by Stephen King
The Shining mainly takes place in the fictional Overlook Hotel, an isolated, haunted resort hotel located in the Colorado Rockies. The history of the hotel, which is described in backstory by several characters, includes the deaths of some of its guests and of former winter caretaker Delbert Grady, who “succumbed to cabin fever” and killed his family and himself.
Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their five-year-old son Danny move into the hotel after Jack accepts the position as winter caretaker. Jack is an aspiring writer The remaining staff and guests depart the hotel, leaving the Torrances alone in the hotel for the winter.
As the Torrances settle in at the Overlook, Danny sees ghosts and frightening visions. Although Danny is close to his parents, he does not tell either of them about his visions because he senses that the care-taking job is important to his father and the family's future. Wendy considers leaving Jack at the Overlook to finish the job by himself; Danny refuses, thinking his father will be happier if they stayed. However, Danny soon realizes that his presence in the hotel makes the supernatural activity more powerful, turning echoes of past tragedies into dangerous threats. Apparitions take solid form and the garden's topiary animals come to life. The winter snowfall leaves the Torrances cut off from the outside world in the isolated hotel.
The Overlook has difficulty possessing Danny, so it begins to possess Jack by frustrating his need and desire to work and by enticing him with the storied history of the hotel through a scrapbook and records in the basement. Jack starts to develop cabin fever and becomes increasingly unstable, destroying a CB radio and sabotaging a snowmobile, the only two links with the outside world the Torrances had. One day, after a fight with Wendy, Jack finds the hotel's bar fully stocked with liquor despite being previously empty, and witnesses a party at which he meets the ghost of a bartender named Lloyd. He also dances with a young woman ghost who tries to seduce Jack. As he gets drunk, the hotel uses the ghost of the former caretaker Grady to urge Jack to kill his wife and son. He initially resists, but the increasing influence of the hotel combined with Jack's own alcoholism and anger prove too great. He becomes a monster under the control of the hotel, succumbing to his dark side. Wendy and Danny get the better of Jack after he attacks Wendy, locking him inside the walk-in pantry, but the ghost of Delbert Grady releases him after he makes Jack promise to bring him Danny and to kill Wendy. Jack attacks Wendy with one of the hotel's roque mallets, grievously injuring her, but she escapes to the caretaker's suite and locks herself in the bathroom. Jack attempts to break the door with the mallet, but Wendy slashes his hand with a razor blade to deter him.
Meanwhile, Hallorann has received a psychic distress call from Danny while working at a winter resort in Florida. Hallorann rushes back to the Overlook, only to be attacked by the topiary animals and severely injured by Jack. As Jack pursues Danny through the Overlook and corners him on the hotel's top floor, he briefly gains control of himself and implores Danny to run away after Danny stands his ground and denounces Jack as a mask and false face worn by the hotel. The hotel takes control of Jack again, making him violently batter his own face and skull into ruin with the mallet, destroying the last vestiges of Jack and leaving a being controlled by the hotel's own malevolent "manager" personality. Remembering that Jack has neglected to relieve the pressure on the hotel's unstable boiler, Danny informs the hotel that it is about to explode. As Danny, Wendy, and Hallorann flee, the hotel-creature rushes to the basement in an attempt to vent the pressure, but it is too late and the boiler explodes, killing Jack and destroying the Overlook. Fighting off a last attempt by the hotel to possess him, Hallorann guides Danny and Wendy to safety.
The book's epilogue is set during the next summer. Hallorann, who has taken a chef's job at a resort in Maine, comforts Danny over the loss of his father as Wendy recuperates from the injuries Jack inflicted on her.