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Salem's Lot

Narrated by: Ron McLarty, Stephen King
Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4.5 out of 5 stars (13,484 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Please Note: The audio quality has been sourced from tape.

©2012 Stephen King (P)2012 Random House Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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You can't go home again...

Recently, Steven King said that Salem's Lot is his favorite of his novels partly because it's about small towns which are rapidly disappearing from rural America. It was his second novel, the first is Carrie, but years later it still holds up as a first class vampire novel.

The voice performance is also top notch, but I've always been a sucker (pun intended) for Simon & Schuster audiobooks. Welcome to Salem's Lot. Highly recommended!

38 of 41 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Great Performance of an Excellent Story

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!

87 of 99 people found this review helpful

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Classic

Where does Salem's Lot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

High top of the list

What did you like best about this story?

A small city's description, perfectly written characters (all of them).

What about Ron McLarty’s performance did you like?

Yes, very much. But the quality of the recording wasn't good enough.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My favorite thing about the book was how small, inconspicuous details are building the horror atmosphere. Stephen King is the MASTER!!!

Any additional comments?

It isn't easy to write a good book about the vampires. This one is a masterpiece!!!

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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King's Favorite Novel? Good Enough For Me!

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!]

58 of 74 people found this review helpful

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Had me gripping my steering wheel!

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.

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Lost it’s wind in the last 3rd of the book

Started out well, characters and storyline were interesting. Overtime it became more of a predictable story and the characters watered down with a lackadaisical ending. Not his best work

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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blah blah blah

not my favorite book. not a bad story but didn't catch my eye. not as spooky as 9 thought it would be . it might just be me but it's hard to get into the characters right off.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Boring

I had to force myself to finish this one. I like the idea of it but it's just boring.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Creepy...but a bit dusty.

If you could sum up Salem's Lot in three words, what would they be?

Ultimately, this is a creepy novel that builds tension as a vampire lays his teeth into a small, unsuspecting teen. It starts of slow, but moves as quickly as the vampire infection, and turns into a tense, nail-biting, damn scary thriller. Some aspects of the story don't hold well over time, so certain parts did seem a bit dusty.

So...Dusty, Scary, Creepy

Which character – as performed by Ron McLarty and Stephen King – was your favorite?

McLarty performed all the characters pretty evenly.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scene where Danny Glick scratches on Mark Petrie's windows brought back nightmares of the "Salem's Lot" TV miniseries. Also, when Mike Ryerson attacks Matt Burke the teacher and McLarty reads as Ryerson - his voice completely conveys the creepiness and fright of the moment.

Any additional comments?

I was a bit concerned when this book first started, is it does start off as a bit of a 70s romance novel more than a vampire novel. But, then I began to realize that was why it was so masterfully written. The story starts off as innocent, with some creepy elements, especially with the ever present Marsten house...and as the vampire's presence becomes known, the story picks up and moves beyond the innocent love story and quickly becomes a tense, scary horror novel.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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This ... is what I am talking about!!

Once again, I see King at his best in Salem’s Lot. Gothic elements and inspiration from Dracula make this story an amazing and unbelievable amalgamation of classics and uniqueness of King’s style. The haunted house, the dark ghosts, the dark powers of human nature and actions impregnated in the walls of a house. The energy that corrupts not only the body and mind but also the mortar and foundation of the family’s sanctuary.

For more about this book, essay, review, or other books, check out Inkish Kindgdoms. Wordpress.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful