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
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
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!]
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.
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!
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
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
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