CONSTANT READER REVIEW – Salem`s Lot by Stephen King

“…small towns have long memories and pass their horrors down ceremoniously from generation to generation.”

Ah, the sleepy, charming town of Jerusalem’s Lot. Some say it might be dying (oh boy) because the population hasn’t grown much over the years. The residents seem normal enough, some are friendly. But the air is thick with the fog of secrets and tragedy. We learn a little bit about a lot of characters, quickly realizing that there are some terrible people in ‘salem’s Lot.

“A house was a house – board and hinges and nails and sills. There was no reason, really no reason, to feel that each splintered crack was exhaling it’s own chalky aroma of evil.”

The Marsten House is terrifying. Half Shirley Jackson’s Hill House, half precursor to The Overlook Hotel, every bit of it is sinister. Left vacant after a horrific murder-suicide some years ago, the Marsten House still looms over the town.

“Understand death? Sure. That was when the monsters got you.”

There are some CREEPY sections in this book (sometimes just a line or two is enough to give you the chills). King has perfected the literary jump scare – he settles you in to the story, and then delivers a horrifying slap to the face when you least expect it.

“…it all seems more real after dark, doesn’t it?”

If you strip the book down to it’s basic story, it’s a really effective, bleak retelling of Dracula. It takes the best parts of the classic and throws in the quintessential dread and grittiness that comes so naturally to King. I would recommend reading both – pick up Dracula first, and don’t wait too long to read Salem’s Lot.

The ending surprised me – I was not expecting it to go the way it did, and oh man is it HAUNTING.

“The town kept its secrets, and the Marsten House brooded over it like a ruined king.”

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