"The power was very strong tonight. He could feel it flowing through their clasped hands like an electric current and cautioned himself to be gentle. Part of him was inhabiting the faltering body that was shutting down and the failing senses that were turning off."
Danny Torrance has survived the gruesome events at the Overlook Hotel and has grown up. He still has the 'shining' - a psychic power which makes him see things and communicate telepathically.
Dan is drifting - he has been working odd jobs, usually as an orderly at a hospice, where he uses his shining to help elderly people 'pass over', earning him the name Doctor Sleep. Now his shining has brought him into telepathic contact with Abra Stone, a young girl who has incredibly powerful psychic abilties.
But her powers have also drawn the attention of The True Knot, a group of ancient beings who feed on the 'steam' gifted children produce when they are tortured. Her powers can feed them for years to come. And the more she suffers, the more they can get out of it.
Dan Torrence vows to protect Abra against the True Knot. But this means he will have to overcome his alcohol addiction and the feeling of guilt which has troubed him for quite a few years now...
"Doctor Sleep" is a bit of a slow starter, not unlike other King works. First the author has to describe the aftermath of events in "The Shining", then he takes a long time to introduce the characters, who are also typically King: Dan, the sympathetic but flawed hero, Abra, the gifted and self-assured kid and the wacky villain Rose the Hat. Once the real story gets going, it's a fast-paced thriller, though.
It's not really necessary to read "The Shining" first in order to enjoy "Doctor Sleep" (but then again, why wouldn't you - it's one of the best novels ever written). "Doctor Sleep" is probably not among King's most memorable novels, and it's certainly nowhere near the majestic "The Shining" (and certainly not as scary). But it's still vintage King and that is rarely disappointing.
Author: Stephen King
Title: Doctor Sleep
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, London
Year: 2014 (orig. 2013)
Number of pages: 485 p.