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Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot :
Overall rating: Predictable and Soaked in Suspense
Sometimes a book will just sit around the house forever. It collects dust. The pages turn yellow. It’s most likely the original print from the 1970’s. The original source the book is that it was given to me a long time ago, but I’m not sure who gave it to me or why. Then spring cleaning comes and I pick it up this book and have to make a choice. Trash it or read it. And despite the fact that it is written by Stephen King, I decided to read it. This book is called Salem’s Lost.
This is one of Stephen’s earliest novels that gave a thin ray of hope that it may be enjoyable and not as abstract, weird or scattered brained. There’s not a lot to say about the plot. It is as simple of a set up as you can get. Ben Mears, a writer, returns to a his child hood town of Salem’s Lot to write about the Marsten House that he became scared of as child during a game of truth and dare. It turns out the house is bought from some else, and that some else is a vampire. And as expected, the town slowly become infected by this vampire and fades into a town of the walking dead.
So what is the good? Well it’s not bad. Not great, but not bad. Things do happen in the story, and is focused on the central story. There are no “why is this chapter in the book?” moments. When I say this I typically refer to things like ‘ a man dying because Jesus is talking to man through the TV in the Tommyknockers’ or ‘the constant reciting of the “I am the Walrus” lyrics in Dreamcatcher.”’ Everything did fit. There was nothing random. And another thing, I have to hand it to the author , is that the book didn’t suffer from mindless clichés that all vampire novels suffer from today. It is a simple straight forward horror novel, but is much better than Dean Koontz work and not as over sexed as Bently Little novels.
So here’s the bad. Stephen King relies too heavily on suspense. For the first half of the novel, I read scenes such as some thing running after to children late at night. But it is all suggestive. They are running because they are scared because of bad feelings they have and what they can’t see in the fog. There’s another scene where then spend ten pages on the character Matt and how he doesn’t want to go upstairs because he’s scared. This is not scary. I know he’s trying to be scary. But to me as a reader, it wasn’t scary. It was just dragging along. I need a image to scare me, or at least present a sound. A creepy image maybe. A bad feeling doesn’t work for me. And I know books can be creepy by showing and not telling. In the Eaters of The Dead, people where being slaughtered by creatures within this cursed mist and piece by piece it is revealed and is intensified in the story. The author didn’t suggest something is scary, he shown how it was scary. It was a sort of suspense that believable to me. The same issue came up where the doctor and boy was going to kill the vampire, then jumps ahead in the story two hours, to have the boy explains to Ben what happened in the basement in three or four sentences. And when I read that, I said “Wow. That’s really lazy.” Beyond that I felt the character were completely un relatable and shallow. But that was a very minor issue in the book.
So overall, the book Salem’s Lot is fair. It is just trying way too hard to be scary using too much suspense for it’s own good. The book is something to pass on, for most people. But not one that you’ll regret if you read it. I recommend it to vampire lovers and die hard Stephen King fans. For you guys, this is chocolate. For the rest of us, it really isn’t much.
1 ½ smoothies out of four.
P.S. Check out my book and ebook website Lelue’s Realm. Google it or go directly to http://www.lelue.webs.com/