‘Salem’s Lot

Salem's Lot book cover
book cover courtesy of Random House

Carrie, Stephen King’s first novel, was about an outcast girl in high school with telekinetic powers who lashes out against her classmates. It was a massive success in paperback selling over 1 million copies in a year. ‘Salem’s Lot was Stephen King’s second novel, and it is about vampires in a small town in Maine. ‘Salem’s Lot has a larger scope than Carrie.

The main character is a writer, Ben Mears, who comes back to ‘Salem’s Lot to write a new novel.  As usual with most books and films in the horror genre, he stays in a creepy old house (the Marsten house) where something strange happened to him as a young boy, but a mysterious pair of men have bought the house. One of these men is named Straker and he explains that his partner Barlowe is on a buying trip for the antique store they plan to open. (This explains why no one has seen Mr. Barlowe yet.)  As Ben stays in town and develops a relationship with local girl Susan Norton, a young boy disappears. The young boy’s brother is found in shock but dies soon after without being able to explain what happened. More mysterious things happen and the townspeople start to have unexplained deaths.

The novel has a large cast but the characters are relatable and interesting. As the novel progresses, the cast becomes more familiar and any confusion over who some characters are should disappear. Ben Mears is the main character, and I liked the romance between him and Susan/Susie (her mother calls her Susie). The novel takes some time to set up the characters in the town before the horror elements take center stage.

If you have not read ‘Salem’s Lot or have not read it in a while, you might like to borrow it from our Libby app.  This digital edition comes with two related short stories.  There are also pages that were removed from the original novel but added back into this edition, like deleted scenes from a movie.

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