Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem's Lot in the hopes that living in an old mansion, long the subject of town lore, will help him cast out his own devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods and only one comes out alive, Mears begins to realize that there may be something sinister at work and that his hometown is under siege by forces of darkness far beyond his control.
©2012 Stephen King (P)2012 Random House Audio
Fond of keeping the blood curdling throughout the month of October, I was looking for only the best of the spine-tinglers, the elite nightmare elicitors, the ones that scare the bejesus out of you and have you even welcoming your dog onto your clean bedspread for the night. While there are some awfully good reads out there, I harkened back to one that I read in 1975 (when I was 5 yrs. old)--one of only 3 books that has truly ever creeped me out (one being The Exorcist and the other scares me too much to mention!). And, it is a pedigreed chiller, claimed by the King himself to be his favorite child...Salem's Lot. He even dedicated this one to his daughter. *Do not think of the terrible mini-series...it did not do this one justice.
Dracula, Count Orlok (Nosferatu), and Mr. Barlow...the aristocracy of vampires (Lestat was just too well behaved). There is something undeniably exclusive to Dracula - despite all the gore clever authors can think up, or all the modern diabolical twists and turns -- Count Dracula still reigns supreme as the black-hearted grandaddy of them all. King takes Stoker's lore of Dracula, revives it, and brings it out of the dank castle cellars of Transylvania to a small town in modern Maine (of course--but it could be anywhere, USA) as Mr. Barlow. There are no new evolved vampirical powers, just the original undiluted horror of the Vampire. [*Note" On this most recent recording, the author gives a brief introduction for the story, explaining how his idea evolved into the book--really fun.]
The battle is between pure good and absolute evil -- and more importantly, convincing townfolk that there is a vampire in town - an actual bloodsucking demon of the night - before they themselves are recruited to this legion of the undead. The 1970's rural town is wonderfully depicted, full of the kind of hay-seed characters, and that small town party-line feeling King is known for creating so richly. His personal bone-to-pick with small towns comes through loud and clear as he devours the residents without mercy, relishing in extinguishing the abusers, gossipers, and Salem's Lot ne'er-do-wells. The narrator enriches the story with the appropriate chills...if you pardon his un-even delivery of Mr.Barlow's dialect (3.5*).
For fans of the good-ol' garlic-hating, crucifix-fearing, coffin-dwelling, sun-dreading vampire...dig this one out and brush off the dust. It holds up perfectly and deserves to be held in equal esteem with the best of the worst vamps and their stories. You don't need my recommendation; if Stephen King -- the man who has defined what goes bump in the night -- says this is his personal favorite out of his own novels, you know it's got to be wonderfully deliciously dreadful.
[*Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of abundant gore, and haven't read much of Koontz or Barker!]
I discovered the joy of audiobooks several years ago when I got a job which is a 45 min drive one way. It continued to keep me mostly sane.
Being a admirer of Stephen King's writing pretty much from day one, I read this in it's first printing. I absolutely loved it and have re-read it many time over the years. I almost didn't get it on Audible for that reason and I would have been making a huge mistake.
Hearing a story read, even a beloved favorite can bring out all sorts of little things that you never realized you missed. Salem's Lot is one of those stories. Read very well by Ron McLarty, the story of a town infested by vampires and it's inability to understand what is happen to it, is enthralling and chilling. Modern rationality keeps the majority of the Lot's inhabitants from realizing that The Master is among them. Only a handful of people, an alcoholic priest, an author who can't let go of childhood nightmares, a young boy with a preternatural knowledge and intensity, and a high school teacher who suspends his belief. They stand opposite of Barlow, a centuries old vampire who intends to end them.
This is Stephen King discovering his gift and using it to keep you up all night. I highly recommend it. Whether you have read it or not, you will find a story that will fascinate and scare the pants off of you!
High top of the list
A small city's description, perfectly written characters (all of them).
Yes, very much. But the quality of the recording wasn't good enough.
My favorite thing about the book was how small, inconspicuous details are building the horror atmosphere. Stephen King is the MASTER!!!
It isn't easy to write a good book about the vampires. This one is a masterpiece!!!
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.
This book is an excellent example of Stephen King's talent for building tension. I was listening to this story on my way to visit my folks out in the country and I found myself shouting, "Kill it! Kill the bastard already! Just do it! ARGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!" The way he describes people turning corners or tiptoeing down some dark stairs - you can almost hear the building music in the movie scene from your mind. It is difficult to keep to the description of the characters in the story without thinking of the old TV series - who can extinguish the image of the crazy blue Nosferatu from the 70's? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As is true of his writing style I did find myself glazing over from a little too much description at times, though not often and I left the story feeling as though this place truly exists somewhere outside of Cumberland, Maine. Highly recommend.
A great listen especially during a dark fall evening. Steven King's look at what vampires might do in a small town in the modern world is chilling. It builds the suspense and keeps going. The narrator is excellent with just the right voice for this story. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and its narrator.
Slow starting drama
When they started hunting the vampires
Great book it wasn't really what I expected I expected fater Callahan to play a bigger role
I recommend th book but not the audiobook. The narrator's tone of voice is flat and dull. Listen to a sample before you buy the audiobook!
I didn't like the narrator's lack of enthusiasm in telling the story. His voice is flat and tired. I have read this book in the past (I've read most of Stephen King's books) so I knew the story already, but I didn't finish the audiobook because I found the narrator's dullness unbearable to listen to.
Already been done, twice.
My advice for "constant listeners" is that you listen to a sample of the audiobook you are purchasing before making the decision to buy it. When you listen to a book the narrator's involvement in telling the story is vital, but if the narrator fails to do so with vitality it ruins the story altogether.
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 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.
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