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Salem's Lot, Illustrated Edition Hardcover – November 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,435 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Stephen King's second book, 'Salem's Lot (1975)--about the slow takeover of an insular hamlet called Jerusalem's Lot by a vampire patterned after Bram Stoker's Dracula--has two elements that he also uses to good effect in later novels: a small American town, usually in Maine, where people are disconnected from each other, quietly nursing their potential for evil; and a mixed bag of rational, goodhearted people, including a writer, who band together to fight that evil.

Simply taken as a contemporary vampire novel, 'Salem's Lot is great fun to read, and has been very influential in the horror genre. But it's also a sly piece of social commentary. As King said in 1983, "In 'Salem's Lot, the thing that really scared me was not vampires, but the town in the daytime, the town that was empty, knowing that there were things in closets, that there were people tucked under beds, under the concrete pilings of all those trailers. And all the time I was writing that, the Watergate hearings were pouring out of the TV.... Howard Baker kept asking, 'What I want to know is, what did you know and when did you know it?' That line haunts me, it stays in my mind.... During that time I was thinking about secrets, things that have been hidden and were being dragged out into the light." Sounds quite a bit like the idea behind his 1998 novel of a Maine hamlet haunted by unsightly secrets, Bag of Bones. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Before vampires became sympathetic characters with their own alternate worlds, complete with vampire coffee shops and vampire politics, they used to be bad guys, scary not sexy, and they preferred wreaking havoc in horror novels rather than exuding tortured sensitivity in YA coming-of-age fiction. Fortunately, we don’t need to go all the way back to Dracula and Boris Karloff to remember those halcyon days: we have Stephen King’s ’Salem’s Lot, from 1975. Oddly, it’s not the vampires that make ’Salem’s Lot great popular fiction. Mr. Barlow, our lead vampire, is no Dracula. He doesn’t even appear until the story is nearly half over, and he is perhaps the most one-dimensional figure in the book (but that single dimension is enough: unadulterated evil). The real main character isn’t a person at all, human or vampire: it’s the seemingly idyllic New England town of Jerusalem’s Lot. King once said that in ’Salem’s Lot, he set out to create “a fictional town with enough prosaic reality about it to offset the comic-book menace of a bunch of vampires.” He did just that by drawing on our universal fear of outsiders, and nowhere is that fear more recognizable than in our traditional image of the New England small town, where insularity itself becomes a defense against incursion by strangers. The stereotypical Yankee, befuddling outsiders with a series of cryptic yups and nopes, may be a comic character from folklore, but he is also a soldier defending his Maginot Line against potential blitzkrieg. And behind the crotchety Yankee’s seeming impregnability, there is the constant fear that one day a stranger will come to town who won’t take nope for an answer. That juxtaposition of prosaic reality against outlandish terror has always been central to King’s technique for scaring his readers. In ’Salem’s Lot, he does it by looking beneath the surface of idyllic New England. We see the pastoral beauty, the close-knit community, and the unpretentious lifestyle, yet from the beginning, we also see the harbinger of something else, something other. The novel begins with a stranger, not Barlow but a writer, Ben Mears, returning to the Lot, where he’d lived briefly as a boy. Mears has come home again not to reclaim his innocence but to expunge his demons—the memory of the body of a man dead for decades, still hanging in the closet of the Marsten House. Mears believes he hallucinated this horrible scene, but he wants to explore why it happened, why this house prompted him to imagine evil. What Mears finds when he returns to the Lot is that the Marsten House is now occupied by another stranger, our Mr. Barlow. As the known gives way to the unknown, King shows how the small-town insistence on maintaining the illusion of tranquility makes easy pickings for a vampire intent on fomenting a little evil. If ’Salem’s Lot were just another old-fashioned vampire novel, it would portray a straightforward struggle between good (people) and bad (vampires). It would not portray the arrival of vampires in the Lot as a kind of supernatural manifestation of the town’s distorted sense of itself. King feels both affection for and anger toward his small town. A part of him wants to see ’Salem’s Lot get its comeuppance, and this part gives the novel a degree of frisson that most vampire stories lack. And yet, in the end, the vampires don’t win, at least not exactly. Yes, Ben Mears pounds a stake in Barlow’s heart, but that isn’t enough. The evil continues to thrive. The town needs its own stake. Writers of every kind—from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Grace Metalious to John Updike to Carolyn Chute—have wrestled with their mixed feelings about the small towns of New England. But it took Stephen King to burn one down. --Bill Ott --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Ill edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385516487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385516488
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,435 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Keith W. Johnson on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Illustrated Edition of 'Salem's Lot is set up much like a 'Special Edition' DVD. The book boasts over 50 pages of 'deleted or alternative' scenes, a new introduction, and two previously published short stories ("One for the Road" and "Jerusalem's Lot"). The short stories don't have much to do with the characters or plot of the novel but certainly flesh out the 'special features' that the Illustrated Edition has to offer. If you've never read 'Night Shift' (or maybe even if you have, and it's been awhile), then they'll serve as an added treat.

If one is a fan of Stephen King, this is a must own. A somewhat already infamous passage (mentioned by King before) where one character is offed by a gang of rats in a basement is restored in all its deliciously gory glory. While we're on the topic, the bonus passages are NOT inserted into the text of the novel but offered in a later section. This is not a 'director's cut' of the book but set up like a DVD where one can flip to and peruse the deleted sections if one chooses to do so. It's the same novel as before, so if you're looking for something completely new a la Revised version of 'The Stand', this may not be what you're looking for. However, if you are interested into further delving into the world of 'Salem's Lot or interested in what King and/or his editors decided to take out from the original text, then you'll be in Stephen King heaven.

The photographs are stark, chilling, and beautiful... though sparse throughout the book. Basically, they seperate the sections and serve as covers.

As for the novel itself, it is both a compelling and entertaining read. As mentioned in the Amazon review, all the King staples are here (i.e. small town, secrets, and darkness pervading the ordinariness of life).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Today's readers, first becoming introduced to Stephen King, are jaded. They have been spoiled by the explosion of more graphic and explicit entertainment of late. When I first read 'Salem's Lot as a young teen, I was horrified, terrified, petrified. It was (and still is) brilliant storytelling. I was scared, not by the graphic scenes (which were few) but by the *implications* and the unwritten horror, there between the lines.

I feel sorry for today's readers who seem to have little or no imagination left. For us old fogies, who discovered King in the dark, under the sheets and with a flashlight after Mom went to bed and knowing she'd take the book away *for good* if she found you reading it, 'Salem's Lot is a delicious masterpiece of terror.

This Kindle edition was a great treat. I downloaded it without reading much about the edition...what was there to "know?" It was 'Salem's Lot, the only King novel to give me NIGHTMARES. As I was reading, I remembered a short story about "The Lot" from one of King's other books, about a guy who left his wife and kid in a snowbank in the car...and I was straining to remember the name of the story or the book it was from....imagine my delight at the "end" of 'Salem's Lot to discover it wasn't THE END...there was MORE! The story I was trying to recall was "One for the Road" and there was another one I hadn't read before called "Jerusalem's Lot" and then there were the "deleted" or edited scenes from King's original plan for 'Salem's Lot....oh the joy! You hate to see a good book end, and so I was happy that 'Salem's Lot didn't end quite so soon. :)

For unimaginative readers who desire an author to spell out lot of blood and gore and graphic sex, 'Salem's Lot is not for you. For the rest of us, who love to curl their toes at the unspoken, who break out in goosebumps at the subtlety, who long to feel the emotions and terror of the characters....'Salem's Lot welcomes you.
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Format: Hardcover
Jerusalem's Lot is an unassuming small town in southern Maine. It is the kind of town where everybody knows everybody else and most of the residents have lived there all of their lives. In this atmosphere it was odd indeed when three strangers came to town at almost the same time. One of these strangers wasn't really a stranger at all. He had spent part of his childhood there and had returned in hopes of ridding himself of some old demons. The other two strangers also had an old connection with the town but it was a much darker and sinister connection.

Stephen King starts his macabre tale with these facts and then begins to weave a fascinating tail. He introduces the reader to the town in such a way that it makes one feel as if he had actually been to this fictional place. The reader will get to know many of the residents, some all too well. Some are likable, some are loathsome, and some are described so well that the reader will actually mourn their passing. One can easily feel Ben Mears' pain when he finds out that someone that he is very close to is gone.

As the dark cloud of vampirism spreads across the town there are a few residents who figure out what is going on. Some refuse to believe what logic and their senses tell them and they fall victim to the curse while others figure things out in time to flee. A few try to stop the spread of this evil and pay dearly. For those who have not seen one of the movies based on this book, this is all of the story that I am going to give away. For those who have seen the movies, neither movie follows the book too closely and the book is far superior to either film.

King's flair for this type of story is well known and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed with this book.
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