I know, I know, people will say I’m reading far too much into ‘Doctor Sleep’, but I think King is actually dancing around the edge of a real-world horror. Consider the following: --We only ever know the surnames of about seven members of the True Knot. Two of those seven are Steiner and Rothman. One is O’Hara. The rest are all generic surnames. No Gonzalez, no Fabiani, no Hajidakis. --The Knot are described as nomadic people who once ‘rode camels across the desert’, and traveled across Europe in ‘caravans’, and across ‘Eastern Europe’ in wagons. These people, now wealthy and powerful, kidnap and murder children and use their blood in an arcane ritual, while they chant vaguely Hebrew-sounding incantations (sabbatha hanti, etc). Oh, and they call themselves (among other things) ‘the chosen ones.’ That adds up to more than a vague suggestion here that the Knot could be Jewish, (with touches of Romani and Irish Traveler thrown into the mix)—actual (albeit fictional) perpetrators of what history has come to call the ‘blood libel’ falsehood about Jews sacrificing Christian children in a bizarre parody of the Catholic Mass. And as if all this weren't enough, he actually has Henry Rothman (Crow Daddy) quote Shylock to Abra! ‘If you prick us do we not bleed? etc.’ How was King not thinking of Jews at the moment he had Rothman quote Shylock? Yes, it’s a ghost story, but did/does King know what he was hinting at? Perhaps not wholly, but maybe his editors caught it, because then in two throwaway references, he has Abra reading, as her assigned schoolwork—of all books--Bernard Malamaud’s ‘The Fixer’, the novelization of the case of Mendel Beilis, the innocent Russian Jew accused of murdering a Christian child in 1903: an actual 20th Century outbreak of the ‘blood libel.’ This is pretty arcane reading for a 13-year-old: no ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, no ‘Cold Sassy Tree’. Instead, the Mendel Beilis case. And: King doesn’t even tell us what ‘The Fixer’ is about or why he selected that book. Those who know, know. Far too many coincidences here not to add up to something. But what? If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that many of the Knot’s ‘Jewish traits’ were unconscious on King’s part. And then maybe someone (his editors?) pointed them out to him and (rather than just change Rothman and Steiner to, say, Jackson and Young) he decided to toss ‘The Fixer’ into the mix, as if to say, ‘Well, I don’t really intend what it might seem like to some readers. My Jewish readers will probably know about ‘The Fixer’ – hope this’ll set their minds at ease.’ King has danced up to the edge of the precipice and then away again.