Stephen King isn’t one to shy away from his influences. While he has created a huge body of highly original work, plenty of his tales bear the marks of the masters of the macabre that came before him.
Published in 1978’s Night Shift, ‘Jerusalem’s Lot’ is Stephen King’s first major homage to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Through a series of letters, we are told the tale of Charles Boone, the sole heir of a mysterious estate in the woods of Maine. The house (and the Boone family) has a sordid history, as does a mysterious abandoned town mere miles away.
It’s fascinating to see King create a pastiche of one of his greatest inspirations. While Lovecraft was certainly adept at bringing the unimaginable horrors in his mind to life on the page, his verbose style and purple prose make reading one of his stories no easy task.
There is no such difficulty here. King trims the fat from the exposition, using the letters written by the protagonists as a highlight reel. Charles Boone can only write about his swelling madness as his neighbors slowly abandon him and he uncovers the horrific secrets that destroyed his family.
You may notice that the title of this tale bears a very close resemblance to the title of King’s classic vampire novel ‘Salem’s Lot. While ‘Jerusalem’s Lot’ serves as a prequel to that book, it’s not exactly a vampire tale. Dark tomes, witchcraft cults and hideous creatures from beyond our world provide the horror here. Tread carefully.
Trey Wydysh is The Geekiverse’s resident Stephen King superfan. You can find all of our 31 Days Of Stephen King posts here. Got a King question? Looking for a recommendation? Feel free to ask Trey on Twitter.
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