Stephen King Challenge: ‘Salem’s Lot


One down, 39 more to go.

Last night, I finished the gripping story of Ben Mears, Susan Norton, Matt Burke, Mark Petrie, Jimmy Cody, and many more. Really, the story doesn’t merely focus on individual characters. It focuses more on the tiny township of Jerusalem’s Lot (also known as ‘Salem’s Lot).

Originally titled ‘Second Coming’, the story details the lives of several residents, showing us what it’s like to live in 70’s Anywhere, America. People had a greater sense of community, of right and wrong. Still, it didn’t stop them from making mistakes or giving in to their desires, as a cable man does with another man’s wife.

Suddenly, the creepy Marsten House, already plagued by rumors, gossip, murder, and suicide, receives two new tenants: bald-headed, charismatic Richard Straker and mysterious Kurt Barlow. Immediately, things turn strange for the townspeople.

Meanwhile, author Ben Mears returns to ‘Salem’s Lot, a childhood home, to face his old fears of the Marsten House. Along the way, he meets Susan Norton, a young artist who falls for the writer, Matt Burke, a 60-something English teacher who loves Rock N Roll, and Dr. Cody, former student and current doctor of Matt’s who is intrigued medically. Eventually, 11-year-old Mark Petrie gets caught up in the horror when the corpse of his friend knocks on the window late in the night, begging to be let in.

Mr. King gets in the mind of every character. The prose speaks in the character’s mental voice, each of them having their own language. Sadly, some idioms leave me confused since I was born after the 70s and I didn’t grow up in the Northeast. Nonetheless, it adds flavor to the characters’ personalities.

The story itself builds. King really explores the psyche of someone seeing a vampire. “Did I really see what I think I saw?” In the end, people are forced to deal with the creatures lurking in the dark. Some face it head on. Others are taken by surprise. The remaining simply give up and leave their homes behind.

I enjoyed ‘Salem’s Lot quite a bit. Some of the prose towards the ending dragged. His ideas about vampirism and the mythology intrigued me. Although most of the weapons used against the vampires were religious, King did state it all had to do with faith.

I’d suggest this book to anyone who loves vampires. It’s inspired by early works such as Dracula, clearly. But I grew up in an age of Buffy and Underworld. It’s nice going back to the classics. It’s like discovering a new genre.


2 thoughts on “Stephen King Challenge: ‘Salem’s Lot

    1. Mr. Jonnie Wright Post author

      It’s kinda interesting seeing how he develops as a writer going from one book to another. You can see the ambition, the fire. I’m not saying he isn’t ambitious now, but he’s confident. He didn’t have that going into his sophomore book.


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