"Dr. Sleep," by Steven King

I have never read “The Shining” by Stephen King, but I saw the movie many years ago and was thoroughly frightened by it. In college, I did read another of King's novels, “Salem's Lot,” and was left so scared by it that I never read another of his books, until now.

“Doctor Sleep” is King's sequel to “The Shining,” and while it is a great story that kept me reading for three days straight, it never reached the scare level I had feared — and I was kind of grateful!

Danny Torrence, the young boy with “the shine,” is now all grown up, although his life is anything but settled. After years of drifting from place to place and living with the repercussions of a drinking problem (a habit he picked up trying to quiet his “shine”), Dan wants to clean up his act. He's led to a town in New Hampshire where he makes friends and finds a job working in a hospice facility. There he earns the nickname Dr. Sleep because of his ability to help people, just as they are about to die, make the transition.

In a nearby town, a baby is born with a “shine” so strong that, even as an infant, she tries to warn her parents about an impending national tragedy. Abra Stone's abilities initially frighten her parents. Although her pediatrician has told them it’s likely her ability will diminish as she grows older, it doesn't.

When Abra is 12, her “shine” is still so strong that she unwittingly draws the attention of a group of traveling quasi-immortal people who each have unique talents and an insatiable hunger for “steam,” which they get by killing people (mostly children) with the “shine.” The more they torture the children, the more “steam” comes off of them.

This group, who call themselves the True Knot, travel around the country by RV and blend in, never attracting attention despite their evil deeds.

They are after Abra, and she turns to Dan for help. The story twists and turns at a fast pace and ends up back at the site of the Overlook Hotel from King's original novel. The story comes full circle when a surprising detail is revealed.