Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finally a horror novel I can love

Last year I read Sarah Langan's The Keeper and was quite taken with it. You can read my thoughts about that one here. That book was quite good, but I thought that Langan held back a bit in what she was writing. There is no holding back in her latest, The Missing. If you like supernatural horror with a sense of scale, this is your book.

The book starts with kids from the Corpus Christi, Maine school going a field trip an abandoned town. Now this was a tad unbelievable. I can't imagine parents signing off on a field trip pass to an abandoned town site that was recently investigated by the EPA. That momentary break in the suspension of disbelief was quickly overtaken by the pace of her narrative and the sense of impending cataclysm.

On said field trip, the trouble making kid avoids getting back on the bus and while investigating the ruins, uncovers something terrible. That terrible something then begins to threaten the town of Corpus Christi. As the evil spreads and consumes the town, we see the wicked ways of the all the town's social classes. Langan casts a fairly jaundiced eye on nearly all of her characters.

With her socially critical view, her suggestion rather than the depiction of violence, her Maine small town setting and her dark ending, you can't help but compare her to Stephen King. If you like the early, small-town-pays-for-its-wicked-ways novels of King, you will like and maybe even love this.

This is Langan's second novel and she has two more on the way. Right now it looks like she could be one of the greats.


kwandongbrian said...

Keep in mind that Stephen King is pretty evil himself, what with killing Lennon and all.

Tripp said...

Nice! I do like some good crazy person comments. I would love to hear his argument on this one.

Anonymous said...

I just started reading The Missing and can't put it down...

Tripp said...


I had a lot of fun with it. I am excited for her next one!