Whatever Became of Little Danny Torrance?
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the long-awaited Stephen King novel, Doctor Sleep. It has been thirty-six years since The Shining scared the bejesus out of most of the population and King has not disappointed this reader with his latest. Now sixty-five years old, when some are slowing down and wrapping up their life’s work, King seems to be hitting a new stride; he’s never failed to deliver but his most recent novel is impressive to say the very least. King says over the years he’s thought about writing the sequel to The Shining and what it would entail as far as seeing where the characters ended up. Thankfully for the reading public he didn’t stop at the thought but has finally produced the goods.
I must preface my review with the fact that the movie version of The Shining is one of the few screen adaptations of King’s work that I find palatable. His writing, to me, is without parallel in modern horror literature. Hollywood has failed to do justice to some of the scariest shit ever written by this genius of the genre. But I’m not here to run down Hollywood, so with that said, I do hope that someone of equal genius will see fit to make this fine novel into the movie it deserves to be.
Doctor Sleep starts with the “Prefatory Matters” that outlines what happened after the devastating fire at The Overlook, following the survivors on their journey from Colorado to Florida. After a terrifying and vividly written scene in the bathroom which leaves young Danny Torrance refusing to speak (hint: the woman from Room 217 returns), Dick Hallorann – the Overlook’s chef who survived the fire – comes to visit Wendy and Danny. The writing sticks true to King’s style, intensely describing each scene in gory detail, right down to the supposed color of excrement smeared on the shower curtain. I, myself, have tried to emulate his style by sometimes going overboard on the descriptive details in my novels.
As the story progresses into the present, we find Danny takes after his father – a lot. He has a drinking problem – just like daddy. Certain triggers send him over the edge and start his imbibing on a grand scale. I appreciate King’s dry sense of humor – one of the things that would spark Danny’s drinking is the Styx song, “Mr. Roboto.” We get to step inside Danny’s thoughts as he processes and reprocesses every sensory overload imaginable, searching for an elusive answer.
This book has it all. A clairvoyant cat. Vibrant, ghastly imagery. A bit of silliness. And to top things off there’s an evil group of RV-driving senior citizens hell-bent on snatching children. But, maybe I’ve said too much.
Doctor Sleep will be released on September 24, 2013.