By: Stephen King
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 1, 2013
Stephen King always addresses the people who are white-knuckled from clenching his books so tightly in their hands that they WILL be weighted down with arthritis later in life - ‘Constant Reader.’ I have never really known if he means that we are constantly reading, or constantly reading him. Either way, I must place myself into both categories.
What goes around comes around; we always go back to the beginning before we end. This is truly how I felt when reading this novel that - although, not as scary as The Shining - was amazing in its own right.
Everyone wondered what happened to Danny, that little boy with ‘the shining’ who was encased in The Overlook Hotel once upon a time with ghosties, Room 217, an elevator that constantly ran, and a father who was slowly going insane from the combination of alcohol and REALLY creepy guests who’d checked in and never left.
What happened to this messed up lad? Well, readers are going to once again hear a snippet of his past, as well as meet up with his teacher who helped him so long ago get out of that place. Beginning at the bottom, Dan is now trying to work his way up and out of the depths of alcoholic haze. He certainly has a right to want to stay numb, but when one bad thing happens (minor, in relation to what some people do), Dan’s brain becomes haunted by his mistake. He feels bad, angry and depressed to the core, and travels to a small town that may or may not be his saving grace.
He knows this is the town. He knows there’s something he has to do here. It also helped that he saw his old childhood ‘friend,’ Tony, in the window of a large hospice in town calling him home. Meeting some seriously good friends - and I mean, these people go all out for Dan when us more normal people would say; “There is NO way I’m doing that with you!” Dan finds himself slowly recovering, while at the same time getting knee-deep into a brand new horror.
There is a gang - a group of wanderers who, much like vampires, but not - travel the highways and byways of the U.S. looking for very specific people with very specific gifts that they can basically feed off of in a way that will allow them to live longer. The head of this group is Rose; she has a black top hat that Lincoln would have been jealous of. Rose can hear, feel and finally see a young girl with more gifts than Danny Torrance could ever claim, and Rose wants her.
What ensues is a battle between seriously scary RV’ers and an older Dan who now has a pupil with ‘the shining’ who’s way stronger than he was at her age. From the dark side to the light, all the characters are riveting. The story is frightening. But one major difference is that this is a horror with heart, and not the type that a villain holds in their hand while the blood is dripping down their legs. (Although, keep watching, that may happen too.)
Stephen King has either released demons of his own, or tried to speak to the millions out there who have secrets that can eat them alive if they don’t let them out. A savior in this story is someone you will never expect, and the point of the story will not be missed by anyone. It made me go out and buy a new copy of The Shining so I could once again see those animal hedges in my nightmares. Why? Because Stephen King has expertly led me back to The Overlook Hotel and I need to go inside. (You should too. The Kubrick film most definitely did NOT do that book justice, even though the TV miniseries filmed many years later came far closer.)
That is what this man can do; excite, captivate, and scare the hell out of you all at the same time. There are reviews out there yelling about the fact that King is simply a commercial writer unlike Hemingway. My response? When did King ever say he was Hemingway? Hello??
As a writer, I have no other response than to bow to the master once again. An elegant, in-depth storyteller who can scare the livin bejeezus out of me when I least expect it.
Quill says: Bravo! I will happily remain a loving and honored member of the ‘Constant Readers’ group.