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'Salem's Lot Hardcover – 10 Apr 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; Illustrated Ed edition (10 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340921277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340921272
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,062,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Stephen King's second book, 'Salem's Lot--about the slow takeover of an insular hamlet called Jerusalem's Lot by a vampire patterned after Bram Stoker's Dracula--has two elements that he also uses to good effect in later novels: a small American town, usually in Maine, where people are disconnected from each other, quietly nursing their potential for evil; and a mixed bag of rational, goodhearted people, including a writer, who band together to fight that evil.

Simply taken as a contemporary vampire novel, 'Salem's Lotis great fun to read, and has been very influential in the horror genre. But it's also a sly piece of social commentary. As King said in 1983, "In 'Salem's Lot, the thing that really scared me was not vampires, but the town in the daytime, the town that was empty, knowing that there were things in closets, that there were people tucked under beds, under the concrete pilings of all those trailers. And all the time I was writing that, the Watergate hearings were pouring out of the TV.... Howard Baker kept asking, 'What I want to know is, what did you know and when did you know it?' That line haunts me, it stays in my mind.... During that time I was thinking about secrets, things that have been hidden and were being dragged out into the light." Sounds quite a bit like the idea behind his 1998 novel of a Maine hamlet haunted by unsightly secrets, Bag of Bones. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


An incredibly gifted writer (Guardian)

A writer of excellence...King is one of the most fertile storytellers of the modern novel (Sunday Times)

Stephen King is one of America's finest writers (Scotsman)

One of the great storytellers of our time (Guardian)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember going through my dad's VHS drawer (these were the days before DVD's came out - never mind Blu-Rays) and one VHS caught my eye like no other. It was `Salem's Lot, based on the novel by some guy I'd never heard of called Stephen King (I was only twelve). I begged my dad to let me watch it, but he said it would scare me. When I had done my best impression of Bart Simpson ("Dad can I watch `Salem's Lot?) over and over again, he finally gave in and I sat down to watch it. It was an old film but that didn't bother me. I was captivated by the settings and the scenes and the brilliant acting by the likes of David Soul. But this is a review on the novel and not on the film.

I had recently read Carrie and I wanted to read more Stephen King, based on how much I had loved the `Salem's Lot film. I saved up my pocket money for a few months and went into town and brought about seven books by Stephen King, one of them being `Salem's Lot. I had no idea what I was in for, but as soon as I sat down and read the first page, I knew I was in for one of the greatest literary journeys I had ever been on.

This was only King's second novel, but already he had let his talent grow and he allowed himself to reach higher levels and pass boundaries he had limited himself to on Carrie. The novel had more depth and more structure to it. It was a real whirlwind of both character development and story.

The novel's main character is Ben Mears who comes back to his hometown of `Salem's Lot, Maine, to write a novel based on a house he went into as a child that haunted him up to this day. He finds that the house has been brought by two strange figures - a man named Straker, and mysterious entity that no one has seen known as Barlow.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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I love Vampires. I'll read pretty much any novel that features those creepy blood-sucking monsters that sneak around at night and feast on helpless virgins. But, I have to admit I do prefer the traditional Stoker-esque Vampire to the sparkle-in-the-sun Twilight version. Which is probably why ''Salem's Lot' by Stephen King is one of my all-time favourite reads.

'Salem's Lot has never really been the quiet, peaceful town passers by would think it to be. There is a hint of darkness behind the town's picturesque facade. There is the mother who beats her baby and lies to her husband about how the injuries were sustained, there's the gossips who listen in on other's phone-calls and spy on their neighbours with much-used binoculars. There is the decidedly twisted school bus driver who likes to leave kids stranded four miles from home and the school bully who presides over the school yard like some crazy dictator. But the biggest darkness that hangs over 'Salem's Lot is the Marsten House, the crumbling un-inhabitable Mansion that watches over the town, whose tale is a ghost story to scare children with. The Marsten House was the scene of a murder-suicide that the town has never fully recovered from and that eveyone has a story about.

Ben Mears, disillusioned writer and ex-Salem's Lot inhabitant has his own story about the Marsten House, his own childhood memory that haunts his adult dreams. After the death of his girlfriend, he finds himself returning to the town he lived in as a child, hoping that something there will spark his creativity and help him write his next best-seller. But he finds more than he expected.
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