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‘Salem's Lot (1998)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,367295319 (3.93)1 / 297
Fiction. Horror. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 BESTSELLER ? Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem??s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book.
But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work.
In fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.
With this, his second novel, Stephen King established himself as an indisputable master of American horror, able to transform the old conceits of the genre into something fresh and all the more frightening for taking place in a familiar, idyllic l
… (more)
  1. 170
    Dracula by Bram Stoker (keremix)
  2. 93
    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (clif_hiker)
  3. 51
    Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King (sturlington, Morteana)
    sturlington: Father Callahan first appears in Salem's Lot and makes an unexpected reappearance in the middle of the Dark Tower series.
  4. 40
    The Shadow Over Innsmouth [novelette] by H. P. Lovecraft (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Tales of mysterious goings-on in creepy little New England towns by two masters of the horror genre.
  5. 41
    Carmilla: A Vampyre Tale by Sheridan Le Fanu (LKAYC)
  6. 30
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: 'Salems Lot is a better recommendation than The Tommyknockers for it is as much about the death of the town as it is the slow take over.
  7. 20
    They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon (Scottneumann)
  8. 20
    Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson (Scottneumann)
  9. 20
    Vampyrrhic by Simon Clark (pratchettfan)
    pratchettfan: Both books tell a thrilling tale of how vampires take hold of a small city and how a small group tries to stand in their way.
  10. 20
    The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Two great vampire stories!
  11. 32
    Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
  12. 21
    American Vampire Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder (Death_By_Papercut)
    Death_By_Papercut: Stephen King does vampires...quite well!
1970s (54)
Uni (4)
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Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
Enjoyable read once the book starts picking up pace. It's especially incredible when considering this was the 2nd book King wrote. I would have liked to see more character development in Barlow and understand why he came to the Lot.

Some of my favorite parts
-Ben staking Susan
-Marjorie Glick coming back to life
-The Glick boys in the woods
-Mark's Sherlock Holmes reenactment and being badass as fuck against Straker
-Hanging upside down in Marsten House
-Danny hovering in 2nd story window
-Matt Burke hears Mike Ryerson
-(not favorite at all) but fuck Sandy for abusing her baby

Note: I'm confused as to the situation behind Father Callahn ("some fates are worse than death"), and apparently King's Dark Towers series covers it in detail. ( )
  siamm | Jan 18, 2024 |
My #stephenking #readathon with @ame9022 and @wendysallison continues with ‘SALEM’S LOT. Here, SK tackles what would happen if a vampire lord took up residence in a small New England town.

While I would call this a more typical SK book as opposed to CARRIE, this is still clearly early on in King’s writing career. His attempt to juggle multiple characters and narrative threads through the last third of the book is a little clumsy and confusing. Knowing what his writing is like now, it’s easy to see where he was trying to go with the plot, but he wasn’t the polished writer he is today.

There are plenty of creeptastic scenes in the book, and the main characters are all fleshed out for the most part. It was definitely an ambitious book for such a young writer, and part of me wonders what it would be like for him to revisit the book now and polish it up a little, knowing what he knows now as a writer.

#stephenking #horror #salemslot #vampire #vampires #horrorbooks #horrorbookstagram #bookstagram #book #bookworm #booksbooksbooks #bookreview #frommybookshelf #frommybookshelfblog ( )
  tapestry100 | Jan 16, 2024 |
Somehow, one of my all-time favorite classic horror stories just didn’t stand up to time and my adult reading habits on this re-read. The scenes I most enjoyed as a teen were as creepily nightmarish as I remembered – Mike Ryerson digging Danny Glick’s grave, Danny at Mark’s window, the boys in the woods, the guys delivering the box in the basement, Marjorie Glick’s awakening, etc., etc., etc. But where teenaged me found Susan Norton a little annoying, middle-aged me wanted to give her a swift kick. Their romance (unfortunately like most of SK’s romances) was laughably implausible. I wanted to gag both Jimmy Cody *and* Matt Burke. The opening and closing scenes felt clumsily tacked on.

Overall, though, the time spent on the re-read was well worth it, even if only just for those individual scenes.

Audiobook, via Audible. I don’t know why, but Ron McLarty’s voice just grates on me. I seriously can’t explain why. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo. I’ve decided to use Stephen King for my Wild Card author, but I’m holding onto it for now until I decide where best to play it. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Inspired in part by a high school classroom syllabus that had him simultaneously teaching Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stephen King later described Salem's Lot as, “…a peculiar combination of Peyton Place and Dracula…” or, “vampires in Our Town.” And this is a true synopsis. Salem's Lot is about Jerusalem's Lot, a small town in Maine that has a bit of a vampire problem. It was King's second published novel, published in 1975 and you can both see his promise and his flaws as a writer clearly in this story.

The story involves a writer named Ben Mears who returns to the town of Jerusalem's Lot (or 'Salem's Lot for short) in Maine, where he had lived from the age of five through nine, only to discover that the residents are becoming vampires.

Salem's Lot is more or less, an American re-telling of Dracula with a dose of Shirley Jackson thrown in for good measure. It's not only about the monsters of the night, but the monsters that are deep within us already, that live within the dark recesses of our soul. King is just as interested in exploring the mysteries of Salem's Lot and its inhabitants as he is in turn them into vampires. And this is one of the novel's flaws. The problem with Salem's Lot is the characters - they are one-dimensional. I never cared for a single one of them.

‘Salem’s Lot takes a moment to really get started but once it does it is compulsively readable no matter how clumsy the writing sometimes is. The plot is pretty well done and is full of great action scenes and creepy moments. I just wish we were given a reason as to why Barlow, an evil vampire complete with European mannerisms and Straker, his familiar, take up residence in Salem’s Lot.

I wanted to like this novel more than I did. Sadlly, I found this novel to be lacking in original creativity and inspiration. Salem's Lot is a love letter to King's influences and that's OK. It was still a fun read though for a vampire fan! ( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
This was a re-read after many years of King's second novel, one that I had found memorable enough to recall some of the plot or character elements. It features the first occurrence in King's fiction of writer-as-hero in the shape of Ben Mears, an author of mainstream/literary novels who has come back to 'Salem's Lot after an absence of many years. Ben had been looked after there as a child by his now deceased aunt, but had moved away from the town after a major fire in 1951 (the book was published in 1975). Now he is back, wanting to write about the Marsten House, which was abandoned even when he was a child, and is standing empty at the time of his return although it has been purchased by a mysterious and sinister man, Straker, and his hitherto unseen business partner, Barlow.

The Marsten house, which looms over the town, draws Ben's attention constantly and creeps him out. It was the site of a murder-suicide, and Ben has a childhood memory of being dared to enter it and finding the living corpse of the murderer dangling from the ceiling in an upstairs room. It soon becomes obvious that Straker has taken up residence, although Barlow is supposedly away on a business trip to obtain antiques to stock the shop they have opened in an old laundromat.

The homage to Bram Stoker's iconic novel is very obvious as is the borrowing of Shirley Jackson's theme from 'The Haunting of Hill House' of a house that is evil by nature. King makes no secret of that, and having read recently in a biography that he likes to combine two ideas in a novel, this was a clear early instance.

One thing I had forgotten is that the story is framed by a section which takes place some time after the main action, so that you know from early on who survives out of the group of which Ben becomes a part. Following the initial section, the novel proper has a long build up before the depredations of the vampires begin to be obvious, and a lot of minor characters are introduced, helping to build the setting of a small insular community. The problem was that there were so many that, when some of them were name checked later on, I couldn't recall who they were.

The main characters, beside Ben, include Matt the knowledgeable school teacher, Jimmy the doctor, Father Callaghan the priest with doubts and a drink problem, and the preternaturally mature Mark Petrie. I would include Ben's love interest, Susan Norton, but despite an attempt to develop her as a character - her love of books, her delayed rebellion against her controlling mother - for me she remains a cipher. I found it irritating that, despite telling herself she is doing something every dopey cliched female character in horror movies does - wandering off by herself to a haunted house - she does precisely that. The fact that she then joins forces to do so with a 12-year-old boy is no mitigation: the sensible course would have been for both of them to go back and wait for Ben and the others to return from their own encounter with one of the newly risen vampires. I also didn't "get" that because she and Ben had once had sex in the park, he is the one who has to stake her later on - as her husband-in-lieu. There certainly is no necessity for that with other vampires.

The fights against the vampires are full of tension and well described action. Despite that, it was quite obvious that, Susan aside, just about all the main characters have to do something stupid so that they or other people can be killed. Matt repeatedly tells them not to split up, yet they do so repeatedly and wander off to deal with matters by themselves instead of returning to regroup and go back in force. It also seemed a ridiculous waste of time that Jimmy and Mark start locating and marking up where vampires are sleeping during the day instead of actually staking them - strangely enough, in one of the deleted scenes, included in this edition, they did precisely that and I don't know why that was dropped.

One lost opportunity would have been to have included the boarding house proprietor as a main character, which would have addressed the lack of having at least one woman among the vampire fighters. Instead, she is consigned to the role which is also thrust upon a more minor female character, a young teenager that the unpleasant man who runs the dump lusts after, whereby both are shown as being turned on by being vamped.

As well as deleted scenes from the original version, this edition included a short story, set after the novel, and a novella which takes a different angle on the subject - in a deliberately Lovecraftian style, it deals with an alternative version of the town in the 1850s. Both were good additions to the volume.

Given my reservations about the female characters, and the necessity for otherwise smart characters to suddenly become stupid just to enable the plot, I am deducting a star and rating this at 4 stars overall. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McLarty, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piatti, CelestinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toma, RuxandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uelsmann, JerryPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagner, ChristophTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winger, IlseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Horror. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 BESTSELLER ? Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem??s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book.
But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work.
In fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.
With this, his second novel, Stephen King established himself as an indisputable master of American horror, able to transform the old conceits of the genre into something fresh and all the more frightening for taking place in a familiar, idyllic l

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The town knew darkness...and the awful, heavy silence of terrifying images grotesquely dancing in and out of the shadows...and stark white faces, huge empty eyes and long gnarled hands that reached out with lustful insistence...and the paralyzing fear of a diabolical corruption and a hideoous peril more dreadful than death. But no one living in Salem's Lot dared talk about the high, sweet, evil laughter of a child...and the sucking sounds... (0-451-12545-2)
Featuring full-color wraparound artwork by David Palumbo and full-color interior paintings printed on a high-quality glossy stock and tipped into the book!

About the Book:

'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in 'Salem's Lot was a summer of homecoming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to 'Salem's Lot hoping to cast out his own devils and found instead a new, unspeakable horror.

A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved.

All would be changed forever—Susan, whose love for Ben could not protect her; Father Callahan, the bad priest who put his eroded faith to one last test; and Mark, a young boy who sees his fantasy world become reality and ironically proves the best equipped to handle the relentless nightmare of 'Salem's Lot.

This is a rare novel, almost hypnotic in its unyielding suspense, which builds to a climax of classic terror. You will not forget the town of 'Salem's Lot nor any of the people who used to live there.

Special Features For This Deluxe Special Edition:

• an introduction by Stephen King
• an afterword by Clive Barker
• many deleted scenes that were cut from the original manuscript
• the short stories "Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road"
• deluxe oversized design (7 inches X 10 inches) featuring two color interior printing as part of the page design
• printed on a heavy interior specialty paper stock that is much thicker than the paper in a normal trade edition
• custom-made slipcase for the Gift Edition, custom-made traycase for the Numbered Artist Edition, and custom-made three-piece traycase for the Deluxe Lettered Artist Edition
• epic wrap-around full-color dust jacket artwork by David Palumbo
• a different full-color dust jacket for the Numbered Artist Edition painted by David Palumbo
• Full-color interior paintings by David Palumbo
• interior artwork will be printed on a heavy glossy stock and tipped into the book
• an original map of the town drawn by Glenn Chadbourne exclusively for this special edition
• signature sheet artwork for all three editions by Glenn Chadbourne
• high-quality endpapers and fine bindings
• an exclusive reproduction of the first reader's letter to point out the Father "Cody" error and several internal memos from Doubleday about changing the pricing after the first edition of the book was already printed
Haiku summary
Quiet wooded town.
Darkness draws across the night.
Leaf strewn silent paths.
(SomeGuyInVirginia)

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