The Paperback Writer on King’s Salem’s Lot


Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot was one of his early works, and a product of the time.  Published in the mid seventies, it shows life that it very different from the modern world which we enjoy. The women in this novel are either a male character’s wife or girlfriend–and let’s be clear–they all die or are made into vampires. Salem’s Lot pre-dates Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire By One Year; and the novels are both extremely different on their take of the world of vampires. Be assured, in both versions the vampires do not sparkle.

King charms us with his dry humor and his interesting main character, writer Ben Mears who is visiting The Lot after a long hiatus. The story revolves around a small group of characters; Ben, his girlfriend Susan, a teacher called Matt, a doctor known as Jimmy, the local priest, and finally an outstanding young man–Mark Petrie.

There is never a dull moment as King unveils the private lives of every person in the town, and how they come to their individual bitter ends. The novel is thorough and scary–but ends with the stake ’em all approach. I imagine that the inspiration for this novel may have came to King through way of old horror movies, but he did a remarkable job. I have been reading his books for years, and have never been disappointed. Salem’s Lot is not unbearably scary, but it would be ill advised to read right before bed (as I did.) It is a fun read, but will take a while to get through as it is over 400 pages. My favorite novel of his is The Shining, which I brought to mind while in Colorado. I plan to watch the 1979 miniseries, and I hope that it is true to the book.

Another fine job, Mr. King.



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