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Salem's Lot by Stephen King

All Areas > Entertainment > Book Review

Author: Owen Wall, Posted: Friday, 9th August 2019, 09:00

This is not Twilight – these vampires don’t twinkle in the sunlight, rescue teenage girls in need, or have charming good looks…

These vampires are undead horrors with the sole purpose of draining the blood from the living, before adding them to their own ranks and continuing the sinister process.

When I first heard the premise of `Salem’s Lot’, it didn’t completely interest me. I’d never been a big fan of vampires and therefore wasn’t too interested by the idea. But after reading other works of King and knowing that this was his second published novel, I wanted to read it, so I picked it up anyway.

And I’m so glad I did.

Ben Mears is a writer who as a child once lived in the town of Jerusalem’s Lot, where something traumatising happened to him within the walls of the Marsten House – a feared building with a dark past that looks down on the town – and now he’s returned to Salem’s Lot, hoping his dreaded memories can somehow be adapted into the novel he is working on.

But Ben Mears isn’t the only new person in town, because for the first time in a long while there are lights on in the Marsten House.

A dog is found violently murdered. A child goes missing.

And things only start to get worse for the residents of Salem’s Lot, leaving you almost literally on the edge of your seat as you wait in anticipation and horror for what could possibly come next.

Any story that King writes is almost always told on a grand scale through lots of perspectives and `Salem’s Lot’ is no exception.

I really enjoyed following the many residents of the town, and I was also impressed by how each character felt different and were all properly developed, despite many of them only being shown for very small sections of the book.

I liked how King introduced lots of small storylines that in the grand scheme of the book don’t seem very important, but that will later on have great payoffs that intertwine them with the greater story.

The sense of dread and the build up to future events is executed extremely effectively, which is one of King’s biggest strengths in all his writing.

There are moments in the book where you will feel at your highest and then there are moments that will tear you down and suck away every drop of hope you have, leaving you wondering what on Earth Ben and his friends are going to do next.

There was a certain part in the book where the impact on me was so great and shocking, that I simply had to stop and think about what had just happened, literally dreading reading on – but in a good way of course!

Watching the town of Jerusalem’s Lot slowly descend further into chaos is both entertaining and completely terrifying.

There are scenes that will give you nightmares and have you checking your windows at night, because Stephen King seems to have a way with words that emanates chills straight from the pages and into your bones.

The book’s only weakness – which is also a weakness it shares with many of Stephen King’s other novels – is that it suffers from a slightly anticlimactic and unsatisfying ending.

Although this is unfortunate, just like with other King novels, I found that the enjoyment I got from reading the rest of the book far outweighs the slight disappointment I felt at the end. I therefore highly recommend reading Salem’s Lot and I think it is one of King’s greatest novels.

It’s terrifying.

It’s entertaining.

And it completely changed my opinion of vampire fiction.

Stephen King’s `Salem’s Lot’ is a great book that horror fans will thoroughly enjoy reading.

For fans of Stephen King it is an essential read, not only for being one of his best works but also for introducing a major character who appears across multiple other King novels.

You may not know it, but there is such thing as the `Kingverse’ – meaning every single bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing, quilt-cover-grabbing creature that features in any of King’s novels… actually exist in the same universe.

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