Title: ‘Salem’s Lot
Author: Stephen King
1975 – Adult Fiction – Horror
The Story: Author Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem’s Lot, the small town where he spent 4 years of his childhood. The small town that left a psychological scar that has haunted him into adulthood. Now he’s back, determined to put his past behind him and use the town as inspiration for his newest book. But around the same time of his arrival, two strangers move into the crumbling mansion that overlooks the town. Then strange things start happening – disappearances, deaths, and supernatural omens. Ben is forced to draw a strange conclusion – one no one else may accept.
The Opening Line: Almost everyone thought the man and the boy were father and son.
What I Loved: Boy, does King know how to scare the living crap out of readers! Reading this book was like watching a train wreck that you just can’t look away from. So many times I was terrified enough that I wanted to stop, but the story was soooo good that I just kept reading…but not right before bed. The plot was gripping, there was plenty of folklore sprinkled in, and that ending….
What I Didn’t Love: There were so many characters that at times I found myself confused. I would read a portion of a character’s section, then realize that I’m thinking of someone totally different. So that was a little disorienting at times.
Fellowship of the Worms Questions (Serious Spoilers Ahead – Caution!!!!)
1. Was this book as frightening as you anticipated?
Yes! I don’t read scary stuff for a reason! And that reason is that I actually like to sleep at night. While reading this book, I slept very badly. I kept thinking about vampires knocking on the deck door that leads into my bedroom. Or that scene where Matt enters his guest bedroom and see Mike lying on the bed – the day after he died. After reading, hearing, or seeing something scary, my mind usually absorbs the details, hides them away, and then drags them out after the lights are off – sometimes even months or years later!
2. Did you have any nightmares while reading ‘Salem’s Lot?
Yep. Several, in fact. I slept very uneasily. My weirdest dream had to be the one where I started off attending a college seminar led by Bethany Hamilton, morphed to working at Wendy’s, then found myself in a battlefield dodging bombs that looked that soccer balls that were lobbed at me over the treeline. Also, there were vampires involved somewhere. Where does my brain get this stuff?
3. What’s your favorite part of vampire lore that was incorporated into ‘Salem’s Lot?
Maybe the part where a strong faith and relics from that faith can offer protection. I’m a Christian, so the idea that my faith can protect me in the face of even the most evil thing I can imagine offers a whole lot of comfort. I also liked that you have to invite them into your home, although I didn’t like that they can seduce your mind into doing that. Because inevitably, I would probably fail at willpower.
4. Young Mark Petrie’s parents dismiss the warnings from Ben, Dr. Cody, and Father Callahan as hokum. How long do you think it would take YOU to believe a vampire apocalypse was taking place? If this weird crew showed up at your house, how would you react?
You know, I like to think that I would be pretty open-minded. I don’t know everything there is to know about the world, so who am I to say that something does or doesn’t exist or is or isn’t happening? Especially because these guys have a tight story with plenty of evidence. And they’re all solid guys. The writer, the doctor, the priest. And they have backup from the teacher, a sensible guy that everyone trusts. I think I would be inclined to believe. If nothing else, joining this group could possibly offer a modicum of protection. You know, safety in numbers?
5. Alright Bookworms, what’s the overall verdict on this one? What did you think, all-in-all?
I really enjoyed this. As I told Katie, I now want to go devour ALL the Stephen King books because this was so good. But at the same time, I kind of never want to read another scary King novel again, because (as I said before) I enjoy my sleep. And my sanity. But seriously, plenty of vampire lore, plenty of creeptastic chills, plenty of atmosphere. I love this one.