7. ’Salem’s Lot (Novel)

Original publication date: 1975

By default, Bram Stoker’s Dracula wins the “Best Vampire Novel” honors every time, but, truth be told, Stoker’s prose and actual writing capabilities leave much to be desired. Thus, the far superior Stephen King’s vamp-centric page-turner ’Salem’s Lot takes home the Complex prize, not Dracula.

And fuck, is this one scary as hell. Even on one’s second, third, or fourth reading, ’Salem’s Lot is a Gothic white-knuckler able to send chills racing down the reader’s spine with the unstoppable flow of a snowy avalanche. Switching back and forth from various character perspectives, King expertly shows the effects of a vampire outbreak in a small town through several different eyes—a ballsy approach that’s all the more impressive when you take into account the fact that ’Salem’s Lot was only King’s second published novel.