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28 May 2014

Pet Sematary 
Stephen King
Publication Date
04 Nov 1983
Horror Novel


The house looked right, felt right, to Dr Louis Creed.
Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle, the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago. 
Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive note of threat.
But behind the house and away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children had processed with the solemn innocence of the young taking with them their dear departed pets for burial.
A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding…

My review

Classic Stephen King, and a must for any fan, and also a very good introduction for anyone wanting to give King a go and may be 'frightened off' by horror books. 

Dr Louis Creed moves from Chicago to Maine to be the University's resident doctor, and with his with and young children, moves into a house in a small town in the countryside. Everything seems perfect with the house and Louis and his wife Rachel are happy they can bring their children up in this sheltered environment. They become friends with their neighbour, Jud who tells him about the history of the town. He also warns them about the road which runs through town - not very busy, but trucks who come through are a danger and many local pets get killed on that road. There is a pet cemetery behind Louis' house where all the pets get buried how have been run over on that road.

So, you can almost guess what happens next…one day when Rachel is out of town with the children, the family's pet cat Churchill gets run over on the road. Louis is very upset and can't think of how to tell Rachel and the children and he seeks advice from Jud. Jud than takes him to the pet cemetery, and shows Louis an ancient burial ground from an Native American tribe which is just behind the pet cemetery. They bury Churchill the cat in that ancient burial ground. The next day, Churchill walks back into the house…but nothing is as it was. And Churchill will not remain the last victim of the road.

This is one of King's earlier books. When the realisation hit me about what is going on here, I was a bit shocked and stunned, and drawn to the story at the same time. You know, when you think 'Oh my god!' but can't stop reading at the same time. (I did first read it when it first came out so was not so much used to paranormal horror like this). How does he come up with stories like that - what an idea. I understand that King initially did not want to submit the book, thinking that he has maybe 'gone too far'. Well, I loved the idea behind it and hope you will as well.

As always, there are a few references to other King's stories in the book. Jud mentions to Louis a 'rabid St Bernard who's gone mad' - a reference to Cujo. Also, when Rachel drives back home, she sees a town sign 'Jerusalem's Lot' - mentioned in Salem's Lot.