Author: Stephen King

This is the sequel to King's "The Shining," released in 1977 (which seems like a million years ago, to me).  Yet, when you start to read "Dr. Sleep," everything falls into place, and it's a lot more fast-paced than "The Shining," as well.

Do you need to read "The Shining" first?  No.  You'll have a great read either way.  You'll likely want to read "The Shining" after reading "Dr. Sleep," anyway.  Whichever order you decide to read the pair in will no doubt provide its own, unique experience in-and-of-itself.  So, do your own thing!

You can tell King writes about alcoholism from experience.  Shiver!  Reality--what a nightmare!  It's the alcoholism that brings in some of the claustrophobia from the first book.  It's like all the walls are closing in.  In addition to Danny's booze problem, he still has lovely visits from the freaks and creeps that shacked up in the now burnt down Overlook Hotel.  Wonderful.  But the evil scum in "Dr. Sleep" makes the characters in "The Shining" look like Sunday schoolers.  Geez.  They feed on torturing to death "shining" children in a "thousand cuts" style--then lap up the blood from the seeping wounds.  But that's not all.  They feed on the kids pain too!  Ergo, the longer it takes to die, the better.  Lovely.  However, these real fine RV vampires expire in a gruesome and "satisfying" way.  Smile.

The Overlook. From hotel of evil to RV camp of evil.

I liked the fact that the story takes place over many years.  King takes us all over the place, geographically and through time without making the reader feel like they've done a hundred squats.  It's a way smoother read than "The Shining" is--yet more "complex" in many ways.  Go figure.  King is a genius, I'm not.  

When Danny has conquered his booze addiction he takes a job, teaming up with an old cat, and assists people who fear death to pass over to the "other" side.  Personally, this kind of religious, "go to the light" crap still bugs me--even in an insanely wacky vampire setting!  But it doesn't bug me enough not to enjoy it.  Give me a wolf-man and a plain ol' silver bullet any day.  I realize my beef has more to do with our primitive religious times than anything else.  Just want you to know what kind of reader I am.  Danny then develops a psychic relationship with a young girl that goes on for a number of years--throughout the story.  I think it's cool that this young girl ends up having killer instincts that Danny doesn't possess.  They're quite different--in age,  temperament, and life experiences.

There's also quite a few other interesting and pivotal characters in the book.  Some of them are from "The Shining."  You might get emotionally choked up at one point upon the appearance of one of these characters.  

I've been reading King books for about 40 years now, and I think this is one of his best.  It's been a great ride, and I can't wait for his next tale.