This glorious tale of the supernatural opens with arguably the second most famous sentence in the history of western literature: "Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick". Obviously this is meant to offend or entrap the reader, and it does, but the comment is not entirely out of context of the character of Jack Torrance once you get to know him. By the end of part one, we know that he is susceptible to violence, alcoholism and depression. We also know that the Overlook Hotel - the location of the story itself - has had a particularly violent and gruesome history. We know that Danny Torrance - son of Jack and Wendy - is gifted (or cursed) with the ability to witness events before they happen. This is unfortunate for one so young, and yet in this context, this ability may turn out to be a blessing for him to witness events that he does not fully comprehend.
As the story progresses, Mr King prefers to hint at significant features of the tale, leading the reader to guess this, or guess that, instead of simply telling the reader what he wants them to know. Suspense therefore builds slowly but surely and each page is turned by the reader not just with apprehension of what you know is sure to come, but with a sense of absolute joy in the knowledge that you have placed the next four or five hours of your life in the hands of a master. And when it comes to The Overlook Hotel, the mind boggles.
So, in summary, then: Is THE SHINING Stephen King's finest work? You need to read the book yourself to answer that question. Certainly, one could say CHRISTINE was the greater accomplishment - in it, Mr King made the absurd totally believable (and therefore terrifying). But with THE SHINING he has made the everyday, run of the mill ghost story into one of the scariest reading experiences you could ever hope to find. Reading THE SHINING is like going on an infinite DARE-DOUBLE DARE competition with the devil. You read one chapter, and then another but then you ask yourself, one more? one more? Will i be able to cope with one more?
Go on and test yourself, then. You know you want to.