Author: Stephen King
Synopsis: 'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in 'Salem's Lot was a summer of home-coming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to 'Salem's Lot hoping to cast out his own devils... and found instead a new unspeakable horror.
A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved.
All would be changed forever—Susan, whose love for Ben could not protect her; Father Callahan, the bad priest who put his eroded faith to one last test; and Mark, a young boy who sees his fantasy world become reality and ironically proves the best equipped to handle the relentless nightmare of 'Salem's Lot.
Why did I pick it up?: At the urging of my friend Jason, I gave King another try. I love him, but he scares me-Stephen King, I mean, not Jason. Also, I like vampire stories.
Favorite Line: "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few vampires."
My Review: I was worried that I'd be too afraid to read the whole thing, as sometimes happens with me and Stephen King, but it was just the right amount of scary for me. Of course, maybe I'm growing immune to vampires because 'Salem's Lot made me jump and cringe when I read it late at night but I never considered putting the book in the freezer. Or putting it down at all.
The delivery of back story was well-timed and spaced out perfectly. Ben Mears, the main character who returns to the town he once lived in (albeit for a short time) as a kid. Now a semi-successful novelist Mears plans to write a story about 'Salem's Lot and the mysterious Marsten House where as a boy he experienced a moment of pure terror, which may have been nothing more than an overactive imagination but this is Stephen King were talking about so you know you can't assume that.
The history of Mears, the Lot and its residents is alluded to when necessary and explained just enough without being boring or excessive. By the time you get the full story you are eager to know it. It even got to the point where I was ready for some scary vampire attacks, which for me is a pretty big deal.
The Lot, as the town is commonly referred to by its inhabitants, is full of characters that keep the story focused on what's happening to everyone rather than just Ben Mears. Some of the characters, like young Mark Petrie-a Van Helsing in training, I adored immediately. While others, like the abusive mother, are impossible to pity even when vampires are on the loose. Small town police with no desire to protect and serve when that extends to fighting dark forces. The bored priest with something to prove. The Van Helsing-esque English teacher at the local high school, Matt, is so cool and clever it's hard not to note that 'Salem's Lot began as a re-imagining of Bram Stoker's Dracula while King was a high school English teacher himself.
Recommendation: A great example of King's books if you haven't read much from him. Good for anyone who likes their vamps undead and unsexy.
For Next Week: Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel