This weekend in Salem, we had sweltering heat, upwards of 100ÂºF. Since our house is old with old windows and no A/C, we were feeling pretty wilted. Jeremy retreated to the cool basement to play computer games (first time in quite a while!), and I sat upstairs in the sauna—er, home theatre room—and mustered up just enough energy to hold a book.
â€˜Salemâ€™s Lot is one of the King books I have been wanting to read for a while, but was never able to find when I thought to look for it. Finally, I got ahold of a copy, and read it in less than a week. This book was Stephen Kingâ€™s second novel, written in 1975. It is a vampire story modeled on Bram Stokerâ€™s type, but characteristic of King, it is set in a small Maine town called Jerusalemâ€™s Lot.
As the title indicates, the town itself is much more the subject of this book than the vampires. It was several hundred pages before we first get a clear indication that vampires are the villains of the story, and at least halfway through before the main characters start to consider this. Instead, the focus is on the town: the grand passage of time—or lack thereof—in this small rural borough, and the more mundane ins and outs of its inhabitantsâ€™ daily lives. Although the story has a small core of heroes, the book weaves their activities together with those of the townâ€™s locals, dwelling on the potential for evil that simmers everywhere just under the surface.
â€˜Salemâ€™s Lot was a well written book. Although an early book, it has all the components of Kingâ€™s best work: a scary, compelling plot with a supernatural twist, yet deeply connected to human nature through his detailed characterization of the rural townâ€™s inhabitants. I also appreciated that it doesnâ€™t end with a huge supernatural battle between good and evil, a device which seems rather forced in many of Kingâ€™s later books—instead, the final conflict is both realistic and satisfying. Definitely a recommended book.