I remember the film version of ‘The Shining’ far more clearly than the book; it wasn’t the first scary movie that I saw as a child, but it was the first one to build up the suspense slowly and to let the characters grow on you before the bad stuff happened.
So it was probably the memories of the film that led me to picking up the sequel ‘Doctor Sleep’ – that and the snippet that King read out well before the book was publish, something about how the dogs could see through the harmless persona that the True Knot projected to the sharp teeth underneath.
The plot is that Danny is now middle ages and has found the AA – as like his father he hit the bottle. Danny now works in a nursing home/hospice helping the dying pass on. He also finds a young girl who also shines and has got onto the radar of the True Knot who are pretty much physic vampires – they eat the “steam” produced by torturing children who shine.
I was concerned that the child torturing might be a bit bleak, but King is happily vague on the details. Similarly the AA stuff could have slowed the book and made parts of it only accessible to a certain audience, thankfully this wasn’t the case.
Overall ‘Doctor Sleep’ was well paced, it built up, introduced the characters and established a purpose for its existence. This last point was crucial, if the book had just existed without acknowledging what had occurred in ‘The Shining’ then it would have been empty and pointless. I would say that having at least a passing knowledge the book version’s ending is useful.
Pleasantly surprised at how readable this was and how much I wanted to tell other people about it when I had finished!
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