It doesn’t really stay a question when you get your teeth into this novel from that prolific horror author and all round slightly unbalanced guy Stephen King.
It’s got all the author’s classic features, the story is overly long, the characters are minutely detailed, there are some effectively chilling sequences that will always come to mind whenever those blood sucking bad guys are brought up in polite conversation and, of course, most traditional of all, it’s set in Maine.
It starts with a boy going missing and a dog being killed, this brings forth childhood memories of evil for recently home again, author Ben Mears. The list of odd happenings begins to grow and soon the whole town starts to fear the coming of night.
Being a set in my ways kind of fella, I prefer a vampire story that sticks to the traditional rules of its own lore. Whilst updating this, King’s understanding of what people fear is, as usual, uncanny, his easy writing style is sometimes at stark contrast with the depth of chills he provides…
After a slow and disquieting build up, the foreboding explodes into full blown terror stalking the night, which naturally enough results in a high body count (geddit?) and the now obligatory priest who is losing his faith in a traditional small American town, which, of course, I shall now always associate with secrets, a malignant presence brooding under the surface and all round freakishness. This book probably doesn’t do wonders fo the Maine tourist board, then again…perhaps it does.
What King does well is he always has powerful ‘good’ guys, who lack faith, to take on the bad guys, I think this aspect of King’s writing is vastly underrated, of course the idea of faith and redemption works superbly in this book due to the subject matter, devious vampires plotting taking their time,
As usual it’s another page turner from the author and he is at his ‘a bit overly long’ best. Any small American town in any film is now forever associated with bad things just below the surface, so thanks for that Stephen, another scared European tourist who’ll be sticking to the cities thank you very much.
There are two short stories connected with the book, which some editions now contain, One for the Road is a sequel which I haven’t read and a prequel entitled Jerusalem’s Lot and this is one of my favourite short stories, it has the M.R James style of writing and for one reading it at night it is very atmospheric and thoroughly engrossing. Anyone reading Dark Tower series will want to read this before The Wolves of Calla, I didn’t and which I had
As an aside I just watched the trailer for the 1979 film and crikey, does it still look good.