Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Turns out, there’s a sequel to The Shining! Who knew?
Started this one when the weather had just turned in Burnaby; finished it on a glorious drunken evening in a small cabin on the beautiful shore of Discovery Passage, Quadra Island, BC. The lodge attached to the cabins was busy shutting down for the season. All the half-indian girls who worked the place were busy talking about their upcoming vacations to sunnier climes. (Belieze and Costa Rica were favorites.) A few of the older groundskeeper types were planning on staying the winter nearby to keep an eye on the place, just like Jack Torrence did for the Overlook Hotel long ago…
Doctor Sleep picks up with Dan, the little boy with the strange gift of “Shining” which allows him to see the future, communicate telekinetically, see ghosts, and a few other things. Dan’s gift is a curse as well, so he’s crawled deep into a bottle to try to blot out the ghosts that still follow him around. Eventually, he hits rock bottom (in one of the novel’s more contrived and silly scenes) and decides to go straight. Enter AA, which forms something of a framework and theme for the novel. (The Shining = addiction, Doctor Sleep = recovery.)
Dan forms a psychic connection with a little girl who also has the Shining, only much stronger than he. The two of them and a few of Dan’s AA buddies track down a wandering tribe of psychic vampire types who abduct and feed on children. Plot ensues.
The novel is fun, never dull, but very far from the tight plotting and genuine frights of its predecessor. King’s afterward at the end of the novel briefly addresses how difficult it must be for a creator to revisit one of his most successful works forty years later.