I've been re-reading Salem's Lot, to try and get a handle on Stephen King's style. The first thing I noticed was that there are a lot of dialogue scenes - that is to say, scenes that are *completely* dialogue, certainly more than I remember. And it seems to work. Secondly, he also spends a lot of time including atmosphere-building irrelevant details, which don't generally advance the plot but serve to build the picture of a backwater, drudge-filled small town. This goes against the mantra I've sometimes heard of "don't include anything that doesn't advance the plot" (which I've never held to), but it's not exposition. His action scenes are short and sharp. He doesn't drag things out and his descriptions are punchy, and enough to tell you what's going on. The surprise in the scene is usually a short sentence e.g. "Danny Glick was staring at him from the window." Salem's Lot is early King, so I don't know what's he's like now (I haven't read any of his novels since Misery). If anyone else has any other insights, I'd be interested in hearing them.