Salems Lot Audiobook Summary
Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in the hopes that living in an old mansion, long the subject of town lore, will help him cast out his own devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods and only one comes out alive, Mears begins to realize that there may be something sinister at work and that his hometown is under siege by forces of darkness far beyond his control.
‘Salem’s Lot is a 1975 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was his second published novel. The story involves a writer named Ben Mears who returns to the town of Jerusalem’s Lot (or ‘Salem’s Lot for short) in Maine, where he lived from the age of five through nine, only to discover that the residents are becoming vampires. The town is revisited in the short stories “Jerusalem’s Lot” and “One for the Road”, both from King’s story collection Night Shift (1978). The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award in 1976 and the Locus Award for the All-Time Best Fantasy Novel in 1987.
In two separate interviews in the 1980s, King said that, of all his books, ‘Salem’s Lot was his favorite. In his June 1983 Playboy interview, the interviewer mentioned that because it was his favorite, King was planning a sequel, but King has said on his website that because The Dark Tower series already continued the narrative in Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah, he felt there was no longer a need for a sequel. In 1987 he told Phil Konstantin in The Highway Patrolman magazine: “In a way it is my favorite story, mostly because of what it says about small towns. They are kind of a dying organism right now. The story seems sort of down home to me. I have a special cold spot in my heart for it!”
The book is dedicated to King’s daughter Naomi.
Salems Lot Audiobook Reviews
Recently, Steven King said that Salem’s Lot is his favorite of his novels partly because it’s about small towns which are rapidly disappearing from rural America. It was his second novel, the first is Carrie, but years later it still holds up as a first class vampire novel.
The voice performance is also top notch, but I’ve always been a sucker (pun intended) for Simon & Schuster audiobooks. Welcome to Salem’s Lot. Highly recommended!
Ben Mears, a writer who spent part of his childhood in Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine, has returned after 25 years. He quickly becomes friends with high-school teacher Matt Burke and strikes up a passionate romantic relationship with Susan Norton, a young college graduate. Ben has returned to the town to write a book about the long-abandoned Marsten House, where he had a bad experience as a child. Mears learns that the house—the former home of Depression-era hitman Hubert “Hubie” Marsten—has been purchased by Kurt Barlow, ostensibly an Austrian immigrant who has arrived in the Lot to open an antique store. Barlow is supposedly on an extended buying trip; only his business partner, Richard Straker, is seen in public. The truth, however, is that Barlow is an ancient vampire, and Straker is his human familiar.
The duo’s arrival coincides with the disappearance of a young boy, Ralphie Glick, and the death of his brother Danny, who becomes the town’s first vampire, turned by Barlow. Barlow also turns town dump custodian Dud Rogers and telephone repairman Corey Bryant. Danny turns other locals into vampires, including Mike Ryerson, Randy McDougall, Jack Griffen, and his own mother, Marjorie Glick. Danny fails, however, to turn his classmate Mark Petrie, who resists him successfully by holding a plastic cross in Danny’s face. Within several days, many of the townspeople are turned. To fight the spread of the new vampires, Ben and Susan are joined by Matt and his doctor, Jimmy Cody, along with Mark and the local priest, Father Callahan. Susan is captured by Barlow, who turns her. She is eventually staked through the heart by Ben.
When Father Callahan and Mark head over to Mark’s parents’ house to explain the danger that the family is in, the power is suddenly cut off, and Barlow appears. After killing Mark’s parents by smashing their heads together, Barlow briefly takes the boy hostage. Callahan pulls out his cross in an attempt to drive him off, and for a time, it works until Barlow challenges him to throw the cross away. Callahan, not having faith enough to do so, is soon overwhelmed by Barlow, who takes the now-useless cross and snaps it in two. Barlow then forces Callahan to drink his vampire blood, making him “unclean”. When Callahan tries to re-enter his church, he receives an electric shock, preventing him from going inside. Callahan then leaves Jerusalem’s Lot.
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In the short story anthology A Century of Great Suspense Stories, editor Jeffery Deaver noted that King
singlehandedly made popular fiction grow up. While there were many good best-selling writers before him, King, more than anybody since John D. MacDonald, brought reality to genre novels. He’s often remarked that ‘Salem’s Lot was ‘Peyton Place meets Dracula,’ and so it was. The rich characterization, the careful and caring social eye, the interplay of story line and character development announced that writers could take worn themes such as vampires and make them fresh again.
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