My next Stephen King book review is Salems Lot. The first Stephen King novel that leans more to the supernatural then what was presented in Carrie. While Carrie did have an element of telekinesis, Salems Lot had a more deep supernatural emphasis on it. What supernatural element did this story have? Well there are two which are that a place can be a beacon of evil and also there are vampires in the story.
The story is about a writer name Ben Mears who is returning to a small town called Jerusalems Lot (Salems Lot for short) in which he lived for a while as a kid. The town is a small town out in rural Maine and people passing by would probably not notice it. I would like to point out that a character being a write and the setting being in Maine would become a common occurrence in future Stephen King stories. Ben has come to his old town to write a novel with inspiration from an experience he had at a house known as the Marsten House. It was there as a kid he thought he saw the ghost of the mob boss who lived there that killed his wife and hung himself.
While there he meets a young lady by the name of Susan Norton who meets by chance while she was reading one of his previous novels. They begin a romantic relationship even though her controlling mother does not approve but her dad does. Ben also runs into a high school teacher who has been there for years named Matt Burke. He also wanted to try and stay at the Marsten House but was denied when it was found out that two foreign strangers have bought the house that plan to open up a shop in town. Straker and Kurt Barlow are the two strangers who arrived at around the same time Ben did and only Straker has been seen by the public.
The story continues with the disappearance of a young boy named Ralphie Glick and the eventual death of his brother Danny. As strange deaths and sickness starts happening in the town Ben Mears, Susan, Matt, a young boy that is into monsters named Mark Petrie, a doctor by the name of Jimmy Cody and priest named Father Callahan soon discover the secret of what is happening to the small town and the secret of the mysterious strangers (especially Kurt Barlow). Vampires run amok in the town and it is up to the small group to stop them. I will not spoil the book as I find it very intriguing and captivating.
This novel is written in more of the Stephen King style that people are used to unlike the jumping back and forth of Carrie. The story starts off nice with a little curiosity thrown in there and you get sucked into the story not wanting to put the book down. You get engaged into all the characters and even feel that you are part of this community.
That is what I feel is the greatest strength of the novel. Stephen King does not just focus on a few main characters, he writes about a lot of the citizens of the town. As you know I grew up in a small town and I feel he has captured the small town feel and mentality in this book through his characters. For example when these strange deaths start happening, the town people feel it has to do with Ben or the two strangers in town because they are new to town. Like some small towns in America if something changed when new people arrive then it must because of them.
A big narrative in the story is that even people in small towns have secrets and ways about them. You have a character that beats her 10 month old baby. You have a controlling parent. You have a woman having an affair that probably the whole town knows about except for her husband. You have a town drunk, the town gossip and everything you can probably find in any small town in America. I feel Stephen King wrote about small town life real well and that engages a small town person like me.
The book also explains that evil can be anywhere and it can manifest itself even in a small town. In this case the beacon of the evil is not exactly the vampires or the head vampire itself. The beacon seemed to be the house itself which has saw horrors like no others. It draws evil to it. This is also shown through the faith of the characters, especially of that in the alcoholic priest Father Callahan.
I recommend this book to everyone. It is a good story and keeps you interested. The character development is amazing. It is your common vampire story that you would see today but back in 1975 this was rare to see a vampire in your backyard. So if you are interested in an engaging book, you like Stephen King, or you are interested in vampire stories then I would recommend picking this up. You can see how the proclaimed master of Horror deals with vampires.
Moral of the story: Evil can manifest anywhere, even in the backyard of a small town. Every small town has secrets.
I have three movies to review based on the book. Look for those coming soon. It is the original movie (miniseries), a sequel loosely based on the original movie and a remake of the movie which is also a miniseries. It should be interesting to see how the movies come off based off the book. I give the book three and half stars out of five.
Has anyone read Salems Lot before? If you lived in a small town what do you think about it? Do you think there are dark secrets being kept? Do you think there is a manifestation of evil in your small town? If you never lived in a small town what do you perceive the small town life? Just some questions I would like to hear from my readers and for you to think about. Comment below so I can hear from you.
Like I said in the past I will have a tracker of the final ratings of each book or movie I reviewed to show what I liked or didn’t like. It is a rating based out of five stars. For previous reviews if you missed it you can click on the title and it will link to that review for you to read.
Salems Lot ***1/2
Carrie (1976) ****
The Rage: Carrie 2 ***
Carrie (2002) ½* (Yes a half of a star out of five)