I wish I could give half stars, as a 3 star rating for performance seems low, but it certainly wasn't a 4 star performance.
This book just didn't grab me like other King novels. The story he painted and the characters were not nearly as rich; everything felt muddled and indistinct.
There was a Mike, Mark, and Matt which was really hard to keep straight, and the narrator didn't use distinct enough voices to really tell them apart. Also, the narrator's voice was a bit droning and I found myself zoning out at times.
I LOVE this book. I read it originally when it was first published and remember finishing it and starting over from the beginning to read it again. This was my first and favorite Stephen King novel.
When I find myself looking back to something in my past I think of the poem quoted at the beginning of this book "Old friend what are you looking for..."
I thought Ron McLarty did a super job. Easy differentiation between characters.
There was a film made and it was terrible.
Scary, engrossing, rich
He really has a good grip on the emotions of his characters when they speak. I really enjoyed his reading.
This book kept me captive from beginning to end. A nicely-crafted tale, and genuinely scary!
I actually went out and bought the actual book and I wouldn't say there was much of a difference for me. Some books I just can't listen to like Kurt Vonnegut books but I love to read them. However for Stephen King I just love his books in audio or print equally as much.
I actually got scaired a few times while listening to this! It's a spooky book. What made this book I think is that it's a modern day vampire and I could really place myself in the story pretty easily. As I mentioned earlier I love King books but I wouldn't label them as favorites because for me he just lacks that uniqueness that makes a book a favorite of mine. All throughout this book there are very clear references to Dracula and that kind of disappointed me. Overall though I liked this book and like I said it's my Stephen King favorite
Very good suspense. The ending was barely happy enough for me. This is not a fun and entertaining read. It’s suspense. We get to know many people in the town of Jerusalem’s Lot, which is well done and interesting. Good dialogue and events. I needed to take notes to remember them all, which I didn’t mind. The vampire Barlow and his human servant Straker are bad. But the thing that upset me the most was the mother who beat her ten-month-old baby. Other unpleasant people included a mean bus driver who would unfairly force some kids to walk home, and the married woman who sexually enticed a 22-year-old telephone line worker. He was reluctant to have sex with her, but she was difficult to refuse. There are many negative people but also some good people.
My favorite part was 11-year-old Mark. He was into comic books and monster action figures. Instead of disbelief when he sees the first vampire, he immediately plans to trick it by inviting the vampire in and then presses a crucifix to the vampire’s skin. (I’m shaking my head that he just assumed what was in his comic books would work. What if these real life vampires were different from his comic books? But what he did worked! Wow!) There were several situations where Mark was surprised with danger and reacted and attacked in his own unexpected way. I was impressed! He was at the age of kow-kapow-attack-back instead of cautious thinking or fearful hiding or fleeing. I was considering 3 ½ stars for this book, but Mark is the reason I rounded to 4 stars.
WHAT WAS MISSING?
I wanted a more complete ending. I wanted more about the survivors at the end - something toward their future.
The prologue is about 16 pages. It’s better to read after the book not before. Reading it before the book raised questions and was not helpful. After the book I went back and read the prologue and it made sense and I felt good about it.
CAUTION SPOILERS (This is what I wanted to know before I read the book):
When many people are killed or turned into vampires, it’s not as depressing as one might expect. Partly because there’s not much grief or time spent on good people being hurt. In the end Straker and Barlow are stopped which was important to me. As to other happy ending issues, some good guys died, but other good guys survived.
The narrator of the book is Ron McLarty and he does a good job. I love the Audible narrator who introduces the book at the beginning of the tape - don’t know his name. He’s much better than other Audible introducers.
DIFFERENT EDITIONS OF SALEM’S LOT:
If you plan to read the physical book (not the audiobook) I suggest you buy the Illustrated Edition published in 2004 and/or later. It has deleted scenes at the end which are not in the audiobook. Other reviewers liked them. One of those scenes is about a gang of rats in a basement. That was not in this audiobook.
Genre: paranormal suspense
No. Simply because I already know the story. I never read a book or listen to an audible book more than once.
Salem's Lot was the only book written by Stephen King that I have never ready. I had tried to read it several times and for some reason just could not get past the first chapter. I loved the audio version very much. It was a great story and very captivating. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to listen to the audio version as I don't know that I would have ever read the book. Ron McLarty did a great job narrating.
The narration skills of Ron McLarty made this enjoyable. I read this book years ago, but found it forgettable. Ron McLarty sounds a lot like Will Patton and Patton is a top drawer reader. I still remember many of the key character names (Ben, Susan, Mark, Matt, Striker, Danny Glick...and his little brother Ralphie) and creepy plot points and the county (Cumberland) a month after this listen. I couldn't help chuckling at times when the small click of vampire hunters carry on like an episode of Scooby-Doo. King has his usual awkward sex scenes that are as pleasurable as an earwig crawling on your face. King does manage to create a mood of dread peppered with humor and weird characters. It was entertaining requiring minimal concentration.
I'm not a huge Stephen King buff, and I'm not very knowlegable about fiction, but his books are an entertaining break from the dry nonfiction books I usually read.
Salem's lot one that I enjoyed. The plot line is easy to follow, the story is suspenseful, and the characters feel tangible and deep. Also, there's not too much gore or too many gross, TMI moments. The vampire theme gives it a classic, genre type feel. It would be nice to find other authors who can tell a story or create a character so well.
I'm in my late thirties, and I never read this book as a kid, so even though it was contemporary at the time, the 70's were so long ago now that it reads like historical fiction. Even though the country at the time had just been through a supposed cultural revolution, many of the attitudes of earlier generations were still quite present. We live in a country today that is much less macho, with a lot more gender equality. The older attitudes about drugs and gay rights seem pretty antiquated too. That's not to say that Mr King had the same attitudes as his characters, but his characters seem consistent with the kind of people you might have known back then.
Ron Mclarty is a total pro and on top of his game as a narrator. He's an amazing actor, and makes the mood and pacing of each scene come to life. I guess when your books are as popular as Mr King's are, you can afford to hire the very best to read them.
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
Stephen King has written over 150 different stories, but his reported favorite of the bunch is"Salem's Lot" (1975). Salem's Lot (SL) was King's second book following Carrie (1974). In my opinion, King loved SL because it represented a transition between stories about unique individuals to stories about groups of characters interacting in social systems under duress. SL is ultimately about a group of small town folk dealing with a vampire crisis. When reading/listening to SL, true Stephen King fans will feel the rumblings of his more complex future works (IT, The Stand, and The Dome), where large groups of people form alliances to survive a supernatural calamity. With SL, King begins to lay out the formula that he will return to build some of his best novels.
Although SL has interesting historical significance for King fans, the book limps along for the first 40% of the story. King seems to struggle setting up the chess board for future play. His introduction of characters are often too long and their individual stories are often irrelevant to the plot. Considering the overall length of the book (it's a long one), it seems to meander pointlessly during several sections.
However, King kicks SL into high gear just before halftime. What follows is an exciting and well designed adventure that should not be missed. SL may be King's scariest book with so many wonderfully chilling scenes that you will certainly not sleep with your bedroom windows open despite the summer heat. I also admired King's complete knowledge of the Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and the vampire genre. King does his homework and does not reinvent vampires to sensationalize his story. There are no Stephanie Myer invented vampires here, King's vampires will eat your babies and poop out their remains.
Overall, I would recommend SL to all readers/listeners who enjoy SK or horror books in general. However, you cannot quit on this book until your more than halfway in. If you're not hooked by the halfway point your probably not going to be hooked at all.
On my book rank order evaluation system, SL ranks 37th of the 66 books I have read/listened to over the last 2 years.
Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.
Never read the print.
Not as good as Under the Dome, not nearly as large in scale.
Probably Straker. Seems so creepy and the main bad guy is "on screen" so relatively rarely.
If I have anything bad to say about this book it's that the beginning is a bit long and it's almost like he rushed the middle and the end. It seems like just when the action is getting going the book is finishing up. King tends to write pretty long books so I was a bit surprised to be in the thick of it and notice only about 2 hours left of play time. Others have noted that there are parts of this book that are downright terrifying and I will wholeheartedly agree with them. When Matt is "alone" in his house I almost had to stop listening as I was walking into my dark apartment alone.