This is the sequel to one of Stephen King’s best-known novels, The Shining. He wrote The Shining in 1977 and, according to the note at the end of this novel, he had often wondered what happened to the little boy, Danny Torrance. Doctor Sleep is set mostly in 2013, but we do get to hear a little of what happened to him in between the end of one novel and the beginning of the other.
Just as the chef from the previous novel, Dick Hallorann, had helped and guided him as a child, in this novel he meets a young girl who needs his help with her gift of the Shining – a mix of telepathic, dead-people-seeing, telekinetic powers. The novel is set mostly in New Hampshire, but we do get to pop back to the site of the ill-fated Overlook Hotel to see how some of it’s previous inhabitants are doing.
The novel is over 500 pages long but, not surprisingly, since it’s Stephen King, it whizzes along. Danny and his young friend, Abra, have to fight a sinister group of beings, also with supernatural powers. They kill and feed off children who have the Shining, and they are after Abra. There is a long build-up to the battle finale, but I don’t mind it too much because King is setting up the ins and outs of everyone’s special powers at the same time as updating us on Danny’s life up to now. It all turns out as well as can be expected and I’m pleased that little Danny Torrance has managed to move on with his life and make something of himself.