Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

It was over a year ago when I discovered a preview of this book, and I’ve been anxiously looking forward to it ever since. How lucky was I to get a review copy!!

The long-awaited sequel to The Shining lives up to its heritage.


As a sequel to 1977’s The Shining, Doctor Sleep has unspeakably large shoes to fill, but Stephen King is more than able to follow up on the thought-provoking and deliciously shivery thrills of that novel.

Several decades after the events of The Shining, Dan Torrance is haunted by the ghosts of his childhood and deep in the ugly throes of his father’s disease, alcoholism. He lands in the small town of Frazier, N.H., where he finds meaningful work, a few good friends and Alcoholics Anonymous. Finally his life seems to be on track–until a little girl named Abra is born, whose “shine” is astronomically brighter than his ever was. A community of not-quite-humans is zeroing in on Abra; to live, they need what she has, and they balk at nothing, including violence toward children, to get it. Thus, Dan is again embroiled with the monsters he couldn’t drink away, but thought he’d learned to store in a lockbox on a dusty shelf in his mind.

King continues to show a mastery that extends beyond genre. Doctor Sleep has The Shining‘s spooky intimate authenticity, 11/22/63‘s grasp of pop cultural references and sense of time and place, and Carrie‘s uncanny understanding of youth. Where The Shining took place in a single claustrophobic setting, Doctor Sleep roams wide both geographically and topically, through paranormal concepts and King’s prodigious imagination. Themes of family and personal struggle persist, but perhaps most enjoyable are the page-turning suspense and terror for which King is so deservedly famous.

This review originally ran in the October 4, 2013 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!

Rating: 8 screams.

One Response

  1. […] you Mom, again, for passing this on: a review of Stephen King’s latest, Doctor Sleep, by Margaret Atwood of all people. In other words, good writing about good writing! (I will refrain […]

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