‘Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

27 Mar

Are vampires still worth their salt in the horror stakes, or has Twilight finally managed to do what no one else has and finally kill them all off?

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.


Posted by on 27/03/2013 in Horror


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29 responses to “‘Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

  1. renxkyoko

    28/03/2013 at 04:35

    Ah, finally ! A book that I had read too ! ! But I just read it, and get scared, which is always fun. it’s nice to read a review of it.


    • StetotheJ

      28/03/2013 at 22:11

      I really should staert asking people for books they want me to review as that seems the way forward…still I aim to please.


      • renxkyoko

        29/03/2013 at 01:55

        Have you read the Eragon series? There are 4 in the series, and I think they are a wonderful read and I hope I can get a review from you. Also, have you read any Tom Clancy thriller. The quality of his books has really gone down the drain… the plotlines are like computer generated . But there’s one book of his that I think really stood out… Hunt for Red October. If you haven’t read it, get hold of the book, and let me know what you think.


        • StetotheJ

          15/04/2013 at 19:29

          I haven’t read any of those books you mention…but I will see about picking up a copy when money becomes available again. I always aim to please with picking books people will be interested in.


  2. readinpleasure

    28/03/2013 at 17:48

    I’m yet to pluck up the courage to read a Stephen King novel. Great review.


    • StetotheJ

      28/03/2013 at 22:13

      I seem to big it up on here a lot, but The Body, made into the film Stand By Me is a cracking novella from the book Different Seasons and has four differing genres of story in it, I think that would be a good starting point perhaps.


  3. Penny L Howe

    28/03/2013 at 23:22

    Hey SteJ. Nice review. Hard to go wrong with Stephen King. a master story teller! With reference to your sticking to the big cities i.e. his scary stories always seem to happen in small town communities, from a different perspective (I grew up in one of them) All the small town aspects are correct, only no devils,demons or weirdo psychos. So no worries, no wait there is Big Foot, but it mostly just lives in the rural areas of Washington so no worries there! 🙂


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 18:50

      I read that piece of news after I’ve booked my ticket…I shall bring my camera to capture that elusive money shot. I now think that the cities are more of a draw than usual. I may sample a small town at some point though, I like the danger of taking my life into my own hands!


  4. LuAnn

    29/03/2013 at 00:42

    Finally a book that you have reviewed that I have already read and enjoyed very much BTW. Have you read King’s book 11/22/63 yet?


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 19:02

      Great minds think alike, King is enjoyable, I haven’t read 11/22/63, I do hear it briefly features two of the people from IT, I didn’t think I would like it but people have told me good things so it will be added to the list in due course.


  5. Christina ~

    29/03/2013 at 01:07

    Ah yes…Stephen King…I have read a quiet a few of his books…a long long time ago. I’ve not read this one though. It would seem he does love to stage a lot of his books in Maine haha. I read The Tommyknockers…thought it rather long winded…okay more than rather long winded…had to finish it anyway…I’m quirky like that! I did really enjoy your insightfully comprehensive review!! As always…. xxx


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 19:05

      Long winded? Surely nobody can accuse Stephen King of that crime, or am I thinking of someone else? I have The Tommyknockers, I may have to read it when I struggle to sleep, maybe one for the plane? xxx


  6. 최다해 gongjumonica

    01/04/2013 at 09:44

    I am not sure if I have read this one. If I did, I think I didn’t finish it. Oh well, I must read more Kings now and watch some movies later. Then you’ll do a review of Gatsby later, right?


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 19:13

      Yes, I have been away for a bit but yes, I shall get The Great Gatsby reviewed for you my friend. Keep me informed on what you read and watch!


  7. 최다해 gongjumonica

    01/04/2013 at 09:45

    Oh geez. Perhaps it’s only me, but did you realize you sound like Christian Grey in your reply to Renxkyoko who happened to be a Filipina like me?


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 19:19

      Crikey, I don’t think I could pull off his sweaters, which are somehow sexy….strange book, still I am not adverse to torturing the ladies (in a good way) mwahahahahaha!!!!!


  8. Chelsea Brown19

    10/04/2013 at 17:18

    I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
    Check it out


  9. Alastair Savage

    11/04/2013 at 08:45

    Stephen King is astonishing. Back in the 1980s, I remember my school English teacher saying what an inspiration he was to get people reading. Kids at school would read a huge, big brick of a novel by King where they would never so much as pick up a book by anyone else. His reputation just grows and grows while those of his contemporaries just fade away. I read Salem’s Lot years ago and I still remember it.


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 19:31

      That is the perfect encapsulation of his appeal right there, I may have to use that in a later review, with a link to your blog of course, kids are so fickle, not reading the awesome thin books.


  10. Penny L Howe

    15/04/2013 at 18:55

    Great attitude SteJ! If you do find big foot please share … we’d all love a peek at the guy! Nothing beats a small town environment, no dangers to be had, except wanting to remain perhaps!


    • StetotheJ

      15/04/2013 at 18:59

      Well yes, I can imagine that being a really big factor in one’s stay somewhere new, I think it is a big danger, if not a foregone conclusion…I shall share my new found wealth from the photos I get. I am already spending this wealth because I’m proper awesome.


      • Penny L Howe

        15/04/2013 at 19:05

        Goes without saying SteJ, both your opening words and the last ones too, I also am looking forward to up and coming events! 🙂


        • StetotheJ

          15/04/2013 at 19:09

          Ste too! I hope t amuse you with my my unfamiliar colloquialisms and also my probable amazedness at all things American. It will be a total blast!



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