‘Salem’s Lot is a Stephen King horror novel set in the town of Jerusalem’s Lot (affectionately known as ‘Salem’s Lot to quickly highlight the direction this novel goes in). The main protagonist, Ben Mears, is a writer who came from ‘Salem’s Lot. He returns to his home town, but makes the discovery that the residents are gradually becoming vampires.
This is the second Stephen King novel I’ve ever read, and I absolutely loved it!
Inspired by the traditional tale of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), King draws on stereotypical vampire story tropes, yet in a clever, imaginative and personalised way, making vampires even more terrifying. I really appreciated this, as the narrative style of Stoker’s Dracula disappointed me, and I felt it detracted from the horror.
King’s narrative style is similar to the original Dracula; you experience life in ‘Salem’s Lot through the eyes of a number of different characters, and yet you don’t feel “bogged down” by insignificant dialogue or background stories. The level of description and characterisation for each character is incredibly well-done, so I felt like I knew each main character and could easily understand their own sub-plots.
Of course, being inspired by a traditional vampire tale, there were still some stereotypes that I half-wished Stephen King had jazzed up a bit, like the use of garlic and stakes to banish vampires.
However, I found the way he used the “sunlight stereotype” quite amusing. There comes a point where the almost the entire town have been turned into vampires and have no idea – they just avoid the sunlight and assume they have the flu or a migraine.
I really enjoyed reading ‘Salem’s Lot and I can’t wait to read more of Stephen King’s work! Unknowingly, it turns out I’ve been reading Stephen King’s novels in publishing order; first I read and reviewed Carrie (1974), now I’ve read and reviewed ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)! To keep up this trend, I suppose I should read The Shining (1977) next.