Salem’s Lot



Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in the hopes that living in an old mansion, long the subject of town lore, will help him cast out his own devils and provide inspiration for his new book.

But when two young boys venture into the woods and only one comes out alive, Mears begins to realize that there may be something sinister at work and that his hometown is under siege by forces of darkness far beyond his control.

~ Synopsis from Amazon

I picked this book to read over Halloween and it was the perfect book to set the mood. This is one of Stephen King’s earliest books (to be precise, his second novel), when he did classic horror.

Reading this book reminded me of all those good times when I used to devour his books late at night as a teen and scare myself silly. It also reminded me of my all-time favorite vampire novel Dracula, in the way it’s an homage to Dracula, staying true to the original vampire lore. No romantic sparkling vampires (as in Stephanie Meyer’s books), or vampires fighting for equal rights (Charlaine Harris’ books), the vampires in the town of Salem’s Lot are truly chilling and scary.

But what else I like about the book is that horror is not just restricted to the vampires. King portrays the citizens of Salem’s Lot as equally capable of horrific acts – take for instance a woman punching her ten month old baby in the face because he was crying.

In a way, King seems to imply that evil already existed in the town, and that by turning away from God, they deserved the end they meet.

If a man dethrones God in his heart, Satan must ascend to His position.

I am not sure if that is correct though because a lot of the victims are innocent children, but maybe he means that a few people’s bad deeds can affect an entire community?

So yes, the people in the town aren’t the most likable (although there are some exceptions), and the town itself seems creepy with the requisite creepy Marsten House situated on top of a hill and which is the home of the vampire.

The town kept its secrets, and the Marsten House brooded over it like a ruined king.

I mentioned in my teaser that King really knows how to set a scene, and the entire book is a shining example of good scene-setting, proper build up of mystery, and suspense, and horror, and overall excellent writing.

If there’s one thing I have an issue with is the rather clichéd story progression where seemingly intelligent people do some rather dumb things solely to propel the story forward. I don’t want to say anything more as I don’t want this review to get spoiler-y, but you know what I mean, it’s like watching those B-grade horror movies, and telling the heroine, come on, don’t be dumb, turn back, go join your friends, and of course, the dumb heroine actually goes to fight the baddies on her own and meets a bad end, this book has those kind of clichés.

In spite of the clichés though, I loved the book, and it has got me going on a horror/mystery/supernatural kick, and I”ll probably be reading more in that genre soon. Do you have any recommendations for me?

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon

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  • I love what you mentioned about King writing about how evil the people in town can be too (other then just vampires). This is what I love about King books. Such a amazing character study of people. Another book that does this is Under the Dome. That entire book is really just about people and how they live. Why they make the choices they make. Just a great author.

    • Nishita

      @angelasanxiouslife:disqus Yes, so agree with you. I read Under the Dome in March and it was awesome. King really has a gift for writing excellent characters and capturing small-town life.

  • I’ve always been a bit wary of Stephen King, but this one sounds good!

    • Nishita

      @melindapetersen:disqus His later books are a bit hit and miss for me, I tend to like his earlier ones, which (in my opinion) aren’t subject to bloat.

  • Ooh I always love reading people’s reviews of Stephen King. He was my introduction to horror too, and I still haven’t had enough. I don’t remember much of Salem’s Lot, sadly, except for a freaky scratching-on-the-window scene. You should read Ghost Story by Peter Straub, that’s one intriguing-scary book. 🙂

    • Nishita

      @priyatabularasa:disqus Thanks for the recommendation, Priya 🙂

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