In a classic tale of horror by Stephen King, a man returns to his hometown of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, only to find it infested with vampires. Reprint.
Simply taken as a contemporary vampire novel, 'Salem's Lot is great fun to read, and has been very influential in the horror genre. But it's also a sly piece of social commentary. As King said in 1983, "In 'Salem's Lot, the thing that really scared me was not vampires, but the town in the daytime, the town that was empty, knowing that there were things in closets, that there were people tucked under beds, under the concrete pilings of all those trailers. And all the time I was writing that, the Watergate hearings were pouring out of the TV.... Howard Baker kept asking, 'What I want to know is, what did you know and when did you know it?' That line haunts me, it stays in my mind.... During that time I was thinking about secrets, things that have been hidden and were being dragged out into the light." Sounds quite a bit like the idea behind his 1998 novel of a Maine hamlet haunted by unsightly secrets, Bag of Bones. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Stephen King's stab at the vampire story hearkens back to these classics. His vampires generate disgust in those who see them; they look ill, and they smell bad. This is definitely not a book for those who think vampires are sexy.
That said, "'Salem's Lot" is a justifiable classic in the field of vampire literature. King is not apologetic or even romantic regarding the vampires, but rather treats them in the classic Stoker tradition, as foul monsters. However it is not his treatment of the vampires themselves that makes this a good book.
What makes King's book stand out is his talent for portraying ordinary people in extraordinary situations. The town of Jerusalem's Lot is full of the petty little conflicts and foibles that most small towns have, and King explores tham very well. The vampires find all of these weaknesses and exploit them to tear the town apart. The inevitable conclusion of the book is disturbing, not because of what it says about vampires, but because of what it says about how easily people are corrupted.
Also of note: this book marks the original appearance of Father Callahan, who has taken on a prominent role in the recent volumes of King's Dark Tower series.
This book has been adapted to the small screen twice (one of them very recently), but both attempts pretty much missed the mark. Though both adaptations have their good points, the book has more depth and more meaning than either TV-movie version managed to capture.
This is a great vampire novel (though not for the vampire apologist), and one of King's best books.