Pet Sematary (Nov 1983)

The road in front of Dr. Louis Creed's rural Maine home frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. Louis has recently moved from Chicago to Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their children and pet cat. Near their house, local children have created a cemetery for the dogs and cats killed by the steady stream of transports on the busy highway. Deeper in the woods lies another graveyard, an ancient Indian burial ground whose sinister properties Louis discovers when the family cat is killed. The idea for the story came from King's own experience of living on a very similar busy road and discovering a burial ground nearby labeled "Pets Sematary." A lot of the moments in the book come from his family - the dead cat named Smucky, the indignant little girl asking why God can't get his own cat, and even a near miss of King's son Owen getting hit by a tanker when he wandered too close to the highway.

Common King themes:

  • Main character has a dead spouse (Jud Crandall's wife Norma is teetering on the edge of death for most of the book and ultimately succumbs.)
  • Someone has The Shining (Ellie, Louis Creed's daughter, has some mild precognition that seems likely to be a hint of The Shining.)

Pet Sematary has connections to the following books:

Part 1 / Chapter 6 : Cujo

“Rabies,” Crandall said. “Lot of rabies in Maine now. There was a big old St. Bernard went rabid downstate a couple of years ago and killed four people. That was a hell of a thing. Dog hadn’t had his shots. If those foolish people had seen that dog had had its shots, it never would have happened.”

Part 1 / Chapter 8 : Derry, ME

The hill was not a high one, but it did not need to be. To the east, heavy woods blocked any view, but looking this way, west, the land fell away in a golden and dozy late summer dream. Everything was still, hazed, silent. There was not even an Orinco tanker on the highway to break the quiet. It was the river valley they were looking into, of course; the Penobscot, where loggers had once floated their timber from the northeast down to Bangor and Derry. But they were south of Bangor and a bit north of Derry here.

Part 2 / Chapter 54 : Jerusalem's Lot, ME

Rachel drives by a sign for 'Salem's Lot on her way to Ludlow.

A new sign came in view, reflective paint twinkling eerily. NEXT EXIT ROUTE 12 CUMBERLAND CUMBERLAND CENTER JERUSALEM’S LOT FALMOUTH FALMOUTH FORESIDE. Jerusalem’s Lot, she thought randomly, what an odd name. Not a pleasant name, for some reason. . . Come and sleep in Jerusalem.

References will be here!