It's been 37 years since The Shining was published, and we watched Danny Torrence survive The Overlook Hotel and his alcoholic father. In the Afterward of Doctor Sleep, King says he always wondered what happened to Danny, whether he escaped undamaged or was doomed to be forever haunted by the ghosts of the Overlook and follow in his father's footsteps into a bottle.
Doctor Sleep starts a bit slowly, perhaps because of my familiarity with the Shining, with some history of Danny and his life during and after that awful winter at the Overlook. It quickly picks up and starts on it's own path, following Dan's experiences as an alcoholic to his inevitable crash. His drinking, a result of him trying to block out his "Shine", and Alcoholics Anonymous are a running theme throughout the book.
As he picks himself up and finds a place to recover, we are introduced to some new characters and a child named Abra, who has a very powerful Shine. Were also introduced to the villains of the story, a winnebago driving group of "vampires" called The True Knot, who torture and murder children who have the shining. They've lived for decades, under the radar, traveling the roads unnoticed. Unforgettable villains, which King seems to have a knack for creating, and some really great disturbing scenes follow.
Dan found a place for himself working at a hospice, using his shine to help comfort and guide people as they die. Attending AA meetings and living peacefully, until he is contacted by Abra begging for help.
In the end, as Dan helps Abra repel the True Knot's plans, Doctor Sleep becomes a great novel on it's own, perhaps not as great as The Shining, but excellent. A young girl becoming a powerful woman and a man fighting his demons and horrific villains intent on destroying them both.
Dan Torrence was definitely worthy of another story and Doctor Sleep delivered all of the things that I hope for from a Stephen King novel.
Doctor Sleep is out on September 24th at your favorite bookstore, or support Discordia 19 and buy from the link below on Amazon.