Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is a supernatural thriller about a recovering alcoholic, Dan Torrance, and his fight to save a young girl named Abra Stone from a group of RV-hauling vampires that eat the paranormal powers of children.
Dan began his fight with malevolent spirits at the age of five, when he joined his parents for a terrifying winter as the caretakers of a Colorado Grande Dame hotel. Although closed for the season, the secluded Overlook Hotel teemed with specters. They tried to kill little Danny and steal his considerable paranormal powers to fuel their murderous haunting. He and his mother barely escaped. The Overlook was never rebuilt. The site became an RV park with drop-dead views.
Spirits haunted Dan’s rough road to middle age, namely the type that live inside whiskey bottles. Substance abuse deadens his psychic ability so he can forget the horrors of the grasping dead. Dan hits bottom and the filthy dregs of his life disgust him. But unlike his drunkard wreck of a father, Dan finds help, sobers up, and takes a respectable job as a hospice attendant.
Abra is just a baby, but her exceptional ESP reaches all the way across the country. A roaming group of psychic eaters hears little Abra. They travel in RV caravans and pose as vacationers. These genteel-appearing predators in ball caps and Bermuda shorts bide their time until Abra is old enough for their grim plans.
Dan also hears this psychic prodigy. One day, Abra reaches across the miles and begs him to help. His last stand with the murderous ghosts of his childhood takes Dan full circle back to The Overlook RV Park. He must redeem a lifetime drowned by alcoholism, and save Abra from these child eaters.
Doctor Sleep is a most satisfying continuation of the haunted life of Danny Torrance that we met in The Shining. Stephen King continues his masterful way of leading us down the path of accepting a string of oh, so reasonable little events. The journey ends in a horrifying showdown that mixes delicious revenge against the bad guys with bittersweet reminders of the long-lost good guys.
Gentle Readers that enjoy a well-told paranormal thriller, plus fans of psychic vampires, would enjoy this story. People who already have a fear of RVs might want to keep away. Because of Doctor Sleep, Lita now casts a fretful eye when she passes one of those lumbering motor coaches on the highway. Lita looks for ghostly faces in the windows.