Salem’s Lot | Stephen King

Salem’s Lot was written by the American author Stephen King. Salem’s Lot was his second published novel in 1975.  In 1987, it was nominated for the Locus Award as the All-Time Best Fantasy Novel.

Stephen King originally titled his book The Second Coming, but he later decided on Jerusalem’s Lot.  King stated the reason being that his wife, Tabitha King, thought the original title sounded  like a “bad sex story”. King’s publishers felt the second title sounded too religious.

Salem’s Lot has been made into a television mini-series twice, first in 1979 and then in 2004.

In two separate interviews, King said that of all his books, ‘Salem’s Lot was his favorite.

“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: “For Naomi Rachel King . . . promises to keep.”

Salem’s Lot | Main Characters

  • Kurt Barlow – Master vampire
  • Father Callahan – The local Roman Catholic priest
  •  Ben Mears – The writer who returns to his home town.
  • Susan Norton – Waitress and former art student with whom Ben Mears develops a romantic relationship
  • Matt Burke – High school English teacher
  • Richard K. Straker – Barlow’s human assistant

 Salem’s Lot | The Plot

Ben Mears, a writer who grew up in Salem’s Lot, has returned home after twenty-five 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 starts writing a book about the Marsten House, an abandoned house where he had a bad experience as a child.   Mears learns that the Marsten House has been purchased by Kurt Barlow.

Soon after Kurt Barlow and his partner Richard Straker arrive,  a young boy, Ralphie Glick, and his brother Danny disappear. The two boys become the first vampires in Salem’s Lot. The two boys set upon infecting such locals as Mike Ryerson, Randy McDougall, Jack Griffen, and Danny’s own mother, Marjorie Glick. Danny fails, however, to infect Mark Petrie, who resists him successfully by holding a plastic cross in Danny’s face. Within several weeks many of the townspeople are turned into vampires.

Ben Mears and Susan are joined by Matt Burke and his doctor, Jimmy Cody, along with young Mark Petrie and the local priest, Father Callahan, in an effort to fight the spread of new vampires.    Ben Mears and Mark Petrie succeed in destroying the master vampire Barlow, but are lucky to escape with their lives and are forced to leave the town to the now leaderless vampires.

A year later, Ben returns, intending to renew the battle. Ben, knowing that there are too many hiding places for the vampires, deliberately starts a brush fire in the woods near the town with the intent of destroying it and the Marsten House once and for all.

Back in the day when I was just a little worm Salem’s Lot was the first Stephen King novel I read. I have been an avid Stephen King fan ever since, enjoying all his great works like The Stand, It, Christine, Carrie and many others.

I hope you enjoyed this short blog about Salem’s Lot. Feel free to leave your comments.

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