Being the intense fan of the horror genre (in either visual or literary form) that I am, I’ve recently decided to read a Stephen King novel in honor of the upcoming, most hallowed of contrived holidays. I’ve actually only read two and a half of King’s works: Pet Sematary (one of my favorite books, EVER), Under The Dome and half of The Stand. I’ve always wanted to read countless more but the list of books I plan to read is ever growing and his novels just seem to continuously get pushed to the side. But not this October! I’ve endeavored to read Salem’s Lot and now, slightly more than half-way through it, I know I’ve made one damned fine choice.
Not only have I not read Salem’s Lot before now, but I’ve never seen the film on which it’s based and haven’t really heard anything about the story except that it involves vampires. Not the wimpy pseudo-vampires of Twilight fame but real, dangerous, predatory, blood-sucking, life-taking creatures of the dark. As they were meant to be written.
What stands out more than anything, though, and no doubt what has made King the iconic author that he is, is King’s ability to slowly weave together a story. His sense of timing – the pacing of the tale’s unraveling is sheer perfection. It is damn hard to make words on a page scary but King has had no trouble. He times it perfectly, giving enough suspense, enough eagerness, enough slow-burning interest to ignite your imagination and immerse you into the scene. I’ve read a few books in recent years that made me wonder how the hell their author ever got published, let alone gained enough momentum to make a buck or two. Never do I wonder such a thing while reading a Stephen King book. Whether his work is for you or not, there is no question of talent.
I’d love to know which of his many, many novels is your favorite. It’s too soon to tell how Salem’s Lot will rank on my short list, which means Pet Sematary is still number one for me. What’s yours?