Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Book Details
'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Paperback, 480 Pages
2000, Pocket
ISBN: 067103975X

Published a year after his stunning debut novel, Carrie, 'Salem's Lot firmly cemented Stephen King's name in the literary lexicon of great American storytellers. His rich and finely crafted tale of a mundane New England town under siege by the forces of darkness is both a homage to Bram Stoker's classic Dracula and an allegory of our post-Vietnam society. Considered one of the most terrifying vampire novels ever written, it cunningly probes the shadows of the human heart -- and the insular evils of small-town America.

'Salem's Lot is one of the many Stephen King books that has been made into a movie or miniseries. I saw both the 1979 and 2004 miniseries years ago and didn't really think much of either one. Previous to reading 'Salem's Lot, I had also read King's short story collection Night Shift which includes the stories "Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road" which follow up on the town after the happenings of his book. I went into my reading of 'Salem's Lot with the idea that I knew what to expect and I wasn't that far off.

'Salem's Lot is touted as one of the most terrifying vampire novels ever written. I've read a lot of vampire novels, but never found any that were truly scary. I think I'm desensitized to vampires. Even evil vampire's just don't strike fear in my heart. Salem's Lot is a dark vampire story. It's vampires are purely evil, without the sexiness prevalent in modern vampire stories. The novel focuses on the town, the humans, and how they try to survive the vampire epidemic beginning in their town. The vampires are monsters.

'Salem's Lot is very good, if a little far fetched occasionally. A few townspeople figure out that there are vampires in town. Instead of fleeing, they attempt to kill the vampires and save the town. I couldn't quite understand why some people, especially main character Ben Mears, weren't just running away. His back story of romantic loss coupled by his present romantic situation explained this away, but I still found it hard to grasp. I also found his friendship with fellow vampire fighter, Mark Petrie, understandable but found his love for the boy a little abrupt.

'Salem's Lot is in the same vein as Dracula, without the romance. It has a classic feel, but contains ideas that feel modern even decades after publication. 'Salem's Lot is a must read for fans of vampires beyond redemption.


Stephen King's website

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