Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.Many years after living there with his aunt, author Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem's Lot (or 'salem's Lot, as many of the townspeople call it) to face his childhood fears of the imposing Marsten House and write another book. While he is there, strange things begin to happen: one boy goes missing and another boy, the former's brother, dies of what seems to be anemia. Other townspeople begin to die too in the same strange way and at a rate much to fast for a small town like 'salem's Lot. Ben and other townspeople who realize what is going on arm themselves for a fight against vampires as the residents of the town are turned one-by-one into soulless creatures of the night.I like vampire novels and with something on the back title that says it is considered one of the most terrifying vampire novels ever written, how could I resist? Evil vampires who actually seem evil are a real treat due to today's trends in vampire literature. I saw this in a used bookstore and snatched it up just like that. I enjoyed my time in 'salem's Lot, for the most part.As I expected, there were some scenes that gave me genuine chills because this is a Stephen King novel, after all. If he doesn't give the reader chills at least once, he has failed. There is one scene involving a teen mother named Sandy McDougall that I remember vividly, even though I read that scene about two weeks ago and have poor memory. To preserve the shock factor of that scene and other chilling scenes for those who have not read the novel, they will not be thoroughly discussed, but there are quite a few of them. The corruption among the townspeople is evident and quite saddening because it is just as bad in real life right now, if not even worse. The back cover of my copy made it sound overrated and in some ways, it was. When it came to the probing-the-shadows-of-the-human-heart thing, this novel was most certainly not overrated.I almost didn't make it to some of these more chilling scenes. The novel starts out extremely slow--it takes about 200 pages before the story gets going. Before that mark, I had seriously contemplated putting the book down and leaving it as a DNF, but I only do that now if the book is truly torturing me. I'm glad I stuck it out because the story really got going... then slowed down, then got going again, then slowed down again, and then got back going and stayed going until the last page. Sometimes, it pained me not to read the book; other times, I wondered to myself, "When is this going to end?" I have gotten through books with 800 to 900 pages with no problem staying interested, so this cannot be blamed on the impressive length of the edition I have.The characterization was a little bit weak to me. Just about every character (except for Mark, who I kind of liked) was rather... blah, I guess you could say. None of the characters stood out to me. Ben and Susan's love had me rolling my eyes. Why were they in love? what had they done together that would constitute them being in love? I excused that latter point somewhat because King is not a romance writer and does not try to be one, but that does not excuse the bland characterization of everyone else. Even then, he may not get the excuse because even if one is not a romance writer, they should make some effort at being realistic at romance.Personally, I don't care much for King's writing style. I was fine with it when I read Carrie a few weeks ago, but that book was significantly shorter than 'Salem's Lot. I could only take his distant (in my opinion, so please don't bite my head off for this) style for so long before I wanted to put the book down. Where was this mark? Around 350 or 400 pages. If it bothered me me with this 600 page novel, reading the 1,000 word Under the Dome would be truly murderous on me!To reiterate, this novel was a good one that sent chills up my spine, but the slow pacing that pulled a few stop-and-go kind of deals brought down the quality of the book, along with the weak characterization for most of the characters. Despite this, I recommend 'Salem's Lot to any vampire fan with the warning that they will need to stick it out to get to the good parts and not put it down, no matter how mind-numbingly boring the first 200 pages or so might get.