'Salem's Lot

'Salem's Lot

by Stephen King

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Stephen King’s second novel, the classic vampire bestseller ’SALEM’S LOT, tells the story of evil in small-town America. For the first time in a major trade edition, this terrifying novel is accompanied by previously unpublished material from King’s archive, two short stories, and eerie photographs that bring King’s fictional darkness and evil to vivid life.

When Stephen King’s classic thriller’SALEM’S LOT hit the stands in 1975, it thrilled and terrified millions of readers with tales of demonic evil in small-town America. Now, thirty years later and still scaring readers witless, ’SALEM’S LOT reemerges in a brilliant new edition, complete with photographs, fifty pages of deleted and alternate scenes, and two short stories related to the events of the novel.

While the original edition of ’SALEM’S LOT will forever be a premier horror classic, ’SALEM’S LOT: ILLUSTRATED EDITION, with the inclusion of material from King’s archive, is destined to become a classic in its own right and a must-have for all Stephen King fans. In this edition, the hair-raising story of Jerusalem’s Lot, a small town in Maine whose inhabitants succumb to the evil allure of a new resident, is told as the author envisioned it, complete with fifty pages of alternate and deleted scenes. With a new introduction by the author, two short stories related to the events and residents of Jerusalem’s Lot, the lavishly creepy photographs of Jerry Uelsmann, and a stunning new page design, this edition brings the story to life in words and pictures as never before.

No library will be complete without this ideal collector’s item for any King aficionado, the definitive illustrated edition of the great ’SALEM’S LOT.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385528221
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/06/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 1,488
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than forty novels and two hundred short stories. In 2003 he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


Bangor, Maine

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1947

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ben (I)

By the time he had passed Portland going north on the turnpike, Ben Mears had begun to feel a not unpleasurable tingle of excitement in his belly. It was September 5, 1975, and summer was enjoying her final grand fling. The trees were bursting with green, the sky was a high, soft blue, and just over the Falmouth town line he saw two boys walking a road parallel to the expressway with fishing rods settled on their shoulders like carbines.

He switched to the travel lane, slowed to the minimum turnpike speed, and began to look for anything that would jog his memory. There was nothing at first, and he tried to caution himself against almost sure disappointment. You were nine then. That's twenty-five years of water under the bridge. Places change. Like people.
In those days the four-lane 295 hadn't existed. If you wanted to go to Portland from the Lot, you went out Route 12 to Falmouth and then got on Number 1. Time had marched on.

Stop that shit.

But it was hard to stop. It was hard to stop when--

A big BSA cycle with jacked handlebars suddenly roared past him in the passing lane, a kid in a T-shirt driving, a girl in a red cloth jacket and huge mirror-lensed sunglasses riding pillion behind him. They cut in a little too quickly and he overreacted, jamming on his brakes and laying both hands on the horn. The BSA sped up, belching blue smoke from its exhaust, and the girl jabbed her middle finger back at him.

He resumed speed, wishing for a cigarette. His hands were trembling slightly. The BSA was almost out of sight now, moving fast. The kids. The goddamned kids. Memories tried to crowd in on him, memories of a more recent vintage. He pushed them away. He hadn't been on a motorcycle in two years. He planned never to ride on one again.

A flash of red caught his eye off to the left, and when he glanced that way, he felt a burst of pleasure and recognition. A large red barn stood on a hill far across a rising field of timothy and clover, a barn with a cupola painted white--even at this distance he could see the sun gleam on the weather vane atop that cupola. It had been there then and was still here now. It looked exactly the same. Maybe it was going to be all right after all. Then the trees blotted it out.

As the turnpike entered Cumberland, more and more things began to seem familiar. He passed over the Royal River, where they had fished for steelies and pickerel as boys. Past a brief, flickering view of Cumberland Village through the trees. In the distance the Cumberland water tower with its huge slogan painted across the side: "Keep Maine Green." Aunt Cindy had always said someone should print "Bring Money" underneath that.

His original sense of excitement grew and he began to speed up, watching for the sign. It came twinkling up out of the distance in reflectorized green five miles later:


A sudden blackness came over him, dousing his good spirits like sand on fire. He had been subject to these since (his mind tried to speak Miranda's name and he would not let it) the bad time and was used to fending them off, but this one swept over him with a savage power that was dismaying.

What was he doing, coming back to a town where he had lived for four years as a boy, trying to recapture something that was irrevocably lost? What magic could he expect to recapture by walking roads that he had once walked as a boy and were probably asphalted and straightened and logged off and littered with tourist beer cans? The magic was gone, both white and black. It had all gone down the chutes on that night when the motorcycle had gone out of control and then there was the yellow moving van, growing and growing, his wife Miranda's scream, cut off with sudden finality when--

The exit came up on his right, and for a moment he considered driving right past it, continuing on to Chamberlain or Lewiston, stopping for lunch, and then turning around and going back. But back where? Home? That was a laugh. If there was a home, it had been here. Even if it had only been four years, it was his.

He signaled, slowed the Citroën, and went up the ramp. Toward the top, where the turnpike ramp joined Route 12 (which became Jointner Avenue closer to town), he glanced up toward the horizon. What he saw there made him jam the brakes on with both feet. The Citro‘n shuddered to a stop and stalled.

The trees, mostly pine and spruce, rose in gentle slopes toward the east, seeming to almost crowd against the sky at the limit of vision. From here the town was not visible. Only the trees, and in the distance, where those trees rose against the sky, the peaked, gabled roof of the Marsten House.

He gazed at it, fascinated. Warring emotions crossed his face with kaleidoscopic swiftness.

"Still here," he murmured aloud. "By God."

He looked down at his arms. They had broken out in goose flesh.


He deliberately skirted town, crossing into Cumberland and then coming back into 'salem's Lot from the west, taking the Burns Road. He was amazed by how little things had changed out here. There were a few new houses he didn't remember, there was a tavern called Dell's just over the town line, and a pair of fresh gravel quarries. A good deal of the hardwood had been pulped over. But the old tin sign pointing the way to the town dump was still there, and the road itself was still unpaved, full of chuckholes and washboards, and he could see Schoolyard Hill through the slash in the trees where the Central Maine Power pylons ran on a northwest to southeast line. The Griffen farm was still there, although the barn had been enlarged. He wondered if they still bottled and sold their own milk. The logo had been a smiling cow under the name brand: "Sunshine Milk from the Griffen Farms!" He smiled. He had splashed a lot of that milk on his corn flakes at Aunt Cindy's house.

He turned left onto the Brooks Road, passed the wrought-iron gates and the low fieldstone wall surrounding Harmony Hill Cemetery, and then went down the steep grade and started up the far side--the side known as Marsten's Hill.

At the top, the trees fell away on both sides of the road. On the right, you could look right down into the town proper--Ben's first view of it. On the left, the Marsten House. He pulled over and got out of the car.

It was just the same. There was no difference, not at all. He might have last seen it yesterday.

The witch grass grew wild and tall in the front yard, obscuring the old, frost-heaved flagstones that led to the porch. Chirring crickets sang in it, and he could see grasshoppers jumping in erratic parabolas.

The house itself looked toward town. It was huge and rambling and sagging, its windows haphazardly boarded shut, giving it that sinister look of all old houses that have been empty for a long time. The paint had been weathered away, giving the house a uniform gray look. Windstorms had ripped many of the shingles off, and a heavy snowfall had punched in the west corner of the main roof, giving it a slumped, hunched look. A tattered no-trespassing sign was nailed to the right-hand newel post.

He felt a strong urge to walk up that overgrown path, past the crickets and hoppers that would jump around his shoes, climb the porch, peek between the haphazard boards into the hallway or the front room. Perhaps try the front door. If it was unlocked, go in.

He swallowed and stared up at the house, almost hypnotized. It stared back at him with idiot indifference.

You walked down the hall, smelling wet plaster and rotting wallpaper, and mice would skitter in the walls. There would still be a lot of junk lying around, and you might pick something up, a paperweight maybe, and put it in your pocket. Then, at the end of the hall, instead of going through into the kitchen, you could turn left and go up the stairs, your feet gritting in the plaster dust which had sifted down from the ceiling over the years. There were fourteen steps, exactly fourteen. But the top one was smaller, out of proportion, as if it had been added to avoid the evil number. At the top of the stairs you stand on the landing, looking down the hall toward a closed door. And if you walk down the hall toward it, watching as if from outside yourself as the door gets closer and larger, you can reach out your hand and put it on the tarnished silver knob--

He turned away from the house, a straw-dry whistle of air slipping from his mouth. Not yet. Later, perhaps, but not yet. For now it was enough to know that all of that was still here. It had waited for him. He put his hands on the hood of his car and looked out over the town. He could find out down there who was handling the Marsten House, and perhaps lease it. The kitchen would make an adequate writing room and he could bunk down in the front parlor. But he wouldn't allow himself to go upstairs.

Not unless it had to be done.

He got in his car, started it, and drove down the hill to Jerusalem's Lot.

Chapter Two

Susan (I)

He was sitting on a bench in the park when he observed the girl watching him. She was a very pretty girl, and there was a silk scarf tied over her light blond hair. She was currently reading a book, but there was a sketch pad and what looked like a charcoal pencil beside her. It was Tuesday, September 16, the first day of school, and the park had magically emptied of the rowdier element. What was left was a scattering of mothers with infants, a few old men sitting by the war memorial, and this girl sitting in the dappled shade of a gnarled old elm.

She looked up and saw him. An expression of startlement crossed her face. She looked down at her book; looked up at him again and started to rise; almost thought better of it; did rise; sat down again.

He got up and walked over, holding his own book, which was a paperback Western. "Hello," he said agreeably. "Do we know each other?"

"No," she said. "That is . . . you're Benjaman Mears, right?"

"Right." He raised his eyebrows.
She laughed nervously, not looking in his eyes except in a quick flash, to try to read the barometer of his intentions. She was quite obviously a girl not accustomed to speaking to strange men in the park.

"I thought I was seeing a ghost." She held up the book in her lap. He saw fleetingly that "Jerusalem's Lot Public Library" was stamped on the thickness of pages between covers. The book was Air Dance, his second novel. She showed him the photograph of himself on the back jacket, a photo that was four years old now. The face looked boyish and frighteningly serious--the eyes were black diamonds.

"Of such inconsequential beginnings dynasties are begun," he said, and although it was a joking throwaway remark, it hung oddly in the air, like prophecy spoken in jest. Behind them, a number of toddlers were splashing happily in the wading pool and a mother was telling Roddy not to push his sister so high. The sister went soaring up on her swing regardless, dress flying, trying for the sky. It was a moment he remembered for years after, as though a special small slice had been cut from the cake of time. If nothing fires between two people, such an instant simply falls back into the general wrack of memory.

Then she laughed and offered him the book. "Will you autograph it?"

"A library book?"

"I'll buy it from them and replace it."

He found a mechanical pencil in his sweater pocket, opened the book to the flyleaf, and asked, "What's your name?"

"Susan Norton."

He wrote quickly, without thinking: For Susan Norton, the prettiest girl in the park. Warm regards, Ben Mears. He added the date below his signature in slashed notation.

"Now you'll have to steal it," he said, handing it back. "Air Dance is out of print, alas."

"I'll get a copy from one of those book finders in New York." She hesitated, and this time her glance at his eyes was a little longer. "It's an awfully good book."

"Thanks. When I take it down and look at it, I wonder how it ever got published."

"Do you take it down often?"

"Yeah, but I'm trying to quit."

She grinned at him and they both laughed and that made things more natural. Later he would have a chance to think how easily this had happened, how smoothly. The thought was never a comfortable one. It conjured up an image of fate, not blind at all but equipped with sentient 20/20 vision and intent on grinding helpless mortals between the great millstones of the universe to make some unknown bread.

"I read Conway's Daughter, too. I loved that. I suppose you hear that all the time."

"Remarkably little," he said honestly. Miranda had also loved Conway's Daughter, but most of his coffeehouse friends had been noncommittal and most of the critics had clobbered it. Well, that was critics for you. Plot was out, masturbation in.

"Well, I did."

"Have you read the new one?"

"Billy Said Keep Going? Not yet. Miss Coogan at the drugstore says it's pretty racy."

"Hell, it's almost puritanical," Ben said. "The language is rough, but when you're writing about uneducated country boys, you can't . . . look, can I buy you an ice-cream soda or something? I was just getting a hanker on for one."

She checked his eyes a third time. Then smiled, warmly. "Sure. I'd love one. They're great in Spencer's."

That was the beginning of it.

Customer Reviews

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Salem's Lot 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 770 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the first Stephen King book I read and I was thoroughly impressed. It offers a plethora of horror, suspense, and almost non-stop action. It was the first book that actually scared me in any substantial way and made me sleep with the lights on. One night while I was reading it, I had my window open and I actually closed it because I was so scared. I have read Dracula by Bram Stoker, the original Vampire story, and in my opinion, this book is better. It started off a little slow but didn't take too long to get exciting and once that happened, the suspense and action kept on coming throughout the entire book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off let me start by saying this book scared the living hell out of me. There were nights where I would stay up until three in the morning reading and have to shove it under my mattress before turning the lights out. I thought that my life would never be the same again after reading this hahaha! King has a gift of building up this intense level of suspense and it's not until the last quarter of the novel where the climax actually happens. My friend would ask me what the heck was so scary and I had a hard time putting it into words, it just was! Such a great classic! I am so in love with this book even though I still turn on all of the lights in my house!
Enchantress0fTales More than 1 year ago
Stephen King seems to have a knack for making something so traditional and so (nowadays) cliche and making it so freaking amazing. It took me a long time to read the novel only because I have a social life and school. However, while I was reading it, I was automatically sucked in. My teachers had to literally force my attention back to the board or textbook. It doesn't take but one page to suck you in. After you get going, you don't even need the lights off to get the creeps or shivers. It's that natural talent that I envy that Mr. King has. Vampires have never seemed so real to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel shows the progression of Stephen King from master of the scary story to literary treasure. The writing is so-so in some places and excellent in others, but the sheer amount of raw talent from a young novelist (I believe he was 23 when he wrote this) makes this book such a standout. Ominous, even downright scary in parts and well-worth your time.
JessieW87 More than 1 year ago
This is my first Stephen King read and I am pretty happy with it. It was definitely thrilling and suspenseful. At some points, I was a little scared! I thought it was particularly slow in the beginning and I find his character development extreme. I love know back stories and details about characters, but I thought he went into too many details with minor characters. It was minor, but the extreme character development did leave me annoyed sometimes when I wanted the story to start picking up. When it finally picked up, I started to enjoy it very much!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Salems Lot is the best vampire story ever written...ive read all kinds of authors books about vampires...but Salems Lot beats them all!!!!
cbuckley More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy being scared, then this is the book for you. It is a story of a town that is being invaded by vampires turning the townspeople into the undead. Whats cool about the book is that each chapter is from a different characters perspective. The vampires don't arrive until later in the book... just so you get to know the characters, so when they die you actually feel for them. But before the vampires arrive you are still scared with stories of the old abandoned mansion in this town. If you are scared easily this is not the book for you. But if you enjoy being frightened and gore, this is the book for you.
Captain_Steve_Cook More than 1 year ago
I was stationed in Germany (Army) when this book came out. There was one copy between 4 barracks roommates, hence 4 bookmarks. We were all on different shifts at a radar repair facility so the book was being read constantly. We all were afraid to open the curtains for fear of seeing Danny Glick hovering out there. Chilling To The Max.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This by far is my favorite book by Stephen King. Funny, Ive been reading his books since the 80's and I had never read Salems Lot. Amazing, Scary and I could feel myself being right there.. thats how good the Author is!! Give this 5 Stars
One_Picky_Reader More than 1 year ago
When this book first came out (hardback) I began reading Kings books. This one freaked-me-out !.. I turned the lights on !! Why they made into a movie ? Man it didn't even come close to the book !
smp315 More than 1 year ago
I originally read this in middle school and remember loving it. Decided to take it for another ride (I like reading scary stuff as Halloween approaches). I was amazed how scary and suspenseful this book still is after 30+ years...a classic that still stands above the others in the current vampire craze. Check out another Haunted House story to be released. Check out "The Supernaturals" by NY Times bestselling author David L. Golemon (Event Group Series). A friend of mine is reading an advance copy he picked up at a Horror convention and says it's creepy with Stephen King-like elements.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book had me hooked from the first word. A thrilling advenure only the master of horror Stephen King could have created. I love it! A legacy in a leauge of it's own. This three-part book will capture you and never let you go!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel, like much of King's finest work, is successful because he is able to make you believe in the unbelievable. He does this by creating finely drawn, idiosyncratic characters which inhabit a fully realized world. The reader is drawn in and involved in the characters lives in a way which encourages the suspension of disbelief. King is a fine writer and this is a wonderful example of his talent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I resent having to write anything. My 5 stars says it all!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is one of his best stories. Frightening and believable. Kept me hooked. Totally not what I was expecting. I love a writer who has the guts to kill his characters .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of horror. It's all I read. I wanted to read a book I had never read before, but not be disappointed, so naturally I picked a Stephen King book I hadn't for some reason read yet. The second I started reading the first few chapters I knew it was good. It was taking a tiny bit to get to where the story really picks up, but when it does, it picks up big time. About a little over halfway through I had to stop reading because it got late and I was about to pass out. I was on the verge of severe nightmares that night. It took me forever to fall asleep. I don't know how I gathered enough courage to walk a couple steps to the bathroom. The horror in the book is so well written. It is in all of King's books. This one especially. It impacted me mentally and, as one that doesn't usually get affected by stories like this, it was terrifying. He writes with such detail, you can perfectly imagine each scene. There are moments of suspense and I just want to skip over sections to see what happens next. You can't skip though because almost every sentence is important to the story and you'll miss something that will make you confused later on. There is content that is only meant for adults, but not that much. I would say ages 15+. Definetly a must read for anyone who likes a great horror book. And possible nightmares.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the book that got me into Stephen King when I was assigned to read it in high school. I got so hooked in it that I turned my school copy back in to my teacher and went out and bought the full version and started over and finished it before any of my other classmates. A great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a well written book, for sure had dark Gothic elements in it. For my first Steven King book, i was thoroughly impressed because i had never been scared by a book before. This definitely had me on the edge of my seat (figuratively speaking) and I never thought that i could be so attentive to a book before. Well done, Steven King.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Creepy, lots of characters and lots of detail - classic King. Really enjoyed the back-story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Creepy as hell. Could be a town out there like this one. Hated when Susan went in that house. Stupid stupid stupid. I'm brave, curious etc. but yea right. Only way I'd have gone in there is if my kid, mom, dad, sister, etc etc was in there. Not gonna happen otherwise. For me, that part really sucked
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite Stephen King books. It's written the way a horror novel should be written; suspenseful, chilling, and (most importantly) horrifying! There was a surprise in every chapter, some that even had me stop reading and ask myself if that really just happened. It kept me on the edge of my couch and was thoroughly well written from the first few pages. If you are a fan of Stephen King than I definitley recommend Salem's Lot, and if you have never read any of his novels yet, this is a great one to start with.
Cynthia_77 More than 1 year ago
What a great classic Stephen King read! I really enjoyed reading this classic horror novel and if you love the horror genre and vampires, this book will suit you. There are no "nice" vampires in this book, and for that reason, this was such a refreshing read from the brooding, romantic vampire books that are currently cashing in sales at the local book store. Stephen King delivers the basic old-school vampire theory with 'Salem's Lot. Now, some readers will claim there is way to much mundane information included about the townspeople of Jerusalem's Lot, but you must get to know these people to get the full effect of this book. As far as the scare factor with this book, there are some that claim it kept them from sleeping soundly at night. For me, well, I slept just fine. It didn't give me nightmares or scare me into hanging garlic on my windows. I'm not saying this book isn't scare worthy because I am sure for some it absolutely is. It really takes something absolutely horrendous to scare me. I seem to be desensitized to the horrors associated with vampires. 'Salem's Lot is a well-written, classic read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would absolutely recommend this book to all my vampire loving friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not normally a fan of the vampire genre, but I love Stephen King. Not since "The Shinning" have I been sufficently terrified by a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hadn't read this since high school, but I'm glad I chose to reread it. One of King's best!
feeway More than 1 year ago
This was the first SK book I ever read and it scared the hell out of me when I was 10 as well as now. This was written back when vampires were evil and you did not sleep with them or marry them. Nor could they walk in sunlight. I read every year to remind myself how good Stephen King can be. I wish he wrote a sequel .