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.
In her assured but overstuffed horror debut, Langan lovingly crafts the struggling town of Bedford, Maine, its unlucky inhabitants and the troubling history of the town's shuttered paper mill, before tearing it all to bloody pieces. Bedford is haunted by the beautiful Susan Marley, a damaged young woman who wanders the streets and never speaks a word, stirring "feeling of something undone, something quite wrong, at the sight of her." Those feelings are strongest in Susan's maladjusted little sister, Liz, wracked with guilt over Susan's fate; their mother, who refuses to acknowledge her wayward daughter's existence; and alcoholic high school teacher Paul Martin, who once had an affair with Susan. Susan's fall to her death in the final, rain-soaked days of winter triggers a series of events that bring the buried secrets of the town to terrifying reality people and animals rise from the dead, and a spirit of homicidal rage grips the living. Fighting to survive, Langan's characters come brilliantly to life, their inner conflicts rendered in sharp but exhausting detail at once expansive and constricting, slowing the narrative to a crawl just before it whips into frenzied, graphic violence. This is horror on a big scale, akin to the more ambitious work of Stephen King, and though Langan's enormous imagination can slow her narrative, this effective debut promises great things to come.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Oh, so good.
I've just finished reading "The Keeper" for the second time. This is an exquisitely written horror story about characters who are not just called the Keeper, Susan, Liz, Mary, and Bobby, but it is a story about all people everywhere; it is a story about all of us.
Excellent Story, Well Written, & Simply Outstanding
The author writes intelligently, free flowing, and with the inked grace of Stephen King during his most promising prose. I purchased this book while considering an alternate, and I am just plain ecstatic that I opted to read this book instead. The characters are so well developed that the reader can almost step into their psyches at any given point in the story. The plot is well developed and congruent from beginning to end; simply a river that flows with no annoying impediments. Building moments to climactic ones are well narrated and leaves the reader in tense moments throughout the story. When the author puts you in the position to feel the emotions of the characters as the words flow across the pages, you know that you are in for the duration. This is one of the best books in this genre that I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, in quite some time. I am a fan of King, Koontz, Craven, Poe, and many many others of the genre, and I now include Sarah Langan in this elite group of authors. The book is well worth the money, and you WILL NOT be disappointed, I guarantee you. I just purchased her next book, "The Missing", so without further ado, read this book and enjoy as I am off to begin her next book. Kudos to Langan for an excellent, excellent story!