SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 503 Salem's Lot, by Stephen King Book Review |

Salem's Lot, by Stephen King cover image

Salem's Lot, by Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 1975
Review Posted: 10/1/2004
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10

Salem's Lot, by Stephen King

Book Review by Jeff Edwards

Have you read this book?

Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, to write a new novel and exorcize his childhood fears of the old Marsten House. But two other strangers have moved into the Lot as well - and evil once again takes up residence in the house that gazes balefully over the town. Ben and his small circle of new friends watch in disbelief, then horror, as vampires begin to outnumber the living in Salem's Lot.

Published in 1975 as the follow-up to "Carrie," Salem's Lot is a more ambitious work, with King continuing his efforts to present something more complicated than a battle of clearly defined good versus pure evil. "The town knew about darkness. It knew about the darkness... of the human soul." King is not writing only about Evil (with a capital "E") but also about the cruelty that lives behind closed doors - adultery, child abuse, alcoholism - a recurring theme throughout his career.

King admits that Salem's Lot (originally entitled "Second Coming" ) is a "literary imitation of a sort" of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." King makes no effort to disguise the homage - for example, in the scene where Ben must drive a stake through Susan, Ben thinks of "Dracula" and recalls Van Helsing's speech before Arthur performed the same dreadful task on Lucy. Yet Salem's Lot owes a debt to Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" as well - Ben making stakes at the lathe in the Petries' basement, Jimmy and Mark searching for vampires in a trailer park by day, and the growing legion of undead populating the town - "They were in the streets, the walking dead."

Although the bulk of Salem's Lot is a vampire story, the book opens with a quote from Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," and as King describes the Marsten House and its continuing capacity for evil, he seems to be setting the stage for his next novel, "The Shining." "[T]here may be some truth in that idea that houses absorb the emotions that are spent in them, that they hold a kind of...dry charge. Perhaps the right personality, that of an imaginative boy...could act as a catalyst on that dry charge, and cause it to produce an active manifestation...I'm not talking about ghosts, precisely. I'm talking about a kind of psychic television in three dimensions. Perhaps even something alive."

Within Salem's Lot, a character climbs a set of stairs and remembers his own childhood fear of walking alone at night. "Sooner or later you found someone to walk past all the deserted meeting houses you had to pass between grinning babyhood and grunting senility. Until tonight. Until tonight when you found that none of the fears had been staked - only tucked away..." The passage sheds light on the enduring popularity of Stephen King novels, where our own repressed fears can be brought out from under the bed and confronted safely, within the covers of a book.
Click here to buy Salem's Lot, by Stephen King on Amazon

Salem's Lot, by Stephen King on Amazon

Salem's Lot, by Stephen King cover pic
Comment on Salem's Lot, by Stephen King
Your Name:
Type (case sensitive) here:

Comments on Salem's Lot, by Stephen King
Posted by Jeff Edwards on 1/9/2006
Try posting your question at the SFReader Discussion Forum and see if the group has any ideas
Posted by mythology student on 12/19/2005
hey i had to read this book for a mythology class and then link it to Greek mythology, i read the book but cant link it to mythology. Any help would be greatly appreciated email me at