Book Cover
Title 'Salem's Lot
Series ---
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher Signet - 1975
First Printing ---
Category Horror
Warnings None

Main Characters

Benjamin Mears, Susan Norton, Matt Burke, Mark Petrie, Father Donald Callahan, Mike Ryerson, Dr James Cody, Richard Throckett Straker

Main Elements Vampires

The town knew darkness...
...and the awful, heavy silence of terrifying images grotesquely dancing in and out of the shadows
...and stark white faces, huge empty eyes and long gnarled hands that reached out with lustful insistence
...and the paralyzing fear of a diabolical corruption and a hideous peril more dreadful than death.
But no one living in 'Salem's Lot dare talk about the high, sweet, evil laughter of a child...
and the sucking sounds...

I am not a Stephen King fan. I'd never read any of his books before. I've never seen any of the movies. I did have a high school teacher who'd treat us with short stories from time to time, but that was the extent of my experience. However, this was a vampire book and was in need of reading.

The first time I tried to read this book, I got past the first couple of chapters before I got creeped out. I enjoy vampire novels but going into something involving the satanic just gets to me. Like ghost stories, its harder for me to say, "but that's not real." Anyways, tried it again and maybe since I'm a little older, it didn't hit me the same way. But it was still pretty creepy, though not something that kept me up at night.

I wasn't expecting a "real" vampire story. I thought it might deal more with the satanic worshipping end of things, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was full of bloodsuckers and their minions. I also happen have the movie version of the book, with all these pictures of a nosferatu-like vampire, so I expected some kind of brainless undead. I was quite happy to find Barlow wasn't like that at all, on the contrary, he was cunning and devious.

It was a little long, a great deal of time is spent just introducing a truckload of characters, a few of whom I kept confusing with each other. Then again, I enjoyed finding out about all the different people living in the city, breathing life into the town of 'Salem's Lot. And the atmosphere is a rather important factor, for the vampires are actually rarely seen, let alone directly dealt with. I liked the way the point of view switched back and forth between characters throughout the book, include the point of view of the town itself, as it too is a living thing.

But there is one storyline which doesn't get sealed off with the others. What happened to Father Callahan?

April 2017

I just did a re-read of this book in preparation of reading the Dark Tower series, and this is supposedly because Callahan will show up in one or more books of that series, maybe that will answer the the question I wrote 14 years ago.

Posted: July 2003


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