The other day I was thinking about this book and realized that I had not done a review of it, as a matter of fact I had not even done a review of any of King’s books. I felt this was some sort of blasphemy so I had to change that. It has been a few years since I read this one, but this one is still a classic.
In my opinion King is the greatest author of his generation, and I would argue my generation as well. His career has span more than 40 years with his first novel Carrie. He has won multiple awards including The Bram Stoker Award and World Fantasy Award, he has been nominated for the Nebula Award for science fiction as well as multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards by various societies and associations. King has written well over 50 novels many of which have been made into movies. King is truly a legend in the writing world not to mention the horror genre. I cannot say enough about how much this guy is an icon to those who aspire to be writers. He is truly a remarkable talent.
As with all of King’s novels this one takes place in a small New England town called Jerusalem’s Lot. The story follows Ben Mears as he returns to his home town after many years away. Quickly he befriends a local school teacher (Matt Burke) and a young college graduate (Susan Norton) catches his eye. Not long after his return a mysterious man purchases a old and decrepit house in the town. Soon two young children go missing and it is revealed that they have been tuned into vampires. As those in the town are slowly turned it is up to Ben and his friends to stop the mysterious stranger and save as many lives in the town as they can.
This is the first ever horror novel I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not know what to expect from King or the genre, but believe it or nor my mother recommended this book and she said she loved. So that is another reason I had to check it out. King is truly a special writer, despite this story being quite long, I think over 600 pages in the mass market paperback, it is still an exciting and interesting read all the way to the end.
There are quite a few characters that get introduced. I have always found that hard to deal with while reading. To me most of the time they are just names and when more and more get thrown in it get harder and harder to keep track. That is really the only negative in the story, and it is a small moot point honestly. Just thought I would make mention of it.
I have often said that I do not know what it would take to shock me either in a movie or a book. Well I can say that there are a few scenes in this story that actually scared me. King did an excellent job of building this particular scene and the way he wrote it made me feel like I was there. I could feel the breeze on my face, and had my eye squinted as tiny amounts of moon light filtered through the forest and cast long and bizarre shadows. It almost gives me goosebumps thinking about it now.
Maybe it won’t scare you, but I was into the story and I felt like I was there. That is what I enjoy about his writing style is that he makes it exciting and keeps you focused while you are reading. I assure you your mind will not wonder while you are reading this one.
This is only the second book I have read by king. I recently read Pet Sematry, which I also thought was great. In that one you get to see yet another more disturbing side of King’s writing, but that is a review for another day.
King has stated that he did use Stoker’s Dracula as inspiration to write this novel. In my opinion this novel is so much better. Dracula is a great book but it is very dated that and it is written in an Epistolary style, which is a $50 word for written in the form of letters and correspondence. Basically nothing happens in the present, everything is in the past and relayed thorough written letters between characters. So it is very cleverly written and very well written, but I did not care for that style for the book. If you are a vampire fan I encourage you to read that as well as ‘Salem’s Lot if you have not already.
If you cannot tell I loved this book, it was the first book that actually scared me, and I am not just saying that to jump on the band wagon. For my first experience with King he certainly did not disappoint as this was a great story that will have you glued to the book and keeping it close by until it is finished. It is a wonderful read that is not over the top in any sense. Although it is a little longer you will not even notice. The only negative is the plethora of characters that come and go for various reasons, but again this is not a deal breaker. This is a must read, or any Stephen King book for that matter. If you have not read this one you need to check it out, as I think it is one of his most famous books. A wonderfully terrifying read!