Top positive review
Three Reasons Why Salems Lot is a Must Read
Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2017
I read this book as a kid and it scared the beejesus out of me. I read it again recently as an adult and it was a different experience alltogether. If you arent a King fan or are, if horror is your thing or its not, here are 3 reasons why this is still a great bookk:
1. Its not what you might expect. Yes, its about vampires visiting a small town and good vs Evil (capital "E"), but Salems lot is a soap opra, with vivid characters only King can create and vignettes of life in a small town that will make you feel nostalgic and disgusted at the same time. They beat their children, cheat on their husbands, drink and bully. Yet its hard to pin them on a good vs bad board, there are shades of grey with everyone you meet. This town is Anytown USA, more a charcter than a setting and you realize the evil man can do is more destructive to society than a thousand year old vampire.
2. It is King at his finest - the writing, the transitions and use of the third person narrative makes the story come alive - its a slow build I admit but by the time the bodies start dropping King makes you care in a way most horror novels dont bother to. You feel for the Glicks, you root for the alcoholic priest trying to reclaim enough faith to battle the dark one and you are happy for Dud in his new life. King will do this again in the Stand and in It, but once you read SL you realize hes sampling from his earlier works and no other book will make you laugh cry and turn on the lights like this one will. The genuis of starting the book with the tall man and boy in Mexico is you kind of know whats going to happen (much like a Columbo episode where you see the murder up front), but it raises so many questions you simply have to hang on.
3. Its the best kind of horror story - it follows the rules and tells classic tale. Straker and Barlow may be the villans but they arent blood thirsty monsters either - they are true to their nature. A vampire kils and a watchdog protects. In one seen where Straker does something awful, King takes the time to tell us about the look on his face which enlightens the reader about his motivation. They follow all the vampire rules - sunlight and crosses and of course the need for an invitation (in fact they were invited to the town by Marsten). They arent invincible foes but they are formidable ones. And its the townspeople that drive the action and turn SL into an apocalypse.
This is a rich story full of great themes about society, the power of faith, men vs boys (my favorite chapter is the inner monologue Mark Petrie has after a close call where he muses about how adult fears are nothing compared to what a child dels with under the bed at night) and even love and salvation. Read it and decide for yourself if this is a horror novel or a novel about the horrorz of man.