When writer Ben Mears moves back to Salem s Lot, a sleepy Maine town he spent a few years living in as a child, he has bitten off than he can chew Salem s lot is home to an ancient evil Can Ben Mears and his friends stop the vampire in their midst before falling victim to his lust for blood One of the great things about getting older is that old books magically become new books after ten years I forgot most of the wrinkles of this one so I figured it was a good time to give it another read Salem s Lot owes a lot to Jack Finney s Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers In this case, the pod people are replaced by vampires Stephen King does a great job portraying small town life and then destroying it While I remembered the bare bones of the plot, most of it had been lost in the sands of time so it was a pretty suspenseful read the second time through.Ben Mears is the first instance of what has become a Stephen King staple over the years the writer as the main character In some ways, Mears is a prototype for the protagonists of Bag of Bones and The Dark Half Mears, damaged by the death of his life, moves back to Salem s Lot to try to resume writing Good luck with that.The characters other than Ben Mears were an interesting crew Too bad most of them are dead or worse by the end I d read a second book featuring the two survivors dealing with the fallout from this one.If I had to pick one thing to gripe about, it would be that the ending itself seemed a little easy After everything that came before, it was kind of a whimper rather than a bang Also, I had to wonder why they didn t just burn Barlow s hiding place down and be done with it.40 years later, Stephen King s sopho effort is still a fine read His Dracula meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers tale is just as suspenseful as the first time I read it Four out of five stars. From the 1979 movie version of Salem s Lot It would be years before I would hear Alfred Bester s axiom the book is the boss, but I didn t need to I learned it for myself writing the novel that eventually became Salem s Lot Of course, the writer can impose control it s just a really shitty idea Writing controlled fiction is called plotting Buckling your seatbelt and letting the story take over, howeverthat is called storytelling Storytelling is as natural as breathing plotting is the literary version of artificial respiration This nugget of wisdom is shared by Stephen King in the introduction to the 2005 illustrated edition of Salem s Lot I have to say that I completely agree with this philosophy I have talked to many would be writers who are so bogged down in getting the outline of their story completely figured out that they never actually get to the writing part of the process I like having a few concepts in my head before I start whacking away at that mesmerizing whiteness of the blank page, but if I have it all figured out,then why write it The fun part is discovering the nuances of the maze before I find the exit Stephen King grew up in a small town in New England, and it seems like he has been waging war on small towns every sinceThere s little good in sedentary small towns Mostly indifference spiced with an occasional vapid evil or worse, a conscious one I believe Thomas Wolfe wrote about seven pounds of literature about thatI, too, grew up in a small town and fully intend, in the scope of my writing, to eviscerate some of the heinous aspects of small town values I love Paul Bettany s line from the movie Knight s Tale Chaucer I will eviscerate you in fiction Every pimple, every character flaw I was naked for a day you will be naked for eternityI always like to say that my career is littered with the corpses of my enemies Hyperbole Just a word of warning for those still breathing I will reveal you for the bloody bastards bitches you are in my fiction If you think it isn t youit probably is evillaughwahahaJerusalem s Lot is that typical small town that King loves to destroy on a regular basis, and this time his weapon isvampires The Marsten House, the scene of unspeakable tragedies, has been left empty for many years It is a grand mansion falling into ruin by the very evilness that seems to fester in the walls and the rafters clear down to the bedrock Ben Mears has come back to town to write about the place and intends to actually stay on the premises, but learns on his arrival that the house has been sold Who would really want to stay there anywayThe house smelled You wouldn t believe how it smelled Mildew and upholstery rot and a kind of rancid smell like butter that had gone over And living things rats or woodchucks or whatever else that had been nesting in the walls or hibernating in the cellar A yellow, wet smell The Marsten House is the perfect place for a vampire named Barlow and his assistant R T Straker to take up residence The first clue should have been the initials remember Dracula s assistantR M Renfield The one word name as wellBarlow What does he think he is Prince Yes, he does, and much, much He is, ultimately, a God fashioning people in his own image As Barlow picks off the residents of Jerusalem s Lot one by one and turns them into an army of hungry vampires, a small band of misfits start to fight back After all, who else, but the freaks and oddballs would believe that there really are vampiresAn old teacher half cracked with books, a writer obsessed with his childhood nightmares, a little boy who has taken a postgraduate course in vampire lore from the films and the modern penny dreadfulsBarlow has certainly had better men and women than these who have tried to destroy him He has become overconfident and underestimates the courage and resolve of this disenfranchised band of eccentrics he is dealing with Check out this condescending speech he lays on Ben MearsLook and see me, puny man Look upon Barlow, who has passed the centuries as you have passed hours before a fireplace with a book Look and see the great creature of the night whom you would slay with your miserable little stick Look upon me, scribbler I have written in human lives, and blood has been my ink Look upon me and despairNo one is shocked than Stephen King that his idea for a vampire hoard destroying one of his loathed small towns turns into an inspiring, uplifting novel of the weak fighting back against the most powerful It is a slow burn of a plot King uses the early pages of the novel to let us get to know these people before we see them tested beyond normal human endurance Fortunately, his working title of Second Coming was vetoed for the published title by his wife Tabitha who, rightly so, decided it would be a better title for a sex manual It is a nice ode to the classic vampire myth and manages to add some original stake splattering moments to the genre Salem s Lot has become a classic of fanged literature King proves his storytelling chops If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Thousands Of Miles Away From The Small Township Of Salem S Lot, Two Terrified People, A Man And A Boy, Still Share The Secrets Of Those Clapboard Houses And Tree Lined Streets They Must Return To Salem S Lot For A Final Confrontation With The Unspeakable Evil That Lives On In The Town Vampires.Years after I first read it, I can truthfully say that this is still on a short list of scariest books I have ever read King at his best An American re telling of Dracula, King stays close to the vampire myth but with some of his own storytelling thrown in and some subtle changes that make for an original novel I cannot help but think that Barlow helped to usher in a new generation of vampire literature, of which we have now been inundated for the past few years. 1.24.19 I just finished my third read of SALEM S LOT, this time via audiobook The narrator, Ron McClarty worked well for me and I found this tale as satisfying as it ever was 11.1.2014 Original review I just finished a re read of this book with the Horror Aficionados group here at Goodreads I m so glad that I participated Remember little Danny Gluck I first read this book in junior high or high school It s been about 30 years since then, unfortunately I ve read The Stand and IT a couple of times each, but I never did pick this one up again Finally, that has been rectified and what a payoff I forgot how well this story wrapped its arms around the reader and refused to let them go We meander through the town, meeting its residents and learning about their daily lives I think Stephen King excels at this, mostly because you can tell he knows what he s talking about We focus our attentions on a few different characters some strong, some weak but they re all human with characteristics, both good and bad, that we recognize Quote The town cares for devil s work no than it cares for God s or man s It knew darkness And darkness was enough I feel that s all I need to say I have nothing new to bring to a review of a book that has thousands of reviews already If you haven t read this tale, you should. 3 650 1972 1975 2016 100 4 The Dark Tower 6 20 Salem s Lot,,,, 2 2016 7 2016 25 2016 I was a bit of a wimp before I entered my teen yearsso I stayed away from anything vampire My first vampire experience was Love at First Bite, and not knowing it was a comedy yes, it was before you could Google I put on a brave face for the friend that invited me and entered the movie theater terrified by what I would see Luckily the evenly tanned George Hamilton awaited mealong with some mighty impressive disco dancing The scary blood suckers would have to wait to frighten me Next was Fright Nightagain not so scary I would have welcomed Christopher Sarandon nibbling at my neck for all eternity A year later I was hooked on Interview with a Vampire s beautiful and tragic characters.but nothing to panic about yetEnter into my life the book SALEM S LOT Now these were vampires that kept me awake at night pulling my covers up just under my nose Not that flimsy cotton sheets would be enough to protect me from impending doooooooooooombut so far no blood has been spilled Knock on wooden cross.Writer Ben Mears has come back home to Jerusalem s Lot after twenty five years, to write a book and face his fearsThe Marsten House, an abandoned house that has haunted Ben since he was a child has recently been purchased by a Kurt Barlow and Ben is curious about both house and owner.but as he settles into town one boy goes missing and another turns up deador undead should I say.Hands down my favorite Stephen King and no matter how many newer, shinier, sparkly vampires come along to try to tempt me none can compare to SALEM S LOT. I hate vampires I hate them and I hate books about them I hate the way they re romanticized and sexualized and just generally presented in modern fiction That s why I loved this book King doesn t shy away from the fact that vampires are creatures of horror and he presents them as such They are vile, violent, and everywhere, and that s the way I like them.The characters pitted against them, particularly the priest, are compelling and almost too human to face the vampires And, in the end, they don t actually triumph They escape but that s about it It s tragic and horrible and the perfect vampire book. Well this is annoying times two I just wrote a review and lost it, and then there s the other issue.What other issue Oh, the one where my 14 year old self of infinite wisdom and experience remembered a boring tale lacking truly epic blood and guts from what should be a vampire tale in a small town If that 14 year old could have had his way, then 80% of the novel would have been excised for being too character driven, too focused on hundreds of characters only set up to be knocked down in gruesome death or undeath , and too detail driven and poorly paced for a thriller Damn, I was a dipshit I m not saying that I m no longer a dipshit, mind you, just that I think that kid was a real idiot I mean, I d only been reading anything at all for less than a year and 8 months of that was focused on learning how to read Of course I was going to be influenced by the all the slasher movies rather than novel construction I even watched the crapfest that I considered the made for tv movie based on this book, and I think I might have been a little too harsh on it, too.So flash forward to now, when I jump up the rating from a scathing 3 stars to a full blown 5, an adult reading an adult novel of suspense, emotionally invested characters, subtle humor, high brow words than I remember Stephen King usually using in his novels, and beautifully crafted passages of hometown life falling into what might as well have been a modern retelling of a medieval town falling under the spell of the Black Plague, with all the horror and sadness and superstition that entails.This novel was gripping and intense to my adult sensibilities Do I feel like a fool for my old memories Yes Am I embarrassed Yes Am I absolutely impressed and amazed that the very first trash novelist I got into as a kid actually turned out to be a consummate master of the writing craft Yes.All the things I hated as a kid happen to be the things I love the most, here The characters were absolutely gorgeous I fell into them, and later, I fell into love with the whole town The fact that it had a cancer that was eating away at it from the inside, slowly, was only a tension driver This may be a vampire novel, but it is really a tragedy, through and through We expect to love and lose our loved ones, and this is the true horror Not just the eyes like stars or the breath that smells of pure putrescence or the image of a supernatural horror that no longer needs keys because, now, the dead can squeeze between door jams Of course, Part 3 was all action all the time, with the stakes as high as it can be It was all for the sake of pure survival But Part 1 the get to know you and Part 2 something isn t right were some of the best readings of Stephen King, like, ever Believe me, he has a personal formula when it comes to his writing, but I know of no one who s able to pull off exactly what he pulls off He makes everyone so damn real to me Fun fact There s a dead John Snow who knows nothing in this novel Isn t that fun So, I ve eaten crow and said that I m sorry for being an childhood idiot, but what I really mean is that There Are No Sparkles This is a novel of horrible anticipation and and deep sadness, of exciting vampire hunting with truly intelligent foes There are no levelled up vamps or long antihero arcs or Master Vampire Hunters And best of all, there are no werewolves.There is, however, a sense of reality and loss and fear, and if you are missing a huge dose of that in your life, if only to hold up as a mirror to your own life to say that things aren t so bad with you, then you really ought to jump out there and pick up a copy I can t believe this is only SK s second novel Wow 4.5 starsI feel like there has been a lot of debate over Stephen King s last few books about what genre he might be considered any Mystery, sci fi, fantasy, general fiction, etc etc etc you just don t hear Stephen King horror all that much any Well, if you want to get back to the roots, Salem s Lot is pure, raw, old school Stephen King horror at its finest I am doing a re read of most of Stephen King s books chronologically and Salem s Lot was the next after Carrie I read it originally sometime back in the 90s I am so glad I did because, honestly, I don t remember any of it Salem s Lot is a vampire story influenced by vampire fiction, like Stoker s Dracula, as well as vampire horror flicks The influence of both these mediums is very evident, while at the same time King crafts a new, unique, and terrifying vampire story of his own If you are a fan of the original, raw, pure evil vampire not ones that sparkle , you need to make sure and read this book Those of you out there who have heard about King, haven t read him before, and are wondering where to start, this would be a great place to do so I think many would agree that this is up there with King s horror fiction at its best.