Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Salem's Lot" by Stephen King

After reading the more romantic take on vampirism from the "Twilight" series, I decided to pick up a modern horror classic by an author I've read plenty of...just not his earlier works. 

Having found "Salem's Lot" for only $1 at Half Price Books (a copy in perfect condition with one of the re-re-re-release covers that's very convincing in black in white with a touch of red), I decided to check it out. 

It might be one of my favorite's by King. It's slow, but deliberate. "Salem's Lot" is creepy in undertones and not outright gory or frightening. The description in places is brilliant, colorful and sets such a tone -- I was happy to pick it up as the autumn officially begins this Monday, and two of the days I read it, the clouds were thick and the air was cool, hinting at the time spookily wookilies take the streets. 

I was a bit perturbed with the zillion points of view, at first, but since he's telling the story of a small town (not just a vampire that's come to visit and command his presence), it's that small town that becomes the horror. The mom that can't get past her small-town-mindedness. The gossiping biddy down the street with her nosy binoculars. The fact that one of the main characters used to live in Jerusalem's Lot as a child, but comes back as a writer, and how the town folk treat him like he has a disease. Who wants to live in a small town, now? Screw the vampire, small towns are scary!

Plus, the big bad in the book has a fabulous name: Barlow. Names are everything, really. Just ask Charles Dickens with his crazy names from "Great Expectations" with Pip, Estella and Miss Havisham. 

I am finally going to pick up another one of his older books. I've seen both versions of the movie, but now it's time to see how they can't hold a candle to the book: "The Shining". Since I read "Salem's Lot" with such fall-like weather, and it takes place in September and October, I may enter "The Shining" when it's winter. A good snow storm and I'll pick up that one. 

Until then, who knows what I'll pick up. Perhaps it should be my own book.