Next up on my Stephen King ‘catch up’ quest, after rating The Stand the best book I’ve ever read is Salem’s Lot.
Back to The Stand for a moment, I bought the dvd series that was on TV, watched the first episode, thought yeah wicked, looking forward to the rest. Went to work, got home to find the missus had watched it all and then she proceeded to tell me how good it was and why. F*cks sake, why does that always happen, only one way out of this – hide everything till you’ve watched it.
Anyway back to Salem’s Lot, again I won’t review it because everyone else on the planet barring me has read it, I’ll just say what I enjoyed about it so there will be spoilers but who cares.
This book is scary right from the moment Ralphie Glick disappears, the atmosphere feels like it changes from something like normal, to short sharp breaths time and the onset of panic. Here's a perfect example.
‘Run’ he said harshly.
But Ralphie trembled beside him in a paralysis of fear. His grip on Danny’s hand was as tight as baling wire. His eyes stared into the woods, and then began to widen.
A branch snapped.
Danny turned and looked where his brother was looking.
The darkness enfolded them.
Marsten House pretty much made the book for me early on, until it all kicked off in vampire hell, how fucking scary is that place, when the delivery men had to take the stuff into the cellar, Jesus that was one of the most chilling bits of fiction I think I’ve ever read. I felt like I walked down there with him and threw those keys way before he did. That’s how you scare people and with the Hubert Marsten rumours just to cap it off.
This is how I imagine the Marsten House.
Then you have teacher Matt talking with Susan when they hear a noise upstairs and the return of Mike Ryerson, that trip upstairs, avoiding the sixth step, to be confronted by a door that was shut but is now ajar. It’s the simple little descriptions of events like this that bring the terror home, slowly winding the tension up and it’s done to perfection.
The old school vampire lore, invitation only, crosses, holy water, the Lord’s Prayer and your very faith in what you believe, tested beyond imagination. Barlow the vampire and the effect he had on everyone, even those not turned, I love how he creates the atmosphere with respect to the vampires and there power over the mind with enticement & persuasion.
My only issue and a small one at that was the carrying out of the coffin over the prone bodies of those turned, felt a bit wrong to me and a touch impossible but that’s just me.
I’ll finish on my favorite quote.
"The Lord is my shepherd" he spoke, and the words fell into the shadowy room as stones would have fallen into a deep lake, sinking out of site without even a ripple.