Ben Mears, a successful writer with an—ahem—haunted past, returns to his boyhood home of Salem’s Lot in the hopes of turning the vague and unnameable childhood terrors he associates with the similarly haunted Marsten House—which has laid abandoned for decades—into his next book. He is Mike Enslin without John Cusack’s box office pull, except he’s a man looking for trouble and not expecting it. The people of Salem’s Lot aren’t expecting any trouble either, not even when the reclusive, quasi-homosexual Mr. Straker set up shop for his antique-furniture-selling boss, the strangely averse-to-sunshine Kurt Barlow. That’s when the vampires move in.
Pat: Is there really any more one needs to go into Salem’s Lot knowing?
Andrea: No. This was not one of my favorites. There were some good parts, but on the whole I found it to be not at all compelling. It didn’t have the page-turning quality I require of Stephen King, which is weird because most of his early books do.
Pat: I tore through the book like Barlow through a jugular vein. Did you at any point imagine Barlow as Lou Barlow?
Andrea: No. Mostly because I don’t know what Lou Barlow looks like. He is slotted in my head as “generic old rock guy.”
Pat: You’ve seen him in person.
Andrea: I know. He was apparently not memorable. Come to think of it, I kind of think of him as looking like an amalgam of Neil Young and Tom Petty.
Pat: He looks nothing like them.
Andrea: Now J. Mascis, that’s a memorable face. For all the wrong reasons.
Pat: Do you not remember the video for “Natural One”?
Andrea: NO. I forgot he was even in Folk Implosion until right this second. Now that song is in my head.
Pat: Okay, prologue: Worst opening ever? Completely unnecessary? Chronologically irritating?
Andrea: It was so stupid, because by the time I got to the end of the book, I forgot what the prologue was, and at no time did my brain ever reference the prologue when I was reading the rest of it.
Pat: Oh, also: Straker, Barlow. Barlow, Straker. Bram Stoker?
Andrea: Yeah. I think that’s really obvious. Just like John Coffey = Jesus Christ
Pat: Susan Norton = Norton Anthology
Andrea: My notes from the prologue: “The only whore was a 50-year-old grandmother.”
Pat: I don’t remember that.
Andrea: It talks about how warm the Pacific is but I always thought the Pacific was really cold?
Pat: The Pacific, unlike the Atlantic, is warmed by a major current.
Andrea: So I am totally wrong then?
Pat: I think so? I also think we’ve reached our threshold of digressionary spending already.
Andrea: It’s only been 30 seconds.