Salem’s Lot – Tie-In Book gives us a first look at the upcoming remake

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The 1980s were a pivotal time for horror fiction, especially for young adults. As Grady Hendrix wrote in The Paperbacks of Hell, it was the decade when “horror took off with starving teenage audiences”. Dell Publishing’s own share of the mainstream trend included Twilight: where the darkness beginsa stand-alone book collection that hepaved the way for street of fear and other similar series. Several authors have contributed to Dusk between ’82 and ’87, and Joseph Trainer was one of the few to have written more than one book. In the first of Trainor’s two offerings, a relentless evil rises from a lake and targets a wealthy family.

watery grave does something unusual in the world of YA horror; the story takes place in a real place as opposed to a fictional (and creepily named) town. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the following events never happened in Duluth, Minnesota. The story begins with 16-year-old Julie Monroe, who sneaks back to school after cutting classes with her two best friends, Cheryl and Debbie Cowan. Truancy is out of place for a student like Julie, but the Dean of Women is not forgiving. OWhile stuck in after-school detention with English teacher Miss Joan Cowan, Cheryl and Debbie’s cousin, something strange and frightening happens to Julie. Unfortunately for the main character, his terror has only just begun.

In detention, the pages of Julie’s Spanish textbook turn blank, with only one word left in big red letters: LAVINIA. The mysterious word then turns to blood and bleeds all over Julie. She soon comes to her senses and, like Joan and the other students present, begins to question her state of mind. This sinister daydream reeks of the doings of a boogeyman a la Freddy Krueger, although watery grave is anterior freddie by one year.

She suddenly realized what it was. “Blood!”

There is no readily available information about Joseph Trainor – do they use a pseudonym here, and/or were they Dusk books their only published works? – but it is clear from the writing that the author knows at least Duluth as well as deep diving. As other characters are introduced, watery grave becomes part tourist guide of the port city. Julie and her friends get lost in the fog after shopping in the Miller Hill neighborhood, while her boyfriend Matt Sinclair goes diving for a sunken ship off Park Point. This near-constant removal of place names is likely appealing to Duluthians, while outsiders will be overwhelmed. Simply put, the most significant places are around the lake.

The story’s first victim, Cheryl, somehow drowns on land while inside her own car. The coroner also determines that she has been dead for over a month. This is clearly not the case since Cheryl died during Julie’s first encounter with a menacing but handsome man in a pea coat. It rolled with the eerie fog, then quickly disappeared into the lake. Currently, Julie is unsure if the stranger means harm to her or if he had something to do with Cheryl’s death. Based on the family feud following Cheryl, however, the current Cowan patriarch knows more than he’s letting on. The gruesome tales Victor Cowan grew up with come true.

Julie is the book’s ostensible main character, but Matt gets a fair amount of solo scenes. He works as a diver with his older brother at the port, and one of their paid dives reveals a 300-foot interlake steamer. To his horror, however, the long-lost ship is called Lavinia. Matt initially dismissed Julie’s detention nightmare, but too much evidence is piling up. A supposed creature aboard the Lavinia The wreckage in addition to emerging local lore now makes Julie’s boyfriend a bona fide believer. To further complicate the situation, the ghost ship sank on June 7, 1884. And when did Matt and his brother spot the Lavinia Nowadays ? June 7, of course.

A vein throbbed in her wrist in a lewd parody of human life.

Turns out Lavinia is both the name of a ship and a real person. The Lavinia belonged to an immigrant and skipper, Gregory Nix, whose body was never found after the tragedy that befell him, his crew and his steamer in 1884. The reported cause of the accident was a problem at the lighthouse . Nix was also a rival of Jeremiah Cowan, Cheryl and Debbie’s great-grandfather. As for Lavinia Tate, she was courted by both Jeremiah and Gregory. Once Nix was out of the picture and her family’s business went bankrupt, Lavinia married Cowan despite her feelings. Their marriage was not a happy one, and Lavinia died shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Belle.

Jeremiah Cowan made his fortune through lies and a filthy pool, and his immortal executioner refuses to let his descendants go free. Unfortunately, the daughters of the Cowan line are the ones who are unduly punished; every thirty-three years since June 7, 1884, a girl is condemned to die in this convoluted revenge play. The Cowan Curse is a consequence of Jeremiah’s long list of offences, the less egregious misdeed being the theft of Gregory’s valuable limestone cargo stored on the sunken floor. Lavinia. The biggest wrongdoing is that Jeremiah tampered with the Duluth Lighthouse all those years ago.

However, as a general rule, in this kind of stories, the psychic visions are almost never random. They happen to someone for a reason. And for Julie, her supernatural insight is truly a past life bubbling to the surface; she is the reincarnation of Lavinia Tate. And the man in the peacoat who followed Julie is none other than Gregory Nix. She mistakenly believes he has no ill intentions towards her or Lavinia because his hatred is directed at the Cowans. Under the impression that she is safe, Julie spends her time protecting the remaining Cowan girls, Debbie and her cousin Joan. What Julie didn’t consider was the possibility of Nix doing everything in her power to keep the one who got away.

The creature’s eyes were jet-black slits, its mouth that of a fish.

If Joseph Trainor’s book had stayed the course and made the antagonist a mere ghost, watery grave would have been less memorable. Instead, the story draws on Great Lakes mythology to explain Gregory Nix’s true form. It is Matt who discovers for the first time the Manitou Niba Nibais at the museum. This information was inserted into the shoehorn, so it was probably important in the long run. The Manitou Niba Nibais is an indigenous creature that is compared to newts and other European water peoples. This supposed god of Lake Superior is said to “whistle a storm and capsize” any boat that hasn’t given him a gift. In the end, Trainor confused different folktales and mixed kelpies, nixies (Nix) and Manitou Niba Nibais. This will annoy ardent cryptozoologists and folklorists, but the less knowledgeable will appreciate the novelty of a killer newt.

When it seems like watery grave defrauds its readers and dwells on the 1980 film Fog, Trainor adds a handful of elements to help set the book apart. Soul transmigration, a supernatural love triangle and, above all, an aquatic cryptid keep this novel afloat and never dull. It’s no wonder fans of Twilight: where the darkness begins classify that entry of aquatic horror so strongly.


There was a time when the children’s section of bookstores was overflowing with horror and suspense. These books were easily identifiable by their flashy fonts and garish covers. This notable subgenre of YA fiction flourished in the 80s, peaked in the 90s, and then finally came to an end in the early 2000s. YA horror of this genre is indeed a thing of the past, but the stories endure at buried in a book. This recurring column reflects the nostalgic novels that still haunt readers decades later.

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