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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exquisitely Traditional Vampire Romp
In this modern era - where vampire tales have malformed into trashy parodies of themselves, overloaded with teenage angst (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) or sword wielding, fantastical slayers (Kitty Norville series, Underworld), it is fantastic to find something written in the traditional conventions of a vampire story.

I understand that if a sub-genre such as...
Published on 13 April 2010 by Paul Greatrix

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely packaged, but.....
I must start by pointing out that the 3 stars awarded here are not for the novel itself; it still remains a classic vampire tale and a great contemporary reworking of Bram Stoker's Dracula. If you haven't already done so, read it, especially on a cold autumn night when the wind's blowing and the trees outside are rustling. As King himself implores in the new introduction...
Published on 29 Sept. 2007 by Michael A. Smith


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exquisitely Traditional Vampire Romp, 13 April 2010
By 
This review is from: Salem's Lot (Paperback)
In this modern era - where vampire tales have malformed into trashy parodies of themselves, overloaded with teenage angst (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) or sword wielding, fantastical slayers (Kitty Norville series, Underworld), it is fantastic to find something written in the traditional conventions of a vampire story.

I understand that if a sub-genre such as vampires is going to survive, it needs to reinvent itself (like a lot of horror in general), but I think the original idea has wandered rather wayward. Vampires are now young, sexy, emotionally confused, or painted as cool-as-hell warriors clad in armour or leather. What they are NOT, is scary anymore. The horror has been sucked from them.

This is why everybody who has a slight interest in vampires should keep a copy of Salem's Lot on their bookshelves.

For starters, it IS scary. The opening is chilling and thick with foreboding, and the story goes on to dish up plentiful helpings of creepiness. You'll find all the fantasic conventions of Dracula and Hammer Horror here - stakes, coffins, crosses, vampiric hypnotism. It was written in the 70's, so the traditional interest of the author in the genre rings true - but moreover, King seems to have a deeper understanding of what a vampire story is. Yes, its about ungodly beings who prowl the night and feast on the innocent, but (just as importantly) it's also about the forces brought to bear against such monstrosity. It's about normal people facing true horror, banding together and testing the very limits of what they believe and what they can endure. This is something that Salem's Lot pulls off better than perhaps any other vampire novel or film I've read or watched.

As well as that, all the usual Stephen King trade marks are here - suggestive prose that sometimes almost seem like your own thoughts rather than the thoughts of an author, 3 dimentional characters spiced with ambiguity, and a well rounded, unhurried plot that is full of careful thought and much belief on the part of King. This was only King's 2nd ever novel, and although the dialogue sometimes seems a little jagged than what you'd expect from him, he writes with the excited exuberance of a man who is on the cusp of a thrilling career.

I loved the whole experience of Salem's Lot, and finished it in record time. You don't know King, and you certainly don't know vampire stories, until you've experienced this dark gem.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Salem's Lot (Paperback)
I picked up Salem's Lot late last year and had it read in four days it hooked me that much. Although I have only read a few of King's novels, of all I have read, this is the best so far and has yet proven a hard one to beat. It truly scared the bejesus out of me, the mention of the 'sucking noises' still puts shivers down my back. This has to be the first book that has truly scared me, something I didn't think would happen.

It's such a shame that both TV adaptions haven't been able to portray the atmosphere (and Barlow) correctly as the book had be on the edge of the seat all the way through. Once again, King manages to make his characters seem real with their hidden pasts and secret desires.

Truly brilliant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love at First Bite, 19 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Salem's Lot (Paperback)
'Salem's Lot' was my first foray into King territory, quite a few years ago, but I regularly return to it for further readings but also as a shining (sorry, Mr King!) example of how to write and structure a besteller. My well-worn first edition sits on my book-case close to my writing desk and I often find myself reaching for it when I arrive at a challenging piece of plotting, characterisation or plotting in my writing. King's output is prolific and his reputation is huge - with many detractors it has to be said - but if you want to sample the great man's early work and read a damn good vampire tale that was written long before the recent 'Twilight' books and their sometimes variably teen-fare offspring, go grab a copy and get ready to sink your fangs into a rippingly good read that will haunt your days and nights for years to come.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely packaged, but....., 29 Sept. 2007
By 
Michael A. Smith "Mikeys5" (Ipswich, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 'Salem's Lot (Hardcover)
I must start by pointing out that the 3 stars awarded here are not for the novel itself; it still remains a classic vampire tale and a great contemporary reworking of Bram Stoker's Dracula. If you haven't already done so, read it, especially on a cold autumn night when the wind's blowing and the trees outside are rustling. As King himself implores in the new introduction here '...why don't you turn off all the lights except for the one over your favourite chair?-and we'll talk about vampires here in the dim.'

No, the 3 star rating depicts my disappointment in this actual so-called 'special edition.' When The Stand was re-released in the early 90's we were treated to an extra 400 pages of text which were originally excised before the original publication as King was a relatively untested author and those extra pages would have made the cost of publication, binding, etc, prohibitive. When we were finally able to read the novel in it's 'uncut' form we were shown a whole new character arc with a new journey, as well as additional experiences and backgrounds of already well-loved characters. The chance to experience Salem's Lot all over again in the same light was too good to pass up.

But that's not what we get here. The novel is presented in it's original form with the promised 'previously unpublished fifty pages of material' added on afterward, a bit like the extras on a DVD. Why some of this wasn't included in the book is a mystery. In these pages we find Barlow's (originally called Sarlinov) daytime guardian is an army of rats, resulting in a much more gruesome death for Jimmy Cody; an extremely disturbing sequence involving a vampire baby; a longer sequence in which our heroes travel through the Lot staking and exposing vampires to the sun, and various additional character background pieces. Some of the scenes are alternate takes on events: Callahan meets a different fate here than in the book- which would have left a major story arc in The Dark Tower books turning out very different!- and the final showdown is slightly different. As interesting as these pages are I personally don't interpret this to be 'the novel as the author intended'. It would appear that we've already had that for the last 30 years!

It's a nice touch to include the connected short stories 'Jerusalem's Lot' and 'One For The Road', previously only available as part of the 'Night Shift' collection, the latter being a wonderfully creepy sequel to the main book and the former a prequel of sorts, but the inclusion of a half-dozen arty black & white photos which bear little relevance to the text does not make an 'illustrated edition' in my humble opinion. Some drawings or paintings by previous King collaborator Berni Wrightson would have been so much more entertaining and appropriate...

So, a beautifully produced and bound hardback package for those who are unfamiliar with the town of Jerusalem's Lot, or for those who only know Father Callahan from The Dark Tower and want to know his back-story and origin; otherwise it's only for those who must have everything that Stephen King has published. You know who you are. And, dammit, I'm one of you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How vampires should be!, 24 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: 'Salem's Lot (Kindle Edition)
Vampires seem to be the only monsters that seem to have become less scary over time, culminating with the current Twilight craze. If you're looking for an antidote to all that then this book is it.
This is the first King book that I've read, having never been a big reader of horror, but I wasn't disappointed. The book is a real slow burner, but this is no bad thing. It helps build up a real sense of apprehension and foreboding - something very bad is going to happen in the little town of Salem's Lot.
The vampires are great. They have no redeeming features, no last vestige of humanity, they are evil incarnate. Just as it should be.
An interesting theme in the book concerns the nature of evil - that when evil acts are perpetrated in a place then the location itself becomes suffused with an aura of badness akin to a dry charge. It's inferred that vampires are attracted to these places, like sharks to blood in water. A great concept I thought.
The Kindle edition features two short stories that relate to the novel, the excellent 'One for the road, and the Cthulhu-esque 'Jerusalem's Lot'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 12 Oct. 2010
By 
Sheila Davitt (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 'Salem's Lot (Paperback)
I first read this book a good few years ago. I have read it many times since and I can honestly say that it never fails to send shivers down my spine! Vampires gradually take over a small town, Jerusalem's Lot, and they are not definately not friendly (anyone reading this hoping to find a Edward Cullen type of vampire are in for a shock!)
There are some truly chilling moments in the book (the scene where Danny Glick is scratching at Mark Petrie's window to be let in stayed with me for a long time!). It's made more frightening as the vampires are not just mindless bloodsuckers, they retain much of their former intelligence and are able to be cunning when hunting for victims.
This is one of my favourite books ever and it never seems to get old. I would thoroughly recommend it to all fans of vampire fiction. I'd give it more stars if I could!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANG-tastic, 24 Mar. 2011
By 
Ms S. Dempsey - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Salem's Lot (Paperback)
I first read this under the duvet at the tender age of fourteen and have re-read it many, many times over the last two decades, which should give you an idea of just how much I love this book. Although only his second publication, Salem's Lot is King at his very best. There's just so much I love about this book, from the descriptive prose, to the way it gave me nightmares after reading it for the first time. This was the book that first ignited my fascination with horror novels and is the one against which all others are judged (by me at least).

I love the way that King brings each of the characters to life, whether they are major or minor players in the story. I love the way that all of the characters are just so believable, with none of the heroes being too perfect and invulnerable. Yes some of them are caricatures, but they are caricatures of people that you would see in any small town, which adds to the sense of foreboding throughout the book. Anyone who has lived in a small town will be able to recognise someone they know, whether it be the priest that likes the bottle a little too much, or the local gossip. Because the characters are so familiar it makes caring about what happens to them extremely easy, which again pulls me into the story.

I also love the way that the story develops, almost as soon as I start reading I find myself hooked and the pace picks up relentlessly until I reach the last page. This is a book that I genuinely find hard to put down once I start reading it, there's not one point where I don't want to know what happens next, (even though have read it countless times, I already know what happens next). And I'm never tempted to skim, flick a few pages ahead or (god forbid) take a peaky look at the final page. Out of all the hundreds of books I've read, in all the different genres, Salem's Lot is by far my favourite, and while others may find it strange, for me this book and the characters within it are almost like old friends.

It's no spoiler, to tell you that this is a book about vampires, my copy has a picture of a vampire on the front. But to me this is about far more than just the vampire (who is fantastically written, with just the right amount of mystery about him). For me the vampire is only a part of the horror, it's hard to explain, but it was the realisation of how easily a town could die that hit me, even at the tender age of fourteen. The mark of a good horror is when it's not so fantastical that it can no longer plant the little seed of possibility into your mind. As a sane, adult, I know that vampires don't exist, but Salem's Lot is so well written that I am able to suspend belief for the time that I'm reading.

In a world that seems full of books and films about `good' vampires who have human emotions and can walk in daylight, Salem's Lot is a completely different kettle of fish. In this book, the rules governing vampires are of the old-fashioned variety, which means this is a far scarier read. Looking back, fourteen was probably a little too young to read it for the first time, especially as I have a very vivid imagination. There are a few points within the pages where deaths are very vividly described, but funnily enough I didn't find them as disturbing as the book as a whole. It was the premise of how easily a town could be taken over by the un-dead that really disturbed my sleep, not the descriptions of the un-dead rising.

And so down to the crux of the matter, would I recommend Salem's Lot and if so who to? The answer is of course a resounding yes, in my eyes this is the ultimate horror novel, and by far the best of King's works. Although some of the background is a little dated (this was first published in 1975), it's still very easy to immerse yourself in the story. But as to the question of who I would recommend the book to, well I will say that fourteen is probably too young, but any horror fan of about sixteen and over should definitely add this to their reading list (why haven't you read it already). And if you're a Twilight fan, then why not read a book, where the vampires aren't all lovey-dovey. As with all of King's books, I would also recommend this to anyone who has read his Dark Tower series. In fact, I would say that in this case this is required reading, as it fills in the back story of a very important character in the later books.

So, I'm giving Salem's Lot a blood-sucking five stars out of five, simply because it is not only my favourite King novel, but it is also my all-time favourite horror novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, dark and brooding haunted house tale packed with vampires and adventure., 21 Mar. 2014
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 'Salem's Lot (Kindle Edition)
I read Salem's Lot for the first time in the 1970s. This book frightened me to death. I hadn't read anything like it before and that's why it stuck it my mind for such a long time. I had to add a copy to my Kindle library and last week I read it again for the first time in more than 20 years...it's still scary and it's still one of the best vampire stories.

The plot focuses on Ben Mears, author, who returns to Jerusalem's Lot after 25 years away and quickly strikes up a friendship with Matt Burke, teacher, and love interest, Susan Norton. There's something strange happening in the old Marsten House, there's always been something strange happening in the Marsten House, and Ben decides to write a book about it.

Into town arrives the shadowy and downright eerie Richard Straker a man with an inhuman amount of physical strength and animal cunning. Straker seems content to fill his time running an antique/curio shop while awaiting the arrival of his 'business' partner Kurt Barlow. People begin to disappear. Jerusalem's Lot is such a sleepy, little backwater the disappearances go unnoticed by all but a few; namely Ben Mears and his small but growing band of vigilante vampire hunters.

The story takes on many dark twists and turns as the battle begins. Stephen King does some of his best work creating demonic, hissing child vampires who appear at bedroom windows in the dead of night, still gives me chills, but it's the arrival into the story of the much anticipated Kurt Barlow which ramps up the action allowing an ocean of dark, violent and blood soaked horror elements into the plot!.

King creates the ultimate haunted house, The Marsten House, and fills it with a dreadful, haunted presence which sets the scene perfectly for a newer, hungrier, type of resident. He creates complex characters and family groups only to murder them off, or worse, and all the time there's a ripping, good adventure running right through the heart of the plot...and an excellent escape. This is heady stuff.

Complex, eerie, claustrophobic and dark - I'd recommend Salem's Lot to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More 'Dracula' than 'Twilight', 29 Mar. 2010
By 
This review is from: Salem's Lot (Paperback)
I've heard people worry out loud that society has started losing sight of good and evil, referencing the current trend for romanticising vampires as proof that this is true. It's true that books like True Blood and The Twilight Saga have evolved the relationship between the night-dwelling bloodsuckers and us day-dwelling ordinary suckers, but I like the way things have gone since this book first came out.

Anne Rice got the ball rolling with Interview with the Vampire, filling out the life behind the shadows that every other literary vampire has had, but not revealed; it's a great - albeit rather straightforward, with hindsight - development. I love the idea of these rather jaded beings suffering with the consequences of immortality: it's a thing most of my generation have contemplated at times when the lights are out and sleep isn't forthcoming.

But nevertheless it was good to read a more traditional, old-school approach to the genre - and this is what this book is. At times it shares a pared-down relationship with Steve's recent book 'Under the Dome' in the way that it documents the unravelling of an isolated town, and the change in psychology that results. 'Under the Dome' was over 1000 pages long though, and this tale fairly cracks along in comparison.

The plot will have been covered already: a small out of the way town with a large sinister house at it's centre has it's gossips working overtime by two unusual newcomers - a successful writer who is revisiting his childhood for inspiration, and a rather sinister European, who has bought the old house for his 'business partner' who no-one has seen.

The vampires are all Evil with a capital 'E' - there is also a Catholic priest with slight doubts in his faith and drink problems, Crucifixes that shine heavenly wrath upon the unclean foe, garlic, holy water and much much more. I learnt quite a lot about the traditional ways to kill vampires; if I'm ever in that predicament, I'll know what to do.

I've spent the last two years reading through SK's work, and this is right up there with his best. His enjoyment in writing what I would consider a tribute to Bram Stoker's original is palpable. There's a lot of love in this book. One of the things people overlook with Steve's books is the pages of beautiful descriptions he will slip in from time to time - they always catch me when I don't expect them.

It's scary and fun. Recommended.

Scary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King at his best, 7 Feb. 2010
By 
PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 'Salem's Lot (Hardcover)
In my humble opinion this is the definitive vampire story of the twentieth century. I remember seeing the tv series as a youngster and it scared the **** out of me but also instilled in me a love for vampire lore that remains to this day. On the down side it was hard to read the book without seeing Ben Mears as David McCallum although I was suprised to read the description of the vampire as nothing like the Nosferatu type creature portrayed in the series. I don't see this as a reworking of the Dracula story at all. Dracula is a much more tragic character inspired more by love than greed. King's vampire plans to take over a whole town, the like of which we never really see again until the advent of '30 Days of Night'. King's vampire are evil ravenous beasts not pretty boys with no teeth or Southern gentleman, this is horror writing at its best. I must agree with the previous reviewer however that the book does not give value for money. I have a copy of 'The annotated Dracula' and hoped that this would be in the same vein. I agree that the pictures add nothing and the extra pages are even described as 'deleted scenes' in the style of a dvd. If that was the road that the publisher wanted to go down then the text should have been re-inserted in context and released as 'The Director's Cut'. I should also warn you that this is also not a book for the limp-wristed, its about three inches thick and must weigh 3lbs, I read it in bed until my arms couldn't hold it up any more!
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'Salem's Lot
'Salem's Lot by Stephen King (Hardcover - 10 April 2006)
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