• Jenn Kalchik

Book Review: 'Salem's Lot

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Stephen King is known as the King of Horror. I first discovered Stephen King through the musical version of his first published novel: Carrie. I also loved the movie "It", but I didn't read any of his books until this year, my first being "The Institute." I wasn't a fan of "The Institute" but when I read 'Salem's Lot, I absolutely loved this dark and gritty novel. I read "'Salem's Lot in honor of Stephen King's birthday on September 21st for an online book club that reads paranormal/supernatural books each month.

"Salem's Lot is Stephen King's second published novel and it's considered his favorite novel. It takes place in Jerusalem's Lot (nicknamed "Salem's Lot), Maine in the 1970s/present-day at the time of publication. The book centers around an author, Ben Mears, who returns to 'Salem's Lot" where he lived for some of his childhood in order to write a book. At the same time, Ben returns to 'Salem's Lot and an old vampire [Mr. Barlow], and his human familiar [Mr. Straker] also arrives and starts to turn the townspeople into vampires.

'Salem's Lot is a slow build before we get to the vampires. Once it gets to the vampires, as they would say in The Good Place, shirt hits the fan. The book switches narratives between Ben, a young boy named Mark, and several different residents of "Salem's Lot. This book, unlike Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, does not romanticize vampires and turn them into the romantic leads; vampires in 'Salem's Lot are created to multiply and to kill.

For my 2020 Reading Challenges, I used "'Salem's Lot" for the following prompts and challenges:

Even though "Salem's Lot is a popular horror novel, it hasn't been adapted for movie theatres. It was adapted into a min-series in 1979, and a TV movie in 2004 starring Rob Lowe. Due to laws relating to what you can and cannot portray on television, you can imagine a lot of the gorry details of 'Salem's Lot had to be tamed down to make appropriate for television. Luckily, the book is in the early stages of being adapted for the silver screen. After the success of King's recent book-to-film adaptation of "It", I'm excited to see 'Salem's Lot brought to the silver screen. However, if you can't wait that long for the movie version of 'Salem's Lot for a good vampire scare, I recommend reading the book.

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