Reviewing the Pages: ‘Salem’s Lot

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Something strange is going on in Jerusalem’s Lot … but no one dares to talk about it. By day, ‘Salem’s Lot is a typical modest New England town; but when the sun goes down, evil roams the earth. The devilishly sweet insistent laughter of a child can be heard echoing through the fields, and the presence of silent looming spirits can be felt lurking right outside your window. Stephen King brings his gruesome imagination to life in this tale of spine-tingling horror.

King went and took a shot at one of the oldest horror monsters, and hit it out of the ballpark. King’s vampires have a lot of evil going for them, especially with Barlow being as ancient a vampire as he says he is. King takes a small-town setting in a rural area, and he plunges it into darkness and taints it with evil. There are plenty of characters that get a lot of growth, whether it’s in a positive direction, or get a sudden stop in their living growth, and start their undead growth. There were plenty of times in this tale where I went “now, why do I remember this? I certainly remember this, but can’t remember if this is important.” I’m glad I came back to this read after being away from it a very long time. For those of you who like vampires, or horror in general, you should check this book out.

First off, if I didn’t spoil enough for you in my review on Goodreads, then you should probably stop right here.

This is the first book (granted, yes, this is only the second book that King actually published) that King branches out and gives us a full world view.  In this case, we get what is happening in the town when the core group of characters are either incapacitated or doing something else.  And it works in this story.  We get a lot of minor characters that meet an untimely end, and we do get some focus on the secondary characters that get tied into the tale in one way or another, whether it’s interaction with the core characters, or working out their own side stories that eventually lead up to the main tale.

One of the funniest things in this story that sticks out to me (yes, I know I’m slightly macabre, but let’s get real here) is the one intimate scene in the story.  There’s not a lot of description in it…at all.  Besides some light pawing, all we get is “-‘There,’ he said. ‘Oh, Susan.'”.  And that’s it.  I don’t know why I find it so…unintentionally funny, but I do.  I know there are a lot of you that are looking at me weird right now, and that’s ok.  I’m used to it.

Moving right along, King builds up to the climax, with a lot of small reveals and revelations that lead us to one final, climactic moment, that seems rather anti-climatic in terms of the story.  We don’t get one final battle between good and evil. Instead, we get good finishing off “evil”.  However, the epilogue seems to bring not necessarily closure, but at least a hint that the battle with our stake-wielding duo is to continue.

One final note. As far as I can think back, this is the first Stephen King novel that connects back to his Multiverse, and in more specific terms, ties into the Dark Tower.  I am referring to Father Callahan, who appears in latter half of the Tower series.  There are other references to ‘Salem’s Lot later on down the road, and I’m sure I’ll be catching those along the way.

For those who enjoy a good vampire tale, or just like enjoying suspense creeping down your spine, then you should check out this read.

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