thread of extranormal, or "psi," powers.

Danny Torrance, the five-year-old possessor of "the shining" — the ability to read minds, see the future, and contact extradimensional realms — is utterly in a line of descent from similar children found in the work of Olaf Stapledon, Wilmar Shiras, John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, Henry Kuttner, and Jerome Bixby, among others. King portrays Danny in the same clinical, non-supernatural fashion as those earlier child savants: a prodigy one step up the evolutionary ladder. Nothing occult at all. But, like all such sports, Danny suffers from his gifts, which are as much curse as blessing. Here we see King's possible homage to such works as Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside, James Blish's Jack of Eagles, and Poul Anderson's "Journeys End," all of which examined the mechanics and dangerous downsides of mental eavesdropping and other ESP "wild talents."

Another facet of The Shining that must be remarked upon is its almost dramaturgical limitation of setting and characters. Deliberate or timid, it's an influence on the narrow, claustrophobic feel of the story. Yes, some small realtime action does occur outside the Overlook Hotel, and flashback sequences also extend and enlarge King's venues and troupe of actors. But essentially the whole book consists of a tiny cast on a small, unified stage. One wonders if King had in mind that hoary chestnut by Earl Derr Biggers, Seven Keys to Baldpate, with its similar hotel spookiness centering around a writer with a deadline.

We can observe, also, King's trademark fascination and delight with pop culture and topicality, at least in utero. The novel is thoroughly but not overbearingly larded with 1970s touchstones, from Nixon and John Fogerty to CB radio and Howard Hughes. King's prose, while always very readable, here lacks the sophistication and finesse he would later develop, and his scare technics are a little clunky. In fact, he was really not yet fully "Stephen King" as we know the author today, certainly not an icon in the public eye. Some of this old zeitgeist emerges from a period review by Richard R. Lingeman, from the March 1, 1977 New York Times:

Stephen King is one of the hottest novelists currently working the horror-occult genre. His books "Carrie" and "Salem's Lot" were best sellers in paperback, having been given a considerable boost by the popularity of the movie of "Carrie." Judging from his latest novel, "The Shining," he is a writer of fairly engaging and preposterous claptrap. Ranked on a scale of from 0 to Ira Levin and Thomas Tryon, to name two leading practitioners in this vein, he would score, I should say, about a 75. His long suit is an energetic and febrile imagination and a radar fix on the young people who probably make up the large hard core of the market. He is not up to Mr. Levin and Mr. Tryon, however, because he lacks the sly craftsmanship of the former, at his best, and the narrative strength of the latter. Still, like a fast short-order cook during the breakfast rush, he serves up the scary stuff with unremitting dexterity.
One wonders if Mr. Lingeman has ever looked back at that old review and either confirm or deny his early assessment in the light of nearly forty more years of King's output.

Given that I've seen fit to identify the buried but dominant motif of The Shining as a special child with troublesome powers — rather than the foregrounded adult-centered bloody doings at the Overlook — it's only fitting that Doctor Sleep revolve around grown-up Danny. He was always of more interest than his parents, and King uses him to tell a far wider and more sophisticated tale than he did in The Shining. This sequel delivers both mature insights and shocks in equal measures.

Doctor Sleep starts hard upon the ending of The Shining. We witness a scarred and leery Danny growing up hard, his life a mix of poverty and debilitated single-mom inutility. Dick Hallorann, janitor from the Overlook and another possessor of the shining, is there to help him for a while with mental techniques for tamping down ghosts. This transitional period is sketched in intimate, taut, hard-hitting fashion: accelerated bildungsroman.

And during this segment of the tale, we also get our first glimpse of the True Knot, a group of soul vampires, American-style gypsies, roaming the nation in a seemingly innocent caravan of RVs. Led by the Amazonian and intimidating Rose the Hat, the tribe of immortal predators is etched in colorfully scummy variety. (Fans of King's work will be tickled by a passing reference to the town of "Jerusalem's Lot" as a True Knot hideout.)

Before too many pages pass, we are seeing Danny — Dan — as an adult. And a messed-up fellow he is.

Dan has succumbed to alcoholism — shades of his dad, Jack — to keep the stresses of his powers at bay. He's a drifter, penniless, all his possessions on his back. One day a bus lets him off in Frazier, New Hampshire, and he finds sympathetic people and a job at a curious theme park, Teenytown (a scenario reminiscent of the "Joyland" riff in King's other recent book by that name). In a few years, by 2004, Dan is in AA and putting his life back on track. He's also switched occupations, working a menial job at a hospice and nursing home. There, his "shining" allows him to, non-officially, psychically comfort those patients about to make the transition into death. So gentle and compassionate is Dan that he earns the cognomen of "Doctor Sleep."

In parallel to Dan's story, we witness the 2001 birth of a child (mystically encauled as newborn Danny was), one Abra Stone. Over the next dozen years of story time, we see her grow up with the sometimes spooky manifestation of her own shining talents. Abra has a much nicer and better-adjusted life than poor young Danny — and she's more powerful too, a "lighthouse" to his "flashlight" — and by the ultimate narrative year of 2013, she's a bright, smart teenager who has vaguely sensed Dan's nearby shining presence.

But Abra has also made inadvertent mental contact with the members of the True Knot. And to those merciless feeders she represents mere prey. Rose the Hat dispatches a party of True Knotters to capture the girl for the ritual, torture-laden cannibal feast.

By the middle of the book, barely in time, Abra and Danny have made face-to-face contact and begun to unriddle the nature and threat of the True Knot, with help from some friends, including Abra's pediatrician! Their harrowing battle with the cultists fills the remainder of the suspenseful tale.

Besides giving us this epic battle — which assumes mythic dimensions of good versus evil while still remaining very personal and Darwinian — King is intent on doing several things. For one, he wants to chronicle how Dan Torrance turned himself around with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. The story is replete with keenly witnessed enactments of that struggle. These ring very true and meaningful in a personal way, and in fact King in his "Author's Note" tips his own close involvement by referring to himself as "the well-meaning alcoholic who wrote The Shining." He gets full credit for an unsentimental and touching accounting of Dan's thorny path.

King is also intent on showing us the mutually supportive union of mutant oddballs in a world of "rubes." The True Knot members revel in a perverted version of this affinity, but Dan and Abra illustrate the more wholesome association. In fact, it seems pretty clear that King is invoking here another classic of the SF genre, Theodore Sturgeon's More than Human. The bonding and mentorship between Dan and Abra echo that classic's depiction of the way Sturgeon's hypothetical gestalt personality comes together. Likewise, Dick Hallorann's mentoring continues even from beyond the grave.

In the mighty psychic and physical tumult between the True Knot and the Dan-Abra gestalt, I also sense homage to another fine book, one that's rather forgotten today: The Power, by Frank Robinson. I'd be very surprised if the well-informed King did not reverence this noirish tale of a hidden cabal of telepathic sociopaths, and one innocent man's horrific encounter with them.

King has become a much better writer in all regards than he was thirty- six years ago. His naturalistic elements are more convincing and assured. The over-labored haunted house motifs of the first book have been replaced by another house entirely: the Helen Rivington House hospice center, where Dan matures into his role of Doctor Sleep. And the ontological basis of evil has been broadened from a mere anomalous limited blot — the Overlook Hotel — to a net of True Knot depredations across the whole country. In fact, despite not being gory or splatterpunk, Doctor Sleep's vision of existential malaise makes The Shining look as cozily old-fashioned as M. R. James. And the several codas to the book are structurally and emotionally bravura.

On a sentence-by-sentence level, the new book also excels. King's metaphors and dialogue are less over-the-top than of yore, more inviting and less self-conscious. And consider the fact that Part Three of Doctor Sleep launches a hundred pages of what is effectively one set piece of extended gripping action (Neal Stephenson did something similar in Reamde). The Shining offers nothing comparable and looks somewhat choppy and jagged in retrospect.

Ultimately, King's sequel not only brings out and burnishes everything implicit in The Shining, giving us a totally satisfactory extension and conclusion of the forces and personalities at work there, it also jumps up a plateau to a whole new level of empathy and philosophical questing.

I'm sure the thirty-year-old King is honored, and is manifesting to his elderly avatar as a smiling child who now heads into the ether for a well- deserved rest.

Author of several acclaimed novels and story collections, including Fractal Paisleys, Little Doors, and Neutrino Drag, Paul Di Filippo was nominated for a Sturgeon Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award — all in a single year. William Gibson has called his work "spooky, haunting, and hilarious." His reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Science Fiction Weekly, Asimov's Magazine, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Reviewer: Paul Di Filippo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476727653
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 9,853
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Richard Bachman
      Stephen A. King
      Stephen Edwin King
    2. Hometown:
      Bangor, Maine
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portland, Maine
    1. Education:
      B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Doctor Sleep


  • After Wilmington, the daily drinking stopped.

He’d go a week, sometimes two, without anything stronger than diet soda. He’d wake up without a hangover, which was good. He’d wake up thirsty and miserable—wanting—which wasn’t. Then there would come a night. Or a weekend. Sometimes it was a Budweiser ad on TV that set him off—fresh-faced young people with nary a beergut among them, having cold ones after a vigorous volleyball game. Sometimes it was seeing a couple of nice-looking women having after-work drinks outside some pleasant little café, the kind of place with a French name and lots of hanging plants. The drinks were almost always the kind that came with little umbrellas. Sometimes it was a song on the radio. Once it was Styx, singing “Mr. Roboto.” When he was dry, he was completely dry. When he drank, he got drunk. If he woke up next to a woman, he thought of Deenie and the kid in the Braves t-shirt. He thought of the seventy dollars. He even thought of the stolen blanket, which he had left in the stormdrain. Maybe it was still there. If so, it would be moldy now.

Sometimes he got drunk and missed work. They’d keep him on for awhile—he was good at what he did—but then would come a day. When it did, he would say thank you very much and board a bus. Wilmington became Albany and Albany became Utica. Utica became New Paltz. New Paltz gave way to Sturbridge, where he got drunk at an outdoor folk concert and woke up the next day in jail with a broken wrist. Next up was Weston, after that came a nursing home on Martha’s Vineyard, and boy, that gig didn’t last long. On his third day the head nurse smelled booze on his breath and it was seeya, wouldn’t want to beya. Once he crossed the path of the True Knot without realizing it. Not in the top part of his mind, anyway, although lower down—in the part that shone—there was something. A smell, fading and unpleasant, like the smell of burned rubber on a stretch of turnpike where there has been a bad accident not long before.

From Martha’s Vineyard he took MassLines to Newburyport. There he found work in a don’t-give-much-of-a-shit veterans’ home, the kind of place where old soldiers were sometimes left in wheelchairs outside empty consulting rooms until their peebags overflowed onto the floor. A lousy place for patients, a better one for frequent fuckups like himself, although Dan and a few others did as well by the old soldiers as they could. He even helped a couple get over when their time came. That job lasted awhile, long enough for the Saxophone President to turn the White House keys over to the Cowboy President.

Dan had a few wet nights in Newburyport, but always with the next day off, so it was okay. After one of these mini-sprees, he woke up thinking at least I left the food stamps. That brought on the old psychotic gameshow duo.

Sorry, Deenie, you lose, but nobody leaves empty-handed. What have we got for her, Johnny?

Well, Bob, Deenie didn’t win any money, but she’s leaving with our new home game, several grams of cocaine, and a great big wad of FOOD STAMPS!

What Dan got was a whole month without booze. He did it, he guessed, as a weird kind of penance. It occurred to him more than once that if he’d had Deenie’s address, he would have sent her that crappy seventy bucks long ago. He would have sent her twice that much if it could have ended the memories of the kid in the Braves t-shirt and the reaching starfish hand. But he didn’t have the address, so he stayed sober instead. Scourging himself with whips. Dry ones.

Then one night he passed a drinking establishment called the Fisherman’s Rest and through the window spied a good-looking blonde sitting alone at the bar. She was wearing a tartan skirt that ended at mid-thigh and she looked lonely and he went in and it turned out she was newly divorced and wow, that was a shame, maybe she’d like some company, and three days later he woke up with that same old black hole in his memory. He went to the veterans’ center where he had been mopping floors and changing lightbulbs, hoping for a break, but no dice. Don’t-give-much-of-a-shit wasn’t quite the same as don’t-give-any-shit; close but no cigar. Leaving with the few items that had been in his locker, he recalled an old Bobcat Goldthwait line: “My job was still there, but somebody else was doing it.” So he boarded another bus, this one headed for New Hampshire, and before he got on, he bought a glass container of intoxicating liquid.

He sat all the way in back in the Drunk Seat, the one by the toilet. Experience had taught him that if you intended to spend a bus trip getting smashed, that was the seat to take. He reached into the brown paper sack, loosened the cap on the glass container of intoxicating liquid, and smelled the brown smell. That smell could talk, although it only had one thing to say: Hello, old friend.

He thought Canny.

He thought Mama.

He thought of Tommy going to school by now. Always assuming good old Uncle Randy hadn’t killed him.

He thought, The only one who can put on the brakes is you.

This thought had come to him many times before, but now it was followed by a new one. You don’t have to live this way if you don’t want to. You can, of course . . . but you don’t have to.

That voice was so strange, so unlike any of his usual mental dialogues, that he thought at first he must be picking it up from someone else—he could do that, but he rarely got uninvited transmissions anymore. He had learned to shut them off. Nevertheless he looked up the aisle, almost positive he would see someone looking back at him. No one was. Everyone was sleeping, talking with their seatmates, or staring out at the gray New England day.

You don’t have to live this way if you don’t want to.

If only that were true. Nevertheless, he tightened the cap on the bottle and put it on the seat beside him. Twice he picked it up. The first time he put it down. The second time he reached into the bag and unscrewed the cap again, but as he did, the bus pulled into the New Hampshire welcome area just across the state line. Dan filed into the Burger King with the rest of the passengers, pausing only long enough to toss the paper bag into one of the trash containers. Stenciled on the side of the tall green can were the words IF YOU NO LONGER NEED IT, LEAVE IT HERE.

Wouldn’t that be nice, Dan thought, hearing the clink as it landed. Oh God, wouldn’t that be nice.

An hour and a half later, the bus passed a sign reading WELCOME TO FRAZIER, WHERE THERE’S A REASON FOR EVERY SEASON! And, below that, HOME OF TEENYTOWN!

The bus stopped at the Frazier Community Center to take on passengers, and from the empty seat next to Dan, where the bottle had rested for the first part of the trip, Tony spoke up. Here was a voice Dan recognized, although Tony hadn’t spoken so clearly in years.

(this is the place)

As good as any, Dan thought.

He grabbed his duffel from the overhead rack and got off. He stood on the sidewalk and watched the bus pull away. To the west, the White Mountains sawed at the horizon. In all his wanderings he had avoided mountains, especially the jagged monsters that broke the country in two. Now he thought, I’ve come back to the high country after all. I guess I always knew I would. But these mountains were gentler than the ones that still sometimes haunted his dreams, and he thought he could live with them, at least for a little while. If he could stop thinking about the kid in the Braves t-shirt, that is. If he could stop using the booze. There came a time when you realized that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.

A snow flurry, fine as wedding lace, danced across the air. He could see that the shops lining the wide main street catered mostly to the skiers who’d come in December and the summer people who’d come in June. There would probably be leaf-peepers in September and October, too, but this was what passed for spring in northern New England, an edgy eight weeks chrome-plated with cold and damp. Frazier apparently hadn’t figured out a reason for this season yet, because the main drag—Cranmore Avenue—was all but deserted.

Dan slung the duffel over his shoulder and strolled slowly north. He stopped outside a wrought-iron fence to look at a rambling Victorian home flanked on both sides by newer brick buildings. These were connected to the Victorian by covered walkways. There was a turret at the top of the mansion on the left side, but none on the right, giving the place a queerly unbalanced look that Dan sort of liked. It was as if the big old girl were saying Yeah, part of me fell off. What the fuck. Someday it’ll happen to you. He started to smile. Then the smile died.

Tony was in the window of the turret room, looking down at him. He saw Dan looking up and waved. The same solemn wave Dan remembered from his childhood, when Tony had come often. Dan closed his eyes, then opened them. Tony was gone. Had never been there in the first place, how could he have been? The window was boarded up.

The sign on the lawn, gold letters on a green background the same shade as the house itself, read HELEN RIVINGTON HOUSE.

They have a cat in there, he thought. A gray cat named Audrey.

This turned out to be partly right and partly wrong. There was a cat, and it was gray, but it was a neutered tom and its name wasn’t Audrey.

Dan looked at the sign for a long time—long enough for the clouds to part and send down a biblical beam—and then he walked on. Although the sun was now bright enough to twinkle the chrome of the few slant-parked cars in front of Olympia Sports and the Fresh Day Spa, the snow still swirled, making Dan think of something his mother had said during similar spring weather, long ago, when they had lived in Vermont: The devil’s beating his wife.

A block or two up from the hospice, Dan stopped again. Across the street from the town municipal building was the Frazier town common. There was an acre or two of lawn, just beginning to show green, a bandstand, a softball field, a paved basketball half-court, picnic tables, even a putting green. All very nice, but what interested him was a sign reading

VISIT TEENYTOWN

FRAZIER’S “SMALL WONDER”

AND RIDE THE TEENYTOWN RAILWAY!

It didn’t take a genius to see that Teenytown was a teeny replica of Cranmore Avenue. There was the Methodist church he had passed, its steeple rising all of seven feet into the air; there was the Music Box Theater; Spondulicks Ice Cream; Mountain Books; Shirts & Stuff; the Frazier Gallery, Fine Prints Our Specialty. There was also a perfect waist-high miniature of the single-turreted Helen Rivington House, although the two flanking brick buildings had been omitted. Perhaps, Dan thought, because they were butt-ugly, especially compared to the centerpiece.

Beyond Teenytown was a miniature train with TEENYTOWN RAILWAY painted on passenger cars that were surely too small to hold anyone larger than toddler size. Smoke was puffing from the stack of a bright red locomotive about the size of a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. He could hear the rumble of a diesel engine. Printed on the side of the loco, in old-fashioned gold flake letters, was THE HELEN RIVINGTON. Town patroness, Dan supposed. Somewhere in Frazier there was probably a street named after her, too.

He stood where he was for a bit, although the sun had gone back in and the day had grown cold enough for him to see his breath. As a kid he’d always wanted an electric train set and had never had one. Yonder in Teenytown was a jumbo version kids of all ages could love.

He shifted his duffel bag to his other shoulder and crossed the street. Hearing Tony again—and seeing him—was unsettling, but right now he was glad he’d stopped here. Maybe this really was the place he’d been looking for, the one where he’d finally find a way to right his dangerously tipped life.

You take yourself with you, wherever you go.

He pushed the thought into a mental closet. It was a thing he was good at. There was all sorts of stuff in that closet.

A cowling surrounded the locomotive on both sides, but he spied a footstool standing beneath one low eave of the Teenytown Station, carried it over, and stood on it. The driver’s cockpit contained two sheepskin-covered bucket seats. It looked to Dan as if they had been scavenged from an old Detroit muscle car. The cockpit and controls also looked like modified Detroit stock, with the exception of an old-fashioned Z-shaped shifter jutting up from the floor. There was no shift pattern; the original knob had been replaced with a grinning skull wearing a bandanna faded from red to pallid pink by years of gripping hands. The top half of the steering wheel had been cut off, so that what remained looked like the steering yoke of a light plane. Painted in black on the dashboard, fading but legible, was TOP SPEED 40 DO NOT EXCEED.

“Like it?” The voice came from directly behind him.

Dan wheeled around, almost falling off the stool. A big weathered hand gripped his forearm, steadying him. It was a guy who looked to be in his late fifties or early sixties, wearing a padded denim jacket and a red-checked hunting cap with the earflaps down. In his free hand was a toolkit with PROPERTY OF FRAZIER MUNICIPAL DEPT Dymo-taped across the top.

“Hey, sorry,” Dan said, stepping off the stool. “I didn’t mean to—”

“S’all right. People stop to look all the time. Usually model-train buffs. It’s like a dream come true for em. We keep em away in the summer when the place is jumpin and the Riv runs every hour or so, but this time of year there’s no we, just me. And I don’t mind.” He stuck out his hand. “Billy Freeman. Town maintenance crew. The Riv’s my baby.”

Dan took the offered hand. “Dan Torrance.”

Billy Freeman eyed the duffel. “Just got off the bus, I ’magine. Or are you ridin your thumb?”

“Bus,” Dan said. “What does this thing have for an engine?”

“Well now, that’s interesting. Probably never heard of the Chevrolet Veraneio, didja?”

He hadn’t, but knew anyway. Because Freeman knew. Dan didn’t think he’d had such a clear shine in years. It brought a ghost of delight that went back to earliest childhood, before he had discovered how dangerous the shining could be.

“Brazilian Suburban, wasn’t it? Turbodiesel.”

Freeman’s bushy eyebrows shot up and he grinned. “Goddam right! Casey Kingsley, he’s the boss, bought it at an auction last year. It’s a corker. Pulls like a sonofabitch. The instrument panel’s from a Suburban, too. The seats I put in myself.”

The shine was fading now, but Dan got one last thing. “From a GTO Judge.”

Freeman beamed. “That’s right. Found em in a junkyard over Sunapee way. The shifter’s a high-hat from a 1961 Mack. Nine-speed. Nice, huh? You lookin for work or just lookin?”

Dan blinked at the sudden change of direction. Was he looking for work? He supposed he was. The hospice he’d passed on his amble up Cranmore Avenue would be the logical place to start, and he had an idea—didn’t know if it was the shining or just ordinary intuition—that they’d be hiring, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to go there just yet. Seeing Tony in the turret window had been unsettling.

Also, Danny, you want to be a little bit farther down the road from your last drink before you show up there askin for a job application form. Even if the only thing they got is runnin a buffer on the night shift.

Dick Hallorann’s voice. Christ. Dan hadn’t thought of Dick in a long time. Maybe not since Wilmington.

With summer coming—a season for which Frazier most definitely had a reason—people would be hiring for all sorts of things. But if he had to choose between a Chili’s at the local mall and Teenytown, he definitely chose Teenytown. He opened his mouth to answer Freeman’s question, but Hallorann spoke up again before he could.

You’re closing in on the big three-oh, honey. You could be runnin out of chances.

Meanwhile, Billy Freeman was looking at him with open and artless curiosity.

“Yes,” he said. “I’m looking for work.”

“Workin in Teenytown, wouldn’t last long, y’know. Once summer comes and the schools let out, Mr. Kingsley hires local. Eighteen to twenty-two, mostly. The selectmen expect it. Also, kids work cheap.” He grinned, exposing holes where a couple of teeth had once resided. “Still, there are worse places to make a buck. Outdoor work don’t look so good today, but it won’t be cold like this much longer.”

No, it wouldn’t be. There were tarps over a lot of stuff on the common, but they’d be coming off soon, exposing the superstructure of small-town resort summer: hotdog stands, ice cream booths, a circular something that looked to Dan like a merry-go-round. And there was the train, of course, the one with the teeny passenger cars and the big turbodiesel engine. If he could stay off the sauce and prove trustworthy, Freeman or the boss—Kingsley—might let him drive it a time or two. He’d like that. Farther down the line, when the municipal department hired the just-out-of-school local kids, there was always the hospice.

If he decided to stay, that was.

You better stay somewhere, Hallorann said—this was Dan’s day for hearing voices and seeing visions, it seemed. You better stay somewhere soon, or you won’t be able to stay anywhere.

He surprised himself by laughing. “It sounds good to me, Mr. Freeman. It sounds really good.”

“Done any grounds maintenance?” Billy Freeman asked. They were walking slowly along the flank of the train. The tops of the cars only came up to Dan’s chest, making him feel like a giant.

“I can weed, plant, and paint. I know how to run a leaf blower and a chainsaw. I can fix small engines if the problem isn’t too complicated. And I can manage a riding mower without running over any little kids. The train, now . . . that I don’t know about.”

“You’d need to get cleared by Kingsley for that. Insurance and shit. Listen, have you got references? Mr. Kingsley won’t hire without em.”

“A few. Mostly janitorial and hospital orderly stuff. Mr. Freeman—”

“Just Billy’ll do.”

“Your train doesn’t look like it could carry passengers, Billy. Where would they sit?”

Billy grinned. “Wait here. See if you think this is as funny as I do. I never get tired of it.”

Freeman went back to the locomotive and leaned in. The engine, which had been idling lazily, began to rev and send up rhythmic jets of dark smoke. There was a hydraulic whine along the whole length of The Helen Rivington. Suddenly the roofs of the passenger wagons and the yellow caboose—nine cars in all—began to rise. To Dan it looked like the tops of nine identical convertibles all going up at the same time. He bent down to look in the windows and saw hard plastic seats running down the center of each car. Six in the passenger wagons and two in the caboose. Fifty in all.

When Billy came back, Dan was grinning. “Your train must look very weird when it’s full of passengers.”

“Oh yeah. People laugh their asses off and burn yea film, takin pitchers. Watch this.”

There was a steel-plated step at the end of each passenger car. Billy used one, walked down the aisle, and sat. A peculiar optical illusion took hold, making him look larger than life. He waved grandly to Dan, who could imagine fifty Brobdingnagians, dwarfing the train upon which they rode, pulling grandly out of Teenytown Station.

As Billy Freeman rose and stepped back down, Dan applauded. “I’ll bet you sell about a billion postcards between Memorial Day and Labor Day.”

“Bet your ass.” Billy rummaged in his coat pocket, brought out a battered pack of Duke cigarettes—a cut-rate brand Dan knew well, sold in bus stations and convenience stores all over America—and held it out. Dan took one. Billy lit them up.

“I better enjoy it while I can,” Billy said, looking at his cigarette. “Smoking’ll be banned here before too many more years. Frazier Women’s Club’s already talkin about it. Bunch of old biddies if you ask me, but you know what they say—the hand that rocks the fuckin cradle rules the fuckin world.” He jetted smoke from his nostrils. “Not that most of them have rocked a cradle since Nixon was president. Or needed a Tampax, for that matter.”

“Might not be the worst thing,” Dan said. “Kids copy what they see in their elders.” He thought of his father. The only thing Jack Torrance had liked better than a drink, his mother had once said, not long before she died, was a dozen drinks. Of course what Wendy had liked was her cigarettes, and they had killed her. Once upon a time Dan had promised himself he’d never get going with that habit, either. He had come to believe that life was a series of ironic ambushes.

Billy Freeman looked at him, one eye squinted mostly shut. “I get feelins about people sometimes, and I got one about you.” He pronounced got as gut, in the New England fashion. “Had it even before you turned around and I saw your face. I think you might be the right guy for the spring cleanin I’m lookin at between now and the end of May. That’s how it feels to me, and I trust my feelins. Prob’ly crazy.”

Dan didn’t think it was crazy at all, and now he understood why he had heard Billy Freeman’s thoughts so clearly, and without even trying. He remembered something Dick Hallorann had told him once—Dick, who had been his first adult friend. Lots of people have got a little of what I call the shining, but mostly it’s just a twinkle—the kind of thing that lets em know what the DJ’s going to play next on the radio or that the phone’s gonna ring pretty soon.

Billy Freeman had that little twinkle. That gleam.

“I guess this Cary Kingsley would be the one to talk to, huh?”

“Casey, not Cary. But yeah, he’s the man. He’s run municipal services in this town for twenty-five years.”

“When would be a good time?”

“Right about now, I sh’d think.” Billy pointed. “Yonder pile of bricks across the street’s the Frazier Municipal Building and town offices. Mr. Kingsley’s in the basement, end of the hall. You’ll know you’re there when you hear disco music comin down through the ceiling. There’s a ladies’ aerobics class in the gym every Tuesday and Thursday.”

“All right,” Dan said, “that’s just what I’m going to do.”

“Got your references?”

“Yes.” Dan patted the duffel, which he had leaned against Teenytown Station.

“And you didn’t write them yourself, nor nothin?”

Danny smiled. “No, they’re straight goods.”

“Then go get im, tiger.”

“Okay.”

“One other thing,” Billy said as Dan started away. “He’s death on drinkin. If you’re a drinkin man and he asts you, my advice is . . . lie.”

Dan nodded and raised his hand to show he understood. That was a lie he had told before.

Judging by his vein-congested nose, Casey Kingsley had not always been death on drinkin. He was a big man who didn’t so much inhabit his small, cluttered office as wear it. Right now he was rocked back in the chair behind his desk, going through Dan’s references, which were neatly kept in a blue folder. The back of Kingsley’s head almost touched the downstroke of a plain wooden cross hanging on the wall beside a framed photo of his family. In the picture, a younger, slimmer Kingsley posed with his wife and three bathing-suited kiddos on a beach somewhere. Through the ceiling, only slightly muted, came the sound of the Village People singing “YMCA,” accompanied by the enthusiastic stomp of many feet. Dan imagined a gigantic centipede. One that had recently been to the local hairdresser and was wearing a bright red leotard about nine yards long.

“Uh-huh,” Kingsley said. “Uh-huh . . . yeah . . . right, right, right . . .”

There was a glass jar filled with hard candies on the corner of his desk. Without looking up from Dan’s thin sheaf of references, he took off the top, fished one out, and popped it into his mouth. “Help yourself,” he said.

“No, thank you,” Dan said.

A queer thought came to him. Once upon a time, his father had probably sat in a room like this, being interviewed for the position of caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. What had he been thinking? That he really needed a job? That it was his last chance? Maybe. Probably. But of course, Jack Torrance had had hostages to fortune. Dan did not. He could drift on for awhile if this didn’t work out. Or try his luck at the hospice. But . . . he liked the town common. He liked the train, which made adults of ordinary size look like Goliaths. He liked Teenytown, which was absurd and cheerful and somehow brave in its self-important small-town-America way. And he liked Billy Freeman, who had a pinch of the shining and probably didn’t even know it.

Above them, “YMCA” was replaced by “I Will Survive.” As if he had just been waiting for a new tune, Kingsley slipped Dan’s references back into the folder’s pocket and passed them across the desk.

He’s going to turn me down.

But after a day of accurate intuitions, this one was off the mark. “These look fine, but it strikes me that you’d be a lot more comfortable working at Central New Hampshire Hospital or the hospice here in town. You might even qualify for Home Helpers—I see you’ve got a few medical and first aid qualifications. Know your way around a defibrillator, according to these. Heard of Home Helpers?”

“Yes. And I thought about the hospice. Then I saw the town common, and Teenytown, and the train.”

Kingsley grunted. “Probably wouldn’t mind taking a turn at the controls, would you?”

Dan lied without hesitation. “No, sir, I don’t think I’d care for that.” To admit he’d like to sit in the scavenged GTO driver’s seat and lay his hands on that cut-down steering wheel would almost certainly lead to a discussion of his driver’s license, then to a further discussion of how he’d lost it, and then to an invitation to leave Mr. Casey Kingsley’s office forthwith. “I’m more of a rake-and-lawnmower guy.”

“More of a short-term employment guy, too, from the looks of this paperwork.”

“I’ll settle someplace soon. I’ve worked most of the wanderlust out of my system, I think.” He wondered if that sounded as bullshitty to Kingsley as it did to him.

“Short term’s about all I can offer you,” Kingsley said. “Once the schools are out for the summer—”

“Billy told me. If I decide to stay once summer comes, I’ll try the hospice. In fact, I might put in an early application, unless you’d rather I don’t do that.”

“I don’t care either way.” Kingsley looked at him curiously. “Dying people don’t bother you?”

Your mother died there, Danny thought. The shine wasn’t gone after all, it seemed; it was hardly even hiding. You were holding her hand when she passed. Her name was Ellen.

“No,” he said. Then, with no reason why, he added: “We’re all dying. The world’s just a hospice with fresh air.”

“A philosopher, yet. Well, Mr. Torrance, I think I’m going to take you on. I trust Billy’s judgment—he rarely makes a mistake about people. Just don’t show up late, don’t show up drunk, and don’t show up with red eyes and smelling of weed. If you do any of those things, down the road you’ll go, because the Rivington House won’t have a thing to do with you—I’ll make sure of it. Are we clear on that?”

Dan felt a throb of resentment

(officious prick)

but suppressed it. This was Kingsley’s playing field and Kingsley’s ball. “Crystal.”

“You can start tomorrow, if that suits. There are plenty of rooming houses in town. I’ll make a call or two if you want. Can you stand paying ninety a week until your first paycheck comes in?”

“Yes. Thank you, Mr. Kingsley.”

Kingsley waved a hand. “In the meantime, I’d recommend the Red Roof Inn. My ex-brother-in-law runs it, he’ll give you a rate. We good?”

“We are.” It had all happened with remarkable speed, the way the last few pieces drop into a complicated thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. Dan told himself not to trust the feeling.

Kingsley rose. He was a big man and it was a slow process. Dan also got to his feet, and when Kingsley stuck his ham of a hand over the cluttered desk, Dan shook it. Now from overhead came the sound of KC and the Sunshine Band telling the world that’s the way they liked it, oh-ho, uh-huh.

“I hate that boogie-down shit,” Kingsley said.

No, Danny thought. You don’t. It reminds you of your daughter, the one who doesn’t come around much anymore. Because she still hasn’t forgiven you.

“You all right?” Kingsley asked. “You look a little pale.”

“Just tired. It was a long bus ride.”

The shining was back, and strong. The question was, why now?

Three days into the job, ones Dan spent painting the bandstand and blowing last fall’s dead leaves off the common, Kingsley ambled across Cranmore Avenue and told him he had a room on Eliot Street, if he wanted it. Private bathroom part of the deal, tub and shower. Eighty-five a week. Dan wanted it.

“Go on over on your lunch break,” Kingsley said. “Ask for Mrs. Robertson.” He pointed a finger that was showing the first gnarls of arthritis. “And don’t you fuck up, Sunny Jim, because she’s an old pal of mine. Remember that I vouched for you on some pretty thin paper and Billy Freeman’s intuition.”

Dan said he wouldn’t fuck up, but the extra sincerity he tried to inject into his voice sounded phony to his own ears. He was thinking of his father again, reduced to begging jobs from a wealthy old friend after losing his teaching position in Vermont. It was strange to feel sympathy for a man who had almost killed you, but the sympathy was there. Had people felt it necessary to tell his father not to fuck up? Probably. And Jack Torrance had fucked up anyway. Spectacularly. Five stars. Drinking was undoubtedly a part of it, but when you were down, some guys just seemed to feel an urge to walk up your back and plant a foot on your neck instead of helping you to stand. It was lousy, but so much of human nature was. Of course when you were running with the bottom dogs, what you mostly saw were paws, claws, and assholes.

“And see if Billy can find some boots that’ll fit you. He’s squirreled away about a dozen pairs in the equipment shed, although the last time I looked, only half of them matched.”

The day was sunny, the air balmy. Dan, who was working in jeans and a Utica Blue Sox t-shirt, looked up at the nearly cloudless sky and then back at Casey Kingsley.

“Yeah, I know how it looks, but this is mountain country, pal. NOAA claims we’re going to have a nor’easter, and it’ll drop maybe a foot. Won’t last long—poor man’s fertilizer is what New Hampshire folks call April snow—but there’s also gonna be gale-force winds. So they say. I hope you can use a snowblower as well as a leaf blower.” He paused. “I also hope your back’s okay, because you and Billy’ll be picking up plenty of dead limbs tomorrow. Might be cutting up some fallen trees, too. You okay with a chainsaw?”

“Yes, sir,” Dan said.

“Good.”

Dan and Mrs. Robertson came to amicable terms; she even offered him an egg salad sandwich and a cup of coffee in the communal kitchen. He took her up on it, expecting all the usual questions about what had brought him to Frazier and where he had been before. Refreshingly, there were none. Instead she asked him if he had time to help her close the shutters on the downstairs windows in case they really did get what she called “a cap o’ wind.” Dan agreed. There weren’t many mottoes he lived by, but one was always get in good with the landlady; you never know when you might have to ask her for a rent extension.

Back on the common, Billy was waiting with a list of chores. The day before, the two of them had taken the tarps off all the kiddie rides. That afternoon they put them back on, and shuttered the various booths and concessions. The day’s final job was backing the Riv into her shed. Then they sat in folding chairs beside the Teenytown station, smoking.

“Tell you what, Danno,” Billy said, “I’m one tired hired man.”

“You’re not the only one.” But he felt okay, muscles limber and tingling. He’d forgotten how good outdoors work could be when you weren’t also working off a hangover.

The sky had scummed over with clouds. Billy looked up at them and sighed. “I hope to God it don’t snow n blow as hard as the radio says, but it probably will. I found you some boots. They don’t look like much, but at least they match.”

Dan took the boots with him when he walked across town to his new accommodations. By then the wind was picking up and the day was growing dark. That morning, Frazier had felt on the edge of summer. This evening the air held the face-freezing dampness of coming snow. The side streets were deserted and the houses buttoned up.

Dan turned the corner from Morehead Street onto Eliot and paused. Blowing down the sidewalk, attended by a skeletal scutter of last year’s autumn leaves, was a battered tophat, such as a magician might wear. Or maybe an actor in an old musical comedy, he thought. Looking at it made him feel cold in his bones, because it wasn’t there. Not really.

He closed his eyes, slow-counted to five with the strengthening wind flapping the legs of his jeans around his shins, then opened them again. The leaves were still there, but the tophat was gone. It had just been the shining, producing one of its vivid, unsettling, and usually senseless visions. It was always stronger when he’d been sober for a little while, but never as strong as it had been since coming to Frazier. It was as if the air here were different, somehow. More conducive to those strange transmissions from Planet Elsewhere. Special.

The way the Overlook was special.

“No,” he said. “No, I don’t believe that.”

A few drinks and it all goes away, Danny. Do you believe that?

Unfortunately, he did.

Mrs. Robertson’s was a rambling old Colonial, and Dan’s third-floor room had a view of the mountains to the west. That was a panorama he could have done without. His recollections of the Overlook had faded to hazy gray over the years, but as he unpacked his few things, a memory surfaced . . . and it was a kind of surfacing, like some nasty organic artifact (the decayed body of a small animal, say) floating to the surface of a deep lake.

It was dusk when the first real snow came. We stood on the porch of that big old empty hotel, my dad in the middle, my mom on one side, me on the other. He had his arms around us. It was okay then. He wasn’t drinking then. At first the snow fell in perfectly straight lines, but then the wind picked up and it started to blow sideways, drifting against the sides of the porch and coating those—

He tried to block it off, but it got through.

—those hedge animals. The ones that sometimes moved around when you weren’t looking.

He turned away from the window, his arms rashed out in gooseflesh. He’d gotten a sandwich from the Red Apple store and had planned to eat it while he started the John Sandford paperback he’d also picked up at the Red Apple, but after a few bites he rewrapped the sandwich and put it on the windowsill, where it would stay cold. He might eat the rest later, although he didn’t think he’d be staying up much past nine tonight; if he got a hundred pages into the book, he’d be doing well.

Outside, the wind continued to rise. Every now and then it gave a bloodcurdling scream around the eaves that made him look up from his book. Around eight thirty, the snow began. It was heavy and wet, quickly coating his window and blocking his view of the mountains. In a way, that was worse. The snow had blocked the windows in the Overlook, too. First just on the first floor . . . then on the second . . . and finally on the third.

Then they had been entombed with the lively dead.

My father thought they’d make him the manager. All he had to do was show his loyalty. By giving them his son.

“His only begotten son,” Dan muttered, then looked around as if someone else had spoken . . . and indeed, he did not feel alone. Not quite alone. The wind shrieked down the side of the building again, and he shuddered.

Not too late to go back down to the Red Apple. Grab a bottle of something. Put all these unpleasant thoughts to bed.

No. He was going to read his book. Lucas Davenport was on the case, and he was going to read his book.

He closed it at quarter past nine and got into another rooming-house bed. I won’t sleep, he thought. Not with the wind screaming like that.

But he did.

He was sitting at the mouth of the stormdrain, looking down a scrubgrass slope at the Cape Fear River and the bridge that spanned it. The night was clear and the moon was full. There was no wind, no snow. And the Overlook was gone. Even if it hadn’t burned to the ground during the tenure of the Peanut Farmer President, it would have been over a thousand miles from here. So why was he so frightened?

Because he wasn’t alone, that was why. There was someone behind him.

“Want some advice, Honeybear?”

The voice was liquid, wavering. Dan felt a chill go rushing down his back. His legs were colder still, prickled out in starpoints of gooseflesh. He could see those white bumps because he was wearing shorts. Of course he was wearing shorts. His brain might be that of a grown man, but it was currently sitting on top of a five-year-old’s body.

Honeybear. Who—?

But he knew. He had told Deenie his name, but she didn’t use it, just called him Honeybear instead.

You don’t remember that, and besides, this is just a dream.

Of course it was. He was in Frazier, New Hampshire, sleeping while a spring snowstorm howled outside Mrs. Robertson’s rooming house. Still, it seemed wiser not to turn around. And safer—that, too.

“No advice,” he said, looking out at the river and the full moon. “I’ve been advised by experts. The bars and barbershops are full of them.”

“Stay away from the woman in the hat, Honeybear.”

What hat? he could have asked, but really, why bother? He knew the hat she was talking about, because he had seen it blowing down the sidewalk. Black as sin on the outside, lined with white silk on the inside.

“She’s the Queen Bitch of Castle Hell. If you mess with her, she’ll eat you alive.”

He turned his head. He couldn’t help it. Deenie was sitting behind him in the stormdrain with the bum’s blanket wrapped around her naked shoulders. Her hair was plastered to her cheeks. Her face was bloated and dripping. Her eyes were cloudy. She was dead, probably years in her grave.

You’re not real, Dan tried to say, but no words came out. He was five again, Danny was five, the Overlook was ashes and bones, but here was a dead woman, one he had stolen from.

“It’s all right,” she said. Bubbling voice coming from a swollen throat. “I sold the coke. Stepped on it first with a little sugar and got two hundred.” She grinned, and water spilled through her teeth. “I liked you, Honeybear. That’s why I came to warn you. Stay away from the woman in the hat.”

“False face,” Dan said . . . but it was Danny’s voice, the high, frail, chanting voice of a child. “False face, not there, not real.”

He closed his eyes as he had often closed them when he had seen terrible things in the Overlook. The woman began to scream, but he wouldn’t open his eyes. The screaming went on, rising and falling, and he realized it was the scream of the wind. He wasn’t in Colorado and he wasn’t in North Carolina. He was in New Hampshire. He’d had a bad dream, but the dream was over.

According to his Timex, it was two in the morning. The room was cold, but his arms and chest were slimy with sweat.

Want some advice, Honeybear?

“No,” he said. “Not from you.”

She’s dead.

There was no way he could know that, but he did. Deenie—who had looked like the goddess of the Western world in her thigh-high leather skirt and cork sandals—was dead. He even knew how she had done it. Took pills, pinned up her hair, climbed into a bathtub filled with warm water, went to sleep, slid under, drowned.

The roar of the wind was dreadfully familiar, loaded with hollow threat. Winds blew everywhere, but it only sounded like this in the high country. It was as if some angry god were pounding the world with an air mallet.

I used to call his booze the Bad Stuff, Dan thought. Only sometimes it’s the Good Stuff. When you wake up from a nightmare that you know is at least fifty percent shining, it’s the Very Good Stuff.

One drink would send him back to sleep. Three would guarantee not just sleep but dreamless sleep. Sleep was nature’s doctor, and right now Dan Torrance felt sick and in need of strong medicine.

Nothing’s open. You lucked out there.

Well. Maybe.

He turned on his side, and something rolled against his back when he did. No, not something. Someone. Someone had gotten into bed with him. Deenie had gotten into bed with him. Only it felt too small to be Deenie. It felt more like a—

He scrambled out of bed, landed awkwardly on the floor, and looked over his shoulder. It was Deenie’s little boy, Tommy. The right side of his skull was caved in. Bone splinters protruded through bloodstained fair hair. Gray scaly muck—brains—was drying on one cheek. He couldn’t be alive with such a hellacious wound, but he was. He reached out to Dan with one starfish hand.

“Canny,” he said.

The screaming began again, only this time it wasn’t Deenie and it wasn’t the wind.

This time it was him.

When he woke for the second time—real waking, this time—he wasn’t screaming at all, only making a kind of low growling deep in his chest. He sat up, gasping, the bedclothes puddled around his waist. There was no one else in his bed, but the dream hadn’t yet dissolved, and looking wasn’t enough. He threw back the bedclothes, and that still wasn’t enough. He ran his hands down the bottom sheet, feeling for fugitive warmth, or a dent that might have been made by small hips and buttocks. Nothing. Of course not. So then he looked under the bed and saw only his borrowed boots.

The wind was blowing less strongly now. The storm wasn’t over, but it was winding down.

He went to the bathroom, then whirled and looked back, as if expecting to surprise someone. There was just the bed, with the covers now lying on the floor at the foot. He turned on the light over the sink, splashed his face with cold water, and sat down on the closed lid of the commode, taking long breaths, one after the other. He thought about getting up and grabbing a cigarette from the pack lying beside his book on the room’s one small table, but his legs felt rubbery and he wasn’t sure they’d hold him. Not yet, anyway. So he sat. He could see the bed and the bed was empty. The whole room was empty. No problem there.

Only . . . it didn’t feel empty. Not yet. When it did, he supposed he would go back to bed. But not to sleep. For this night, sleep was done.

Seven years before, working as an orderly in a Tulsa hospice, Dan had made friends with an elderly psychiatrist who was suffering from terminal liver cancer. One day, when Emil Kemmer had been reminiscing (not very discreetly) about a few of his more interesting cases, Dan had confessed that ever since childhood, he had suffered from what he called double dreaming. Was Kemmer familiar with the phenomenon? Was there a name for it?

Kemmer had been a large man in his prime—the old black-and-white wedding photo he kept on his bedside table attested to that—but cancer is the ultimate diet program, and on the day of this conversation, his weight had been approximately the same as his age, which was ninety-one. His mind had still been sharp, however, and now, sitting on the closed toilet and listening to the dying storm outside, Dan remembered the old man’s sly smile.

“Usually,” he had said in his heavy German accent, “I am paid for my diagnoses, Daniel.”

Dan had grinned. “Guess I’m out of luck, then.”

“Perhaps not.” Kemmer studied Dan. His eyes were bright blue. Although he knew it was outrageously unfair, Dan couldn’t help imagining those eyes under a Waffen-SS coal-scuttle helmet. “There’s a rumor in this deathhouse that you are a kid with a talent for helping people die. Is this true?”

“Sometimes,” Dan said cautiously. “Not always.” The truth was almost always.

“When the time comes, will you help me?”

“If I can, of course.”

“Good.” Kemmer sat up, a laboriously painful process, but when Dan moved to help, Kemmer had waved him away. “What you call double dreaming is well known to psychiatrists, and of particular interest to Jungians, who call it false awakening. The first dream is usually a lucid dream, meaning the dreamer knows he is dreaming—”

“Yes!” Dan cried. “But the second one—”

“The dreamer believes he is awake,” Kemmer said. “Jung made much of this, even ascribing precognitive powers to these dreams . . . but of course we know better, don’t we, Dan?”

“Of course,” Dan had agreed.

“The poet Edgar Allan Poe described the false awakening phenomenon long before Carl Jung was born. He wrote, ‘All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.’ Have I answered your question?”

“I think so. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Now I believe I could drink a little juice. Apple, please.”

Precognitive powers . . . but of course we know better.

Even if he hadn’t kept the shining almost entirely to himself over the years, Dan would not have presumed to contradict a dying man . . . especially one with such coldly inquisitive blue eyes. The truth, however, was that one or both of his double dreams were often predictive, usually in ways he only half understood or did not understand at all. But as he sat on the toilet seat in his underwear, now shivering (and not just because the room was cold), he understood much more than he wanted to.

Tommy was dead. Murdered by his abusive uncle, most likely. The mother had committed suicide not long after. As for the rest of the dream . . . or the phantom hat he’d seen earlier, spinning down the sidewalk . . .

Stay away from the woman in the hat. She’s the Queen Bitch of Castle Hell.

“I don’t care,” Dan said.

If you mess with her, she’ll eat you alive.

He had no intention of meeting her, let alone messing with her. As for Deenie, he wasn’t responsible for either her short-fused brother or her child neglect. He didn’t even have to carry around the guilt about her lousy seventy dollars anymore; she had sold the cocaine—he was sure that part of the dream was absolutely true—and they were square. More than square, actually.

What he cared about was getting a drink. Getting drunk, not to put too fine a point on it. Standing-up, falling-down, pissy-assed drunk. Warm morning sunshine was good, and the pleasant feeling of muscles that had been worked hard, and waking up in the morning without a hangover, but the price—all these crazy dreams and visions, not to mention the random thoughts of passing strangers that sometimes found their way past his defenses—was too high.

Too high to bear.

He sat in the room’s only chair and read his John Sandford novel by the light of the room’s only lamp until the two town churches with bells rang in seven o’clock. Then he pulled on his new (new to him, anyway) boots and duffel coat. He headed out into a world that had changed and softened. There wasn’t a sharp edge anywhere. The snow was still falling, but gently now.

I should get out of here. Go back to Florida. Fuck New Hampshire, where it probably even snows on the Fourth of July in odd-numbered years.

Hallorann’s voice answered him, the tone as kind as he remembered from his childhood, when Dan had been Danny, but there was hard steel underneath. You better stay somewhere, honey, or you won’t be able to stay anywhere.

“Fuck you, oldtimer,” he muttered.

He went back to the Red Apple because the stores that sold hard liquor wouldn’t be open for at least another hour. He walked slowly back and forth between the wine cooler and the beer cooler, debating, and finally decided if he was going to get drunk, he might as well do it as nastily as possible. He grabbed two bottles of Thunderbird (eighteen percent alcohol, a good enough number when whiskey was temporarily out of reach), started up the aisle to the register, then stopped.

Give it one more day. Give yourself one more chance.

He supposed he could do that, but why? So he could wake up in bed with Tommy again? Tommy with half of his skull caved in? Or maybe next time it would be Deenie, who had lain in that tub for two days before the super finally got tired of knocking, used his passkey, and found her. He couldn’t know that, if Emil Kemmer had been here he would have agreed most emphatically, but he did. He did know. So why bother?

Maybe this hyperawareness will pass. Maybe it’s just a phase, the psychic equivalent of the DTs. Maybe if you just give it a little more time . . .

But time changed. That was something only drunks and junkies understood. When you couldn’t sleep, when you were afraid to look around because of what you might see, time elongated and grew sharp teeth.

“Help you?” the clerk asked, and Dan knew

( fucking shining fucking thing)

that he was making the clerk nervous. Why not? With his bed head, dark-circled eyes, and jerky, unsure movements, he probably looked like a meth freak who was deciding whether or not to pull out his trusty Saturday night special and ask for everything in the register.

“No,” Dan said. “I just realized I left my wallet home.”

He put the green bottles back in the cooler. As he closed it, they spoke to him gently, as one friend speaks to another: See you soon, Danny.

Billy Freeman was waiting for him, bundled up to the eyebrows. He held out an old-fashioned ski hat with ANNISTON CYCLONES embroidered on the front.

“What the hell are the Anniston Cyclones?” Dan asked.

“Anniston’s twenty miles north of here. When it comes to football, basketball, and baseball, they’re our archrivals. Someone sees that on ya, you’ll probably get a snowball upside your head, but it’s the only one I’ve got.”

Dan hauled it on. “Then go, Cyclones.”

“Right, fuck you and the hoss you rode in on.” Billy looked him over. “You all right, Danno?”

“Didn’t get much sleep last night.”

“I hear that. Damn wind really screamed, didn’t it? Sounded like my ex when I suggested a little Monday night lovin might do us good. Ready to go to work?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Good. Let’s dig in. Gonna be a busy day.”

It was indeed a busy day, but by noon the sun had come out and the temperature had climbed back into the mid-fifties. Teenytown was filled with the sound of a hundred small waterfalls as the snow melted. Dan’s spirits rose with the temperature, and he even caught himself singing (“Young man! I was once in your shoes!”) as he followed his snowblower back and forth in the courtyard of the little shopping center adjacent to the common. Overhead, flapping in a mild breeze far removed from the shrieking wind of the night before, was a banner reading HUGE SPRING BARGAINS AT TEENYTOWN PRICES!

There were no visions.

After they clocked out, he took Billy to the Chuck Wagon and ordered them steak dinners. Billy offered to buy the beer. Dan shook his head. “Staying away from alcohol. Reason being, once I start, it’s sometimes hard to stop.”

“You could talk to Kingsley about that,” Billy said. “He got himself a booze divorce about fifteen years ago. He’s all right now, but his daughter still don’t talk to him.”

They drank coffee with the meal. A lot of it.

Dan went back to his third-floor Eliot Street lair tired, full of hot food and glad to be sober. There was no TV in his room, but he had the last part of the Sandford novel, and lost himself in it for a couple of hours. He kept an ear out for the wind, but it did not rise. He had an idea that last night’s storm had been winter’s final shot. Which was fine with him. He turned in at ten and fell asleep almost immediately. His early morning visit to the Red Apple now seemed hazy, as if he had gone there in a fever delirium and the fever had now passed.

He woke in the small hours, not because the wind was blowing but because he had to piss like a racehorse. He got up, shuffled to the bathroom, and turned on the light inside the door.

The tophat was in the tub, and full of blood.

“No,” he said. “I’m dreaming.”

Maybe double dreaming. Or triple. Quadruple, even. There was something he hadn’t told Emil Kemmer: he was afraid that eventually he would get lost in a maze of phantom nightlife and never be able to find his way out again.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

Only this was real. So was the hat. No one else would see it, but that changed nothing. The hat was real. It was somewhere in the world. He knew it.

From the corner of his eye, he saw something written on the mirror over the sink. Something written in lipstick.

I must not look at it.

Too late. His head was turning; he could hear the tendons in his neck creaking like old doorhinges. And what did it matter? He knew what it said. Mrs. Massey was gone, Horace Derwent was gone, they were securely locked away in the boxes he kept far back in his mind, but the Overlook was still not done with him. Written on the mirror, not in lipstick but in blood, was a single word:

REDRUM

Beneath it, lying in the sink, was a bloodstained Atlanta Braves t-shirt.

It will never stop, Danny thought. The Overlook burned and the most terrible of its revenants went into the lockboxes, but I can’t lock away the shining, because it isn’t just inside me, it is me. Without booze to at least stun it, these visions will go on until they drive me insane.

He could see his face in the mirror with REDRUM floating in front of it, stamped on his forehead like a brand. This was not a dream. There was a murdered child’s shirt in his washbasin and a hatful of blood in his tub. Insanity was coming. He could see its approach in his own bulging eyes.

Then, like a flashlight beam in the dark, Hallorann’s voice: Son, you may see things, but they’re like pictures in a book. You weren’t helpless in the Overlook when you were a child, and you’re not helpless now. Far from it. Close your eyes and when you open them, all this crap will be gone.

He closed his eyes and waited. He tried to count off the seconds, but only made it to fourteen before the numbers were lost in the roaring confusion of his thoughts. He half expected hands—perhaps those of whoever owned the hat—to close around his neck. But he stood there. There was really nowhere else to go.

Summoning all his courage, Dan opened his eyes. The tub was empty. The washbasin was empty. There was nothing written on the mirror.

But it will be back. Next time maybe it’ll be her shoes—those cork sandals. Or I’ll see her in the tub. Why not? That’s where I saw Mrs. Massey, and they died the same way. Except I never stole Mrs. Massey’s money and ran out on her.

“I gave it a day,” he told the empty room. “I did that much.”

Yes, and although it had been a busy day, it had also been a good day, he’d be the first to admit it. The days weren’t the problem. As for the nights . . .

The mind was a blackboard. Booze was the eraser.

Dan lay awake until six. Then he dressed and once more made the trek to the Red Apple. This time he did not hesitate, only instead of extracting two bottles of Bird from the cooler, he took three. What was it they used to say? Go big or go home. The clerk bagged the bottles without comment; he was used to early wine purchasers. Dan strolled to the town common, sat on one of the benches in Teenytown, and took one of the bottles out of the bag, looking down at it like Hamlet with Yorick’s skull. Through the green glass, what was inside looked like rat poison instead of wine.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Dan said, and loosened the cap.

This time it was his mother who spoke up. Wendy Torrance, who had smoked right to the bitter end. Because if suicide was the only option, you could at least choose your weapon.

Is this how it ends, Danny? Is this what it was all for?

He turned the cap widdershins. Then tightened it. Then back the other way. This time he took it off. The smell of the wine was sour, the smell of jukebox music and crappy bars and pointless arguments followed by fistfights in parking lots. In the end, life was as stupid as one of those fights. The world wasn’t a hospice with fresh air, the world was the Overlook Hotel, where the party never ended. Where the dead were alive forever. He raised the bottle to his lips.

Is this why we fought so hard to get out of that damned hotel, Danny? Why we fought to make a new life for ourselves? There was no reproach in her voice, only sadness.

Danny tightened the cap again. Then loosened it. Tightened it. Loosened it.

He thought: If I drink, the Overlook wins. Even though it burned to the ground when the boiler exploded, it wins. If I don’t drink, I go crazy.

He thought: All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

He was still tightening the cap and loosening it when Billy Freeman, who had awakened early with the vague, alarmed sense that something was wrong, found him.

“Are you going to drink that, Dan, or just keep jerking it off  ?”

“Drink it, I guess. I don’t know what else to do.”

So Billy told him.

Casey Kingsley wasn’t entirely surprised to see his new hire sitting outside his office when he arrived at quarter past eight that morning. Nor was he surprised to see the bottle Torrance was holding in his hands, first twisting the cap off, then putting it back on and turning it tight again—he’d had that special look from the start, the thousand-yard Kappy’s Discount Liquor Store stare.

Billy Freeman didn’t have as much shine as Dan himself, not even close, but a bit more than just a twinkle. On that first day he had called Kingsley from the equipment shed as soon as Dan headed across the street to the Municipal Building. There was a young fella looking for work, Billy said. He wasn’t apt to have much in the way of references, but Billy thought he was the right man to help out until Memorial Day. Kingsley, who’d had experiences—good ones—with Billy’s intuitions before, had agreed. I know we’ve got to have someone, he said.

Billy’s reply had been peculiar, but then Billy was peculiar. Once, two years ago, he had called an ambulance five minutes before that little kid had fallen off the swings and fractured his skull.

He needs us more than we need him, Billy had said.

And here he was, sitting hunched forward as if he were already riding his next bus or barstool, and Kingsley could smell the wine from twelve yards down the hallway. He had a gourmet’s nose for such scents, and could name each one. This was Thunderbird, as in the old saloon rhyme: What’s the word? Thunderbird! . . . What’s the price? Fifty twice! But when the young guy looked up at him, Kingsley saw the eyes were clear of everything but desperation.

“Billy sent me.”

Kingsley said nothing. He could see the kid gathering himself, struggling with it. It was in his eyes; it was in the way his mouth turned down at the corners; mostly it was the way he held the bottle, hating it and loving it and needing it all at the same time.

At last Dan brought out the words he had been running from all his life.

“I need help.”

He swiped an arm across his eyes. As he did, Kingsley bent down and grasped the bottle of wine. The kid held on for a moment . . . then let go.

“You’re sick and you’re tired,” Kingsley said. “I can see that much. But are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?”

Dan looked up at him, throat working. He struggled some more, then said, “You don’t know how much.”

“Maybe I do.” Kingsley produced a vast key ring from his vast trousers. He stuck one in the lock of the door with FRAZIER MUNICIPAL SERVICES painted on the frosted glass. “Come on in. Let’s talk about it.”

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 1151 )
Rating Distribution

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(742)

4 Star

(224)

3 Star

(71)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1151 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 27, 2013

    It's as if Stephen King doesn't care if I never sleep again. If

    It's as if Stephen King doesn't care if I never sleep again. If anything, better than the Shining.

    60 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Loved it!

    Like being reunited with an old friend. I was saddened to see the road Danny had taken but found myself rooting for him all the way. At times, it was easy to guess where the story might go but the fun was getting there.

    47 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Scared of RV's?

    Are you scared of RV's? I am now. Thanks to Stephen King I was terrified to go put gas in my minivan because there was a Winnebago at the pumps. My kids had fallen asleep- and they never fall asleep in the car. I know most kids do, but mine don't. Then the low gas light came on, even though I swear I just filled the thing the day before. Then I saw that RV. Obviously it was The Knot, straight out of the pages of this book. It's not the first time Mr. King scared me and I hope it won't be the last!

    27 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    He states his goal is to tell a Kickass story. He has absolutel

    He states his goal is to tell a Kickass story. He has absolutely succeeded. Characterizations, plots, all there. I read the book in two days, with a full time job. It's been so long since I read The Shining that I can't compare the two. I loved The Shining. I loved Doctor Sleep. Only 4 stars because it isn't literature, it's "just" a kickass read!

    27 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    Just So-So

    The Stand is still my favorite book of all time! This book is just mediocre by Kings standard, it has been hit and miss with his lasr several books* This was a MISS! Also after inserting his liberal views again this will be the last time I spend my hard earned dollars purchasing any more of his books!!!

    25 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2013

    Great Book!! I just finished and all I can say is wow! It is l

    Great Book!! I just finished and all I can say is wow! It is like we never left Danny Torrence behind and just followed him around all these years!

    24 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    just received this book. beautiful cover, am only fifty pages in

    just received this book. beautiful cover, am only fifty pages in but I already know its gonna be amazing. read the shining a couple years ago and have been going in order from when they were released. plowed through needful things so I could read this book. only put it down long enough to write this review. well, back to the book now

    21 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    A fantastic companion to "The Shining", a moving conti

    A fantastic companion to "The Shining", a moving continuation of Dan Torrance's life.

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    A wonderful sequel to The Shining that both re-visited a lot of

    A wonderful sequel to The Shining that both re-visited a lot of of scenes, emotions and events from The Shining, and took it in a new
     and entirely different direction. There is horror, both supernatural and human, but, as with many more recent King novels, there is a lot
     more about family, relationships, people, and where our choices in life can and do take us. In this sense, this book is a real departure
    from The Shining, but a good one. It explores a lot the themes of family history, how the past can stay with us, that life comes full circle,
    and how there is a little darkness even in the best person and a little light even in the worst person (also covered in Margaret Atwood's
     review of the book). Underlying all of it, is the exploration of the mystery of death and how we all deserve some dignity and comfort
    when we face it. The death scenes are probably my favorite, and I love that Danny is once again Doc...a new and wonderful Doc.

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Awesome sequel

    King doesn't disappoint. Loved it! Could not put it down. Its been years since I read The Shining and this novel took me right back. Highly recommend.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Protagonist¿Danny Torrance is a solid character, complete with t

    Protagonist—Danny Torrance is a solid character, complete with the necessary flaws that give King protagonist their edge. Young Abra is also a strong character for the same reasons. The problem is this book is just too long. I started to lose interest in these stronger characters because there’s just way too much book here. 

    Villains:  The True Knot is rather odd, and the leader is kind of strong, but mostly they’re just weird. There’s no one with the edge of a Walking Dude or Pennywise the Clown here.

    Plot: The plot is hard to judge. It was probably okay, but it was just way too draw out. I found my interest waning a lot.

    Overall: King has written several of my favorite works. I like his old stuff and his new stuff. But sometimes he has books like this or Insomnia that just drag on. Full Dark no Stars is amazing. The Shining was really good. But this book would have been better as a much shorter novel or even a novella. 

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    Enjoyed much of the book but found the end a bit anti-climatic a

    Enjoyed much of the book but found the end a bit anti-climatic and of course he had to throw in his political-liberal crap just like his son does. I took away a star just because of that... doesn't belong and is distasteful no matter you political leanings.

    12 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    Danny Torrance reminded me so much of myself it was scarey. Stru

    Danny Torrance reminded me so much of myself it was scarey. Struggled through growing up and alcohol addiction, brought tears to my eyes. Steve what a fantastic wrapup to the shining, bravo.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    This book is less about Danny Torrance than it is a a heartfelt

    This book is less about Danny Torrance than it is a a heartfelt meandering into King's struggles with alcoholism. I would rather the story had a generic psychic guy instead of Dan in this one. The True Knot were boring, they just were and when I saw Abra described as "plucky" on the inner cover? That's never a good sign.

    So the thing we constantly return to, the thing that tortured Dan's soul the most as an adult was something he did once when he was drunk and not his father chasing him around a haunted mansion trying to murder him and his mother? Wait, what? It's King's book and baby, but I would rather have had Dan deal with trauma as a result of the first book than inherited alcoholism and Abra. More horrors and ghosts from his past, less uninteresting kids and far too humanized/sympathetic psychic vampires. Just my opinion. Dan should have had his own book to Shine in without any other protagonists jumping on stage to overshadow him and dilute the gravity of his journey.

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2013

    I did not find this scary at all. It felt to me and me alone,

    I did not find this scary at all. It felt to me and me alone, like he was trying to hard. It felt rushed and fake? I made myself finish it and I am sad to say that his books since Cell have been basically, awful. I was a huge fan but no longer. I do like his son Joe hill's writing and he is a great author. If you want to read a book that is like older SK on Red Bull, pick up Joe Hill's books. I may skip anything else by SK. To me, a waste of time and more importantly,money. If you want an author who writes books that are hard to put down, let me recommend Erica Stevens. Survivor Chronicles is a wonderful apocalypse book. It is 2 books in with more to come. Give her a try.

    10 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Love love love

    Love this book and everything about it. Never want it to end

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2013

    Brilliant. Two things: I wish I had re-read The Shining first an

    Brilliant. Two things: I wish I had re-read The Shining first and I will never be able to look at an RV going down the road without thinking of the True Knot. Just like I can never look at a clown.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2013

    This is a sequel that picks up shortly after The Shining left of

    This is a sequel that picks up shortly after The Shining left off, but Doctor Sleep takes a new and entirely different direction. The story follows Dan as he grows up, dealing with his shining, the visiting demons from the Overlook and as grows older, his own personal demons – alcoholism and drug abuse.

    There is horror, both supernatural and human, but, as with other recent King novels, there is introverted analysis of where our choices in life can and do take us. Dan’s addiction takes him to depths that haunt him throughout his life, even after he cleans up and gets sober, and slowly we see Dan become whole and even venerable, as he uses his shining ability to help ease the pain of those who are dying, hence the name – Doctor Sleep.

    This makes Dan Torrance a far-from-perfect hero, and through the story, he makes terrible mistakes and regrets them. He grows and matures and overcomes incredible obstacles to become a character the reader can admire. This is refined character development, and King doesn’t just pitch us a shiny perfect character (like you might see in any Dan Brown novel), but gives us a MC with glaring flaws and then believably builds him into a hero.

    While I thought Abra – a young girl with strong shining – was fine, it seemed like the author was trying too hard to make the reader like her. An odd relationship between Dan and Abra forms via shining and Dan realizes she is incredible danger and moves to protect her.

    The villains in the story – the True Knot, led by the beautiful Rose the Hat – are vampires of a sort, feeding on children who have the shining. By slowly killing the child, they collect steam, which keeps them young. Most are two-dimensional characters, but they are vile and frightening, and the twist of having old people, roaming the country in RVs, kidnapping and torturing children to death, is absolutely macabre. King handles the gruesome details with class and does not magnify or accentuate the torture scenes, but they are tough to get through, as they should be. If you read about a child getting tortured and don’t wince away – I do not want to know you. Some people can’t face this sort of content at all, so if that is you, please consider yourself warned.

    Overall, I enjoyed this book and think anyone who enjoyed The Shining will like Doctor Sleep, though they are very different stories. Do not expect this to be The Shining Part 2, but you will enjoy the scenes that draw on the first book, and yes… we do return to the Overlook.

    In my humble opinion, this is some of SK’s finest prose. He is in his element and keeps things moving at a good cadence. Rarely did I find myself jarred out of the story to question what was going on…. usually regarding the “one big tooth” that was apparently not used for anything, yet brought up in the story again and again.

    Recommended, but those who have some history with child abuse might want to steer clear. Note that Audible audiobook is narrated by Will Patton, who seems the perfect voice for this story, and delivers a fantastic performance.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2013

    The first fifty pages are so are quite disgusting. After that, t

    The first fifty pages are so are quite disgusting. After that, the book just fails to flesh out any of its characters very well as it limps toward its predictably boring finale.
    At most there was one truly scary scene in the book. Anyone who says that the book has made them scared of RVs may need professional help.

    7 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Perfect Stephen king

    Absolutely Amazing Stephen King! As an avid reader of all kinds of books, Stephen King is the greatest writer I have ever read.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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