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Book 9 : Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Book 9: Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2).
Author: Stephen King. 2013.
Genre: Horror. Ghosts.
Other Details: Hardcover. 486 pages.

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 tween 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 .
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

When I first started the book I wondered whether 'The Shining' really needed a sequel and yet quite quickly I was caught up in Danny's tragic yet redemptive story. Aside from being a very scary tale about a group of psychic vampires who travel the byways of the USA preying on children who have psychic gifts such as Danny's , the novel returns to the themes explored in 'The Shining' such as the legacy of Jack's drinking and violence and that some buildings or places can hold the seeds of evil.

Danny's own fall into alcoholism and the role of the AA in assisting those who want to break that cycle also is explored. I cannot imagine being so dependant upon drink or what it would be like to have to avoid completely and yet King did provide a graphic picture of what it is like.

The novel wasn't quite as powerful as 'The Shining' but still deserved full marks for continuing the story and also addressing some important social issues. I especially enjoyed Danny's role serving the dying assisted by the hospice's cat that was clearly inspired by the real life tale of Oscar.
Tags: ghosts, horror
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