Just finishing my second book on my path to the Dark Tower, the epic from Stephen King. I’m reading the recommended stories in order for the series. I’m read “Jerusalem’s Lot” a short story in Night Shift, “Salem’s Lot” his second novel and sequel to “Jerusalem’s Lot”, and “One for the Road”; another short story from Night Shift that serves as a sequel to the two previous.
Jerusalem’s Lot. Set in the fictional town of Preacher’s Corners, ME (the SK version of Methodist Corners, ME) and written in the form of letters. Most of the tale is told by the main character Charles Boone and his manservant Calvin McCann in a series of letters and is akin to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos, mainly his story “The Rats in the Walls”.
The story speaks of Boone living in a mansion willed to him by his late cousin who it is found to belong to a cult worshipping a demonic worm. He finds a map in the mansions library with the town of Jerusalem’s Lot on it. He and Calvin go to investigate the town and find it abandoned. They happen upon a desecrated church which was used for the ancient cults sacrifices. Soon the resident’s return in the form of undead ghouls and try to get Charles to summon the worm. With the help of Calvin, he breaks himself from the spell. Later in the story, Boone commits suicide to rid the earth of his lineage but obviously fails since an apparent heir writes the final letter in the story having taken over possession of the mansion.
‘Salem’s Lot. The mysterious Mr. Straker and Mr. Barlow move into the quaint little doomed town of “Jerusalem’s Lot” also called ‘Salem’s Lot’ by the locals. They open up an antique shop in town and move into the ominous Marsten House, a house of bad history and local ghost stories. Enter writer Ben Mears, he has come back to his childhood home to write a story about the Marsten House but is disappointed when he finds that the house has been rented out from underneath him.
As it turns out, Mr. Barlow is a vampire and begins feeding and turning the town folk into vampires. Soon the townsfolk either flee the town or become one of the undead. Ben recruits the help of a teacher, a doctor, his new girlfriend, a priest and a young boy who lost his parents to Barlow.
It is this story that introduces us to Father Callahan, a priest who loses his faith during this time but regains it and becomes an integral part of the Gunslingers from the Dark Tower Series. His story continues in “The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla”.
One For the Road. Officially labeled the sequel to “Salem’s Lot”, this story is also found in King’s “Night Shift” collection. Narrated by an old man, Booth, who recalls a tale of an incident that happened a cold winters night years ago. (Approximately 2 years after the incident of ‘Salem’s Lot). A man comes to ask for help as his car broke down in a small town called Jerusalem’s Lot. Booth and his friend are alarmed not only because of the weather and the man’s wife and daughter are left there; but also because it’s known locally to be a “bad place”.
The two head out in a snow plow to rescue the man’s wife and daughter only to find that they’ve been attacked and turned into vampires. The two almost become victims themselves and narrowly escape.
The trio of tales introduce us to a few important parallels to the Dark Tower Universe:
Father Callahan: Pere Callahan.
Marsten House: Black House
The Worm: creatures from todash space (ie: the Mist, From a Buick 8, The Dark Tower, 1409, It)