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Salem's Lot [Hardcover]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (351 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for Those who Romanticize Vampires! July 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The trend in modern vampire literature is to make vampires somehow romantic or sexy (thank you Anne Rice), but it should be remembered that vampires did not always have such a refined image. Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is the story of a sickening monster, and the classic German film "Nosferatu" certainly does little for the vampiric image.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stands the test of time, a chilling masterpiece June 29 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those classic books that I still pull down and dust off every few years. It's completely entertaining and a fantastic read. I first read it when I was 14 years old, burning through it in about 4 days. It certainly kept me up a few nights with a bedside lamp left on and the covers pulled way up to the neck. This tale of the Undead has a riveting, well-paced plot and is filled with frightening images. But as I've grown older and have read the book a few more times, I've come to appreciate what an all-around brilliant novel it is.
Salem's Lot tells the story of Ben Mears, a slightly complex, somewhat melancholy writer who returns to the small township of Jerusalem's Lot as an adult to work on a book. The Marsten House, a place where evil things have taken place some decades before, overlooks the town on a hill and has just been re-occupied by two strangers prior to Ben's arrival in town. Having spent a few years in The Lot as a young boy, Ben has come back for several reasons: to recapture something of his youth, to face the fears he found as a child in that house, and to perhaps purge some personal demons through his writing. During his stay he meets some strange folks, makes some great new friends, falls in love with a sweet girl, and slowly discovers that something very strange is going on out there in the foggy darkness of night.
King paints a wonderful picture of a small New England town in the sleepy Maine countryside. I'm from a small southern town myself, and I've always marveled at how similar life and people are in small communities, no matter what region. The clichés are true, nothing happens that doesn't get around the town quickly. And everyone knows everyone else's business. Well, except for those folks in that one house...
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5.0 out of 5 stars King's definitive horror novel! June 24 2004
By DanD
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Are you one of those few people who has yet to read this novel? Well, that's okay. I'm sure it was on your list for a long time, and just got pushed aside for other, newer books. We forgive you.
Stephen King's '75 novel, "Salem's Lot," is probably the greatest vampire novel since Stoker's "Dracula". But is that really a correct statement? Anyone who's read Stoker's novel can tell you that is not suspenseful at all, has shallow characters, and is incredibly anti-climactic.
On the other hand, King's novel is built around a suspenseful plot, involves three-dimensional characters, and has several climaxes (somewhere, there's a pervert thinking dirty thoughts). Not to belittle Stoker's work--he practically invented the vampire genre, more or less--but I would have to say that "Salem's Lot" is probably the best vampire novel I've ever read. Maybe of all time.
That said...Ben Mears is returning to 'Salem's Lot, the town where he was raised, to try and dispell his sudden writer's block. He meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, Susan. He is, if not happy, at least the most content he's been in quite a while.
But the town is in for a surprise. The Marsten House, the Lot's local haunted house, has been rented out. A couple of new characters are in town. A dog is found hanging on the cemetary gate.
All hell is about to break loose in 'Salem's Lot. There's little chance anyone will make it out alive--though the odds are good that they'll make it out UNDEAD.
Stephen King is a writer of writers. He has grabbed horror by the balls, and won't ever let it go. "Salem's Lot" shows us what a horror author can do. This novel defined every other horror novel that came after it. Read it, marvel at it...but most of all, enjoy it.
And I'd suggest leaving the lights on if you're alone in the house at night. Just a warning.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Best King
A very early novel not really his best work in my humble opinion but a pretty good story non the less.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent deal
I actually bought this for my girlfriend and not myself, but she is over the moon happy with it. Good deal and nicely made.
Published 8 months ago by Daran Paige
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than vampire novels that came after, more chilling, less sexy
Review refers to Illustrated Version: King's second novel, I think, and I still enjoy it. It feels classic, but still a great read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Derek Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This is probably King's best book, and makes you wonder what happened to him when compared to his later work. Read more
Published 16 months ago by J. D. Butler
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hard Book to Love, An Easy One to Like
Trying to review this book puts myself into doubt. I do not think it is a bad book by any account, but it has a lot of flaws. However, it has a lot of strengths too. Read more
Published on June 12 2012 by Chronic
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, But An Early Work
Easily a 5/5 star book, but I think if I'd be rating this against other King novels (King is my favourite author, hands down) the rating would be far lower - probably around a... Read more
Published on April 26 2011 by IDGS
4.0 out of 5 stars Vampire Attacks Small Town
I was 11 years old the first time I read this and didn't remember anything about it except that it scared the living daylights out of me. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2007 by Nicola Mansfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Salem's Lot is a Classic Vampire Novel
I am a fan of Stephen King and am recently rereading a lot of his books. After reading Salem's Lot again I am quickly reminded of why it's one of my favorite King books. Read more
Published on March 19 2007 by Kelly Brianna
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic King, ultra scary
Any vampire aficionado must read Salem's Lot. This '75 novel by Stephen King will have you checking under the bed and in closets for all manner of evil... Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2006 by Maureen
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest novel of all time!!
Salem's Lot is not only the best novel Stephen King has written but, it is simply the best novel ever written period. Everything works perfectly in this book. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by matt
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