King of spook
Reviewed by Priyanka Singh

Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King.
Hodder&Stoughton Pages 485. Rs 599

Doctor Sleepa small boy who sees creatures in his bathroom; a little girl who across time and space sees visions of children being tortured and killed; her desperate cry for help, to reach out to the small boy's mind who is now a grown man; the "undead" True Knot who craves for the "shining" in special children and will not stop at anything for the "steam" they must inhale time and again to defy mortality —all meet the checklist for an eerie tale.

Stephen King, the master of horror, presents another frightful tale from his stable. Taking on from where The Shining left, Dan Torrance's childhood is cursed. His only comfort, his childhood mentor Dick Hallorann, could read his thoughts and helped him lock away his demons in boxes in his mind. His shining (a form of acute intuitiveness and aggravated sixth sense that makes it possible to read thoughts) loses potency as he grows. Fast turning into an alcoholic, Dan's struggling spirit finds some comfort in a hospice where he waits on dying patients so they may pass on with least fear and agony. He makes their death easier, peaceful. His special powers earn him the sobriquet of "Doctor Sleep". Remorseful about a past incident, Dan believes there is no escaping from oneself, or the past, that "there comes a time when you realised that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went". This time, the target of the True Knot is a little girl, Abra Stone, with special powers and the brightest shining. Moving around in their innocuous RVs and mixing with the crowd so they can't be spotted as different, the True Knot need to have Abra's shining to heal and grow younger. Dan and Abra must get the Knot before they can get her. A drifter, Dan must face all his fears and unlock the boxes in his mind to summon the dreadful monsters in his fight to protect her. For this, they must fuse their mind forces and shining for a mind game that is as fraught with risks as it is daring. King's fans know how as the story progresses, one get the creeps. Before long, you would want to take a peek under your bed as you pull a sheet over your face. King has that masterly knack of robbing you of your sleep, for a long time. Thanking readers, King signs off with a word of caution: "When you are on the turnpikes and freeways of America, watch out for those Winnebagos and bounders, for you never know who might be inside. Or what."