‘Salem’s Lot, Stephen King (1975)
Themes: Horror, Paranormal, Vampires, Fantasy, Fiction
Reading Format: Paperback
Have I made it an unspoken (but not unwritten) promise to read a Stephen King book for Halloween each year? Possibly so. I finished ‘Salem’s Lot in a week, a lot sooner than I thought I would, thanks partially due to doubling up and also reading it via Audible, my favourite car ride partner.
King’s ‘Salem’s Lot is a vampire novel about a small town slowly being overrun with the night-dwelling creatures. The reason for my lower star rating is because, with a plot like this, I expected much more fast paced action. This story felt very slow, it was really being stretched out. As is King’s style, but there seemed to be no gain to it here. It wasn’t being stretched for the suspense, because I didn’t feel like there was any.
Do these vampires sparkle and fall in love with teenage girls? No, thankfully they do not. Written quite a bit before Twilight, I’m glad to say this book focuses on the more traditional element of vampires. The creepy old house on-top of the hill, disappearances, people acting strange. But it was all so traditional that it was also so predictable. A loose Dracula retelling indeed, but has it all been done too much now? I think perhaps I’m a little done with the vampire horror storyline now. That’s nothing on King’s writing of this book, but more on my reading tastes and what I’m interest in from a genre.
King’s language is always very distinctive, the way his characters speak sound like they’re using more words than they need to, to actually get their point across. But it’s in this that I like his style. Instead of shouting and screaming amid fear, the characters remain quite logical, which I find funny. I’m probably not supposed to find humour in a book like this, but I didn’t find fear in it, so I had to take solace in something.
I quite liked the circular narrative, it ended where it began. It made all of the pieces fit together with the relationships you pick up on the way throughout this book. Ben is our main character, an author coming back to his home town to find some inspiration. He collects a group of friends along the way to help him with his vampire hunting. I do love the characters King writes, he does well to give them all their own little quirks. But can I quickly comment on how both books by him I’ve read so far see character names repeated. He certainly likes using the same names!
I’d love to know what you thought of this vampire novel by the King of horror himself!