Reviewed by Mher Arutyunyan, grade 9
’Salem’s Lot, written by acclaimed author Stephen King, is a stand-alone horror novel. It follows a writer named Ben Mears who is returning to his childhood town of Jerusalem’s Lot. Ben is writing about the Marsten House, located in Jerusalem’s Lot, where a hitman named Hubie Marsten once lived. Mears had a traumatic experience in the house, and is especially interested when it is purchased by Kurt Barlow, who he suspects may be more than he is letting on. So begins Mears’s story of death, bloodshed, and vampires.
I will forever remember the late nights I spent reading this horror masterpiece. Stephen King is a master of mood and tone. With ’Salem’s Lot, he creates a palpable sense of dread and I felt uneasy reading even the descriptions of characters and locations, especially the Marsten House. After the first chapter, I began to care about Mears. He proved to be an interesting albeit flawed character and I enjoyed seeing his arc unfold. Mears meets many colorful characters on the way to uncovering the secret of the Marsten House and the true identity of the enigmatic Kurt Barlow. However, the book never feels crowded, and all of the characters are interesting and feel like they have a purpose within the story. ’Salem’s Lot is, like many King novels, not for the faint of heart. Some of the images that King paints can be quite disturbing, and sometimes downright horrifying, including the typical blood and gore. As the true secret of Jerusalem’s Lot is revealed, and many characters meet their unfortunate and violent ends, I sometimes had to put the book down and take a break because of the intensity and anxiety that the book created. For this reason, I would recommend it to mature readers, preferably in grade 10 or higher. It earns a 5/5 from me.
Editor's note: The library offers this as a book and an e-book, and also has a movie (DVD) of this story.