'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, this is an up and down sort of book. I didn't think I was going to like it at first: King's observational style is cynical, cold and the whole first part takes a long while to get going. I don't give many writers 100 pages to get their story started. However, I persisted with King and at times I was greatly rewarded. His skill with description is second to none, a long as it is horror and suspense he's describing. He had me on the edge of my seat at times. However, at others, he had me wondering if I should bother finishing the book. That's why my review is 4 not 5 stars. Sometimes, I felt the story lacked pace/momentum, mainly in the bits between the horror. For example, one of my status reports, which was towards the end, when everything was galloping towards the climax, wondered if I'd read the best of the story, because I hit a lull. I've seen both TV adaptations on the story and I'd actually forgotten that the point I was at was a false climax, however, I got the feeling with hindsight, that King, when he wrote that bit had that idea too much in his mind. The tension should have been as great as it was in the real climax, but it just wasn't, and I can't blame knowing what was coming for that feeling.
This book goes out to observe the horrors of small town life as well as the horrors of vampires, and it does manage both, but I would have liked slightly less of the cynical observations on small-town America. King is clearly very well read, a scholar, and he has a keen eye for observation, but if he's going to observe ordinary life as well as horror, then, for me, he needs to be less severe. I think I would have cared more for the town and what was happening if that were so.
Still, I couldn't put it down at the end there, I had to finish it, sitting on my exercise bike way after the half-hour program had finished, just so I could get to the end. It was funny, after all the dawdling on the way there, the epilogue I found rather throwaway, a bit too fast paced, but, hey, it was a good read, when I ignored my doubt and pushed through the slow bits.
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