Tag: Afterword

Stephen King – End of Watch | Review

Title: End of Watch

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 372

Rating: 3.75*/5


Stephen King - End of Watch

Stephen King – End of Watch


This book is the third and final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, and it came as something of a relief. I loved Mr. Mercedes, the first book, but Finders Keepers (the second one) wasn’t up to the same standard. This one isn’t as good as Mr. Mercedes either, but it’s still pretty good, and I did like how you get to learn more about some of the characters. The whole gang is here, from notorious domestic terrorist Brady Hartsfield to Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney and Jerome Robinson.

It’s also interesting to see how Hartsfield’s ostensibly psychic powers develop and how he successfully uses suicide as a weapon. On the downside, it just didn’t feel quite right having all of these psychic powers and astral projection when the first book was basically a hardboiled crime thriller. Adding all of these other elements may be more King, but it just doesn’t seem to ring true to what the first book attempted to do. But maybe I’m only saying that because I think it kind of devalues Mr. Mercedes, which I gave 5/5 to.

There’s also the fact that I already knew how the entire trilogy was going to end from the very first book, purely because of the title of this one. When it finally happened, it felt like something of an anticlimax. The same is true with the final confrontation between Hodges and Hartsfield, which almost felt rushed after how much the reader has gone through to get there. Unless you’re a hardcore King fan who wants to read every single one of his releases, I’d suggest just reading Mr. Mercedes and then calling it quits.

I also had a few problems with King’s representations of tech, and he even says in his afterword that he’s changed some of the details to suit the story. I kept unsuspending my disbelief because stuff was happening that just isn’t possible. There was also a character who went to visit Hartsfield when I don’t think that she, as a person, would have done it. But if she didn’t, the entire book wouldn’t have happened. Bummer.


Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote


Click here to buy End of Watch.


Stephen King – ‘Salem’s Lot | Review

Title: ‘Salem’s Lot

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 752

Rating: 4*/5


Stephen King - 'Salem's Lot

Stephen King – ‘Salem’s Lot


‘Salem’s Lot was a great little read, and while it is quite clearly inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, King doesn’t exactly hide that Stoker’s work was an influence. In fact, at the end of the book, in the afterword, he talks about how ‘Salem’s Lot came about and that, combined with a bonus story or two and a whole heap of extra scenes, actually made up the last quarter of the book. But it was nice to have it, a little like bonus scenes on a DVD. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, but it will help to enhance your enjoyment.

In terms of the plot, the story follows what happens when a vampire named Barlow decides to establish his claim on a small Maine town. Barlow, accompanied by Straker, his human second-in-command, decides to move into an old house with a bad reputation, and strange things quickly start to happen to the town and its inhabitants.

It’s a creepy read from the master of horror, but it wasn’t so scary that it stopped me from sleeping. In fact, I thought that Dracula was scarier, although I’ll admit that I was younger when I first read it. I think I’ve read so much King now that I’m immune to being scared by him – which is good, because I can concentrate on his epic story lines. ‘Salem’s Lot might not be as long as some of his other releases – The Stand and Under the Dome spring to mind here – but there’s still plenty of growth and character development, and you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s one of his earlier releases.


Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote


I also liked the way that the characters were fallible. Father Callaghan springs to mind here, and while the alcoholic priest trope has been overused, King has this knack for taking cliches and turning them around, morphing them into something new that we’ve never seen before. If anything, the annoying thing is the way in which so many of his characters are writers, and there’s a writer character here, too. That said, it’s handy to have a writer around when you’re dealing with a vampire infestation, especially if you need someone who knows all of the legends from popular literature.

The plot has plenty of twists and turns, but I did feel as though the ending came on too quickly, and that the bonus bits could well have been included to provide a sense of closure for the reader. For me, it worked the other way around. It felt as though the ending happened halfway through the book, and that it was followed by a bunch of bonus bits that, while interesting, felt a little weird after such an abrupt ending. Stoker’s Dracula felt like it had more of a build-up, which is strange because I’d guess that King’s book is probably longer.

But it leaves a pleasant aftertaste, which is what you should hope for from all decent books. It might have taken me over a week to read it – I wasn’t reading as much as usual due to various commitments – but it never felt like a burden or a chore. It was always pleasant, addictive, with each sub-chapter leaving the reader demanding more. A lot of King’s work is like that, but I felt it more keenly here, and it was just the kind of read that I needed – spooky, sublime and a little different to most other books on the market. It was refreshing to see a new take on the classic vampire, and I’m glad that it came from King and not some B-list author who milked the vampire trend for all it’s worth.

Overall, then, I’d definitely recommend ‘Salem’s Lot, and it’s worth going out of your way to get hold of a copy. If you can get a cheap copy, like I did, then it’s a no-brainer. It’s earned its rightful place in the vampire canon, and it has literary merit in its own special way. It’s one of those rare books that can be enjoyed by anyone – unlike some of King’s other stories, you don’t need to be a certain type of person to have some fun with it. In fact, this is arguably one of his best books to start with, because it provides a decent introduction to King’s work and his style without overwhelming the reader. Read it!


Stephen King

Stephen King


Click here to buy ‘Salem’s Lot.