Book cover from Salems Lot by Stephen King
Book cover ''Salem's Lot'

'Salem's Lot

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Author(s): Stephen King
Format: Book › Paperback all formats
Edition: Reprint
Published: 09-24-2013
ISBN: 9780345806796
Pages: 672
Publisher: Anchor
List Price: $16.00

BooksToRead Review

Salem's Lot is the second book that Stephen King ever published and one of the greatest vampire classics out there in the genre. A real nail-biter of a horror novel where Stephen King succeeds in creating vampires that are even more frightening than they normally already are.

A real must read for horror book lovers and a guarantee for hours of tense reading on the sofa. With the obligatory priest in the story and, a story element Stephen King often uses, the young man who returns to his home town where he experienced horrors in his childhood. Horrors he now wants to confront. Other really good horror books by King are, among others, The Stand, The Shining, Misery and the excellent It about the scariest clown ever.

Book description

Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work—in fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.

With this, his second novel, Stephen King established himself as an indisputable master of American horror, able to transform the old conceits of the genre into something fresh and all the more frightening for taking place in a familiar, idyllic locale.

Book review

Stephen King's second book, 'Salem's Lot (1975)--about the slow takeover of an insular hamlet called Jerusalem's Lot by a vampire patterned after Bram Stoker's Dracula--has two elements that he also uses to good effect in later novels: a small American town, usually in Maine, where people are disconnected from each other, quietly nursing their potential for evil; and a mixed bag of rational, goodhearted people, including a writer, who band together to fight that evil.

Simply taken as a contemporary vampire novel, 'Salem's Lot is great fun to read, and has been very influential in the horror genre. But it's also a sly piece of social commentary. As King said in 1983, "In 'Salem's Lot, the thing that really scared me was not vampires, but the town in the daytime, the town that was empty, knowing that there were things in closets, that there were people tucked under beds, under the concrete pilings of all those trailers. And all the time I was writing that, the Watergate hearings were pouring out of the TV.... Howard Baker kept asking, 'What I want to know is, what did you know and when did you know it?' That line haunts me, it stays in my mind.... During that time I was thinking about secrets, things that have been hidden and were being dragged out into the light." Sounds quite a bit like the idea behind his 1998 novel of a Maine hamlet haunted by unsightly secrets, Bag of Bones. --Fiona Webster

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