A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, October 25, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Salem's Lot by Stephen King- Feature and Review


'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in 'Salem's Lot was a summer of home-coming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to 'Salem's Lot hoping to cast out his own devils... and found instead a new unspeakable horror.

A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved.

All would be changed forever—Susan, whose love for Ben could not protect her; Father Callahan, the bad priest who put his eroded faith to one last test; and Mark, a young boy who sees his fantasy world become reality and ironically proves the best equipped to handle the relentless nightmare of 'Salem's Lot.



'Salem's Lot'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King is a 2011 Anchor Books publication. (Originally published in 1975)

I read a decent amount of horror novels when I was a teenager. My first introduction to Stephen King was with ‘Carrie’. But it was the heyday of pulp horror novels, with lots of books to choose from out there and long story short, I never got around to reading this book until the early eighties. I had read other King books by that time, and if memory serves, I’d watched the made for TV movie before I read this book. Eventually, I got around to getting a paperback copy of the book, and while I’m sure it would have given me a few restless nights under ordinary circumstances, I had a unique, humorous and unforgettable experience while reading this book, which was truly nightmarish-

I was only a little way into the book, when my roommate invited me to stay at her parents’ house one weekend. Apparently, her family had just purchased a fixer upper Victorian and were eager to show off their latest renovations. As it turns out, the house was located out in the middle of nowhere, which is great, during the daylight hours. My room was on the top floor, and as always, even way back then, I’d packed a paperback with me. As everyone settled in for the night, the quiet, the inky, pitch-black dark, an unfamiliar house, out in the middle of nowhere… and reading Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King, made for a sleepless night spent tossing and turning and jumping at every little sound. I kept imagining Danny Glick floating outside one of those second story windows. This book scared the crap out of me!! And I loved it!! 🦇🦇

When I joined Goodreads, I automatically slapped a five- star rating on the book, but I have only read it the one time. With Halloween approaching, I was in the mood for an old-school horror novel, one from ‘my era’. Several books were up for consideration, and this was one of them. Remembering my experience while reading the book, grinning at how scared silly, I’d been, I had to wonder if the book would have the same atmosphere now… or if I would find it dated, and maybe even a little cheesy? So, I decided to find out. Thankfully, my library had a copy of the book and Scribd came through with the audio- something I thought might be fun to try. (The audio is read by Ron McLarty, a veteran narrator.)

The book gets off to a good start and as the story progressed, my memory kicked in and many details I’d long forgotten started to come back to me. King follows the traditional vampire lore in the novel. An old house, rumored to be haunted is purchased by a wealthy man, whose assistant is seen a lot more often than the owner. Meanwhile, a boy goes missing, then his brother comes down with strange anemia-like symptoms and pretty soon, the entire town is gripped in terror. Crucifix’s, stakes through the heart, and all the customary vampire traditions apply here. For its time this was a gripping, updated spin on the conventional vampire tale. Through the years, vampires have morphed into something less confined, with the power to enjoy light and withstand the sight of a crucifix… and some of them even sparkle. 😁😁

But I miss the time-honored folklore of bloodsucking vampires, the scary undead creatures who never age, kill indiscriminately, can’t walk around in the daylight, and can only be conquered by beheading them and driving a stake through the heart. King’s vampires are more ruthless and are in no way conflicted or remorseful. They are pure evil.

This second reading of the book was a different experience, of course. Although I had both an e book and the audio version, the story was a bit too long and lost momentum on several occasions. Of course, a book written back in 1975 will have some references that are dated now, but by no means was the book cheesy. The story is as atmospheric as I recall and stands the test of time- and yes, it still scared the crap out me!! 😨😓😱
4.5 stars






King was the recipient of America's prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine.


  1. I read this book when I was in high school and visiting my sister, who lived in a trailer in nowhere, Iowa. It took me until the middle of the book to realize what was going on! (And I loved vampire novels!) Loved how he kept me in suspense until that point. Didn't see the movie until many years later, and it didn't impress me nearly as much, but still loved the book, because, well, Stephen King! Thinking I should revisit it after all these years.

    1. Reading a second time, I see how clever King was with the pacing. It is still creepy, despite its age. Thank you for dropping by The Book Review! 🎃


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