Release Date: 17th October 1975
Synopsis: 'Turn off the television - in fact, why don't you turn off all the lights except for the one over your favourite chair? - and we'll talk about vampires here in the dim. I think I can make you believe in them.'Stephen King, from the Introduction.
'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with the usual quota of gossips, drinkers, weirdos and respectable folk. Of course there are tales of strange happenings - but not more than in any other town its size.
Ben Mears, a moderately successful writer, returns to the Lot to write a novel based on his early years, and to exorcise the terrors that have haunted him since childhood. The event he witnessed in the house now rented by a new resident. A newcomer with a strange allure. A man who causes Ben some unease as things start to happen: a child disappears, a dog is brutally killed - nothing unusual, except the list starts to grow.
Soon surprise will turn to bewilderment, bewilderment to confusion and finally to terror . . .
Review: I think most people have heard of Stephen King, even more so of Salem's Lot the horrifying vampire novel. I've had this book on my shelf for a while but never found the correct time to read it until the evening of 31st October. I wanted a spooky book to read for Halloween and this was the perfect choice. I knew the reputation this book had, King is the King of horror after all, so I was fully prepared for the frights it held inside. What I wasn't expecting was to love the book as much as I did. I found the characters were all really strong and realistic, I was rooting for them all the way. The antagonists were cold, dark and cruel, there was no good left in them. They were followers of the devil and the darkness practically flowed from them. King has created his own sort of vampires which are incredibly freaky. They were devils with an alluring charm, a facade of kindness that would crumble with your refusal. They were true vampires and ones I would never like to meet. 'Salem's Lot is a classic horror novel that will make you question the supernatural and yourself, if faced with the true existence of vampires would you believe or just turn a blind eye, even though the evidence is right in front of you? King raises lots of questions that will make the reader thing about the unknown. It will change your views on things and make you never want to go outside after dark.
'Salem's Lot joins Ben Mears, a writer who returns back to the town he grew up in, where he needs to confront his past fears. One terrifying memory from his childhood still haunts him now and he believes the only way to make it go away is to return to Salem's Lot and confront it. But Salem's Lot is very different. The previously vacant Marsten House has new residents, and with them comes strange happenings. The Marsten House has always scared Ben but now that someone has moved into that horrifying house, it has set him on edge. While doing research for his new novel things start to go wrong in the Lot. A dog is found brutally murdered hanging upside down on the cemetery gates, then a child disappears and the body is never found. These are just the first of a few strange happenings and Ben believes it's all connected to the new residents. While getting to know the town people, things get worse and it isn't long until Ben is forced to face his fears.
Ben Mears is the main character, he's a decent fellow with a career choice that the town people look down upon. He doesn't care what they think he just wants to get his work done while battling his personal demons. I really got to like Ben as the main character, at first I was a bit weary but in the end we saw his strength. He pushed through even when his fears were right in front of him. He confronted these fears while saving his town. He was very realistic, he had his flaws just like anyone else. Susan was his love interest from the very start, I really didn't like her, it was just too convenient that she was always there to listen to Ben spill his secrets. The only time I liked her was when something happened to her but I shall leave it at that. We also had Matt the Scholar of the group, he was the leader even though he was mostly bed bound, he found all the information and formatted the plans. Jimmy was the doctor, he and Ben had a great brotherly relationship going on. Then we come to Mark, the little boy who is wise beyond his years, I loved him. He was only a child and he had to face things that even the adults couldn't stand. He was a strong being.
The enemies were the baldly elegant Straker the side kick to devil's Prince Barlow. Straker was very creepy even though he wasn't a vampire. He had the piercing eyes, The cold voice and a hysterical laugh. He himself would have made a scary villain but King went even darker with Barlow. Barlow is the main villain, he is the vampire, the king of mind games and everything evil. He has the elegant black flowing hair and the piercing red eyes and pale skin. He was a horrifying villain, one who would play with your mind and body until you submitted to his whims.
'Salem's Lot is a very widely read novel and therefore has varying reviews across the Internet. I think people need to go into reading this with a clear mind, instead of comparing it to all over novels and reviews. This is a classic in its own right. It's a chilling horror novel that will be read for generations. I really recommend it. I'm not normally one for horror novels but I've already purchased more of King's novels because I loved Salem's lot that much. If you're looking for a read full of suspense and terror then read this. Be prepared when you start the book, lock all the doors and windows and do not let any strange person in. Oh and don't venture out after dark, I'm afraid you may meet your end.