The Keeper by Sarah Langan

From the Publisher
Some believe Bedford, Maine, is cursed. Its bloody past, endless rain, and the decay of its downtown portend a hopeless future. With the death of its paper mill, Bedford’s unemployed residents soon find themselves with far too much time to dwell on thoughts of Susan Marley. Once the local beauty, she’s now the local whore. Silently prowling the muddy streets, she watches eerily from the shadows, waiting for . . . something. And haunting the sleep of everyone in town with monstrous visions of violence and horror.
Those who are able will leave Bedford before the darkness fully ascends. But those who are trapped here-from Susan Marley’s long-suffering mother and younger sister to her guilt-ridden, alcoholic ex-lover to the destitute and faithless with nowhere else to go-will soon know the fullest and most terrible meaning of nightmare.

My thoughts:
I bought this book around Halloween time. I was in Barnes and Noble, and the simple stack of them caught my eye by the register. I turned away from the book once. Then twice, but on this day I thought what the heck and bought it. The back of the book sounded interesting, compelling even. It had a rave review by Peter Strauss! That should have been a warning to me, not an encouragement.

I started out reading it slowly, chapter by careful chapter. Then I finished Between Sisters , and decided to start reading it in earnest. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t put it down. The characters were so sad, and empty and I couldn’t learn enough about them. The author had a way of telling you what happened to these people without really telling you. It was enough. Then about 167 pages into the book, I couldn’t read anymore. I wanted to, but it was too dark out. My husband was sleeping fitfully next to me. And I remembered what reading a horror book was really all about. This wasn’t my Mama’s old copy of Interview With A Vampire that I tried to sneak peeks of when I was a child. This was what Stephen King was when Carrie and Salem’s Lot came to be. And finally all the things the author eluded to… the things she conveyed without details, the things we understood, were written clearly and with shocking detail. The things my imagination had protected me from were thrust in front of my eyes by the author. And it was more then enough.

I didn’t have a moment to read the next day, but the uneasy feeling of the book stayed with me. Today, I had to be finished with it. I had to read it by the light of day and be done with the thing. I couldn’t leave it undone.

The author is brilliant. What a debut! It was a merry go round ride I couldn’t get off because it kept spinning too fast. I felt sick. The Unease never went away, and didn’t go away with the final page (382, thank you very much). I don’t think I’ll be reading horror again for a while. Dean Koontz seems tame in comparison. I think Horror has found a whole new definition.

I searched for the author and found her website. When something scares me, I like to find out as much about it as possible. Of course another book is coming out in April. Another book tying into the town that was Bedford. Where nothing can live and nothing can die. I wonder if I’ll be able to stay away? I wonder if I’ll want to sleep again if I don’t?

2 Responses to “The Keeper by Sarah Langan”

  1. terri Says:

    I intend to get that book as soon as possible from our local sounds so interesting and scary…

  2. HelenEdith Says:

    I read it recently. I found it a real struggle and could only manage a few pages at a time. I didn’t like it. But then Horror really isn’t my thing.

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