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The Keeper (Keeper #1)

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3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  1,762 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
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 e ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2006)
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Ashley Yes, here is what the book jacket says - 'Some believe Bedford, Maine, is cursed. Its bloody past, endless rain, and the decay of its downtown portend…moreYes, here is what the book jacket says - '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 street, 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.' (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Steve
Mar 02, 2012 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in Horror's heyday, the masters (Straub, King, et al.) would crank out 500 to 800 page apocalyptic tomes, usually set in some small town filled with secrets, that never seemed to end. At the end of these novels, everything would blow up. I was never a huge fan, not because I didn't like horror (I love it), but because for me, horror works best with a tighter, smaller focus, with an emphasis on atmosphere (I'm a Ramsey Campbell fan). Give me dread over explosions any day. Langan's Keeper is ...more
John
Aug 29, 2007 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone I'd want to confuse...
Shelves: ivereadthis
I don't know. The story seemed good, the characters were well developed, but it just went no where and the author, in her freshman attempt does manage to create a certain tension but the transitions are way too unbelievable in a book where on one hand the supernatural is subtle and on the other it attempts to be grandiose. Oh, and the ending completely falls apart. I managed to finish it but it was a difficult task.
Bryan Alexander
Sep 04, 2015 Bryan Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
I read this novel as part of my quest for the best horror novels of the 21st century. Sarah Langan's name kept coming up. Each of her novels appeared, so I decided to start with her first, since there's some indication of a sequence. And I'm glad I did.

On the surface The Keeper looks like a familiar horror trope: a town to be destroyed by dark forces. (Think Peter Straub's Floating Dragon for one example) That kept my expectations down, especially as the book appeared in 2006. I was pleasantly s
...more
Peter
Jul 29, 2016 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The town of Bedford, Maine, is slowly decaying. Bedford only has one major industry in the town and that is the paper mill. The mill pollutes, the air and poisons the water. The workers have to breath in the sulfur from the mill and it is slowly kill them. The town runs into some rough economics times and some of the workers are let go. In the end, the mill finally closes for good and town is dying a slow death. The town is concerned about Susan Marley, some folks thinks that she is a witch. Sus ...more
Angela
Dec 21, 2008 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
My first book of the year turned out to be entirely unplanned--an impulse purchase at Albertson's when I went down there yesterday to pick up various staples. The Keeper is apparently a debut horror/suspense novel, and the blurb made it sound halfway interesting, so I figured what the hell.

There are a lot of oft-used tropes in this book: the run-down New England town, the creepy abandoned locale where nobody wants to go, the townsfolk full of secrets and in many ways just not right, the crazy yo
...more
Olivia R. Burton
This book is a hard one to describe. It's set entirely in a small city called Bedford, Maine. Its inhabitants are mostly lower middle class, small town people. They drink, they gossip, they work. Recently their main source of income, the paper mill, was shut down, leaving many of them jobless and with very little to do. Most leave, but some stay. Haunting the town is Susan Marley, a clearly crazy girl who, quite frankly, creeps everyone out. Roughly halfway through the book, Susan dies. Then, sh ...more
Chibineko
Oct 28, 2010 Chibineko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read Langan's second book (The Missing), I picked this book up soon after. After a few pages of reading I realised that I'd started the books backward & that this book was supposed to come before it. By the time I finished this book I was slightly glad that I'd read this one first. I do have to say that I prefer this book over the second one.

The book follows two sisters, the dreamy eyed Susan who wanders the town & frightens all of it's inhabitants as well as terminally depressed
...more
Eric
Apr 22, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2008
Rain and zombies come to a small town in Maine. Scary stuff. But why do things like this always happen in Maine? I tell you what... I read this book while on vacation in Utah. Someone should write a horror novel about a small town in that state. Snow and zombies in Park City. That would really be scary.
Tressa
Nov 07, 2010 Tressa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2010
I've read two of Langan's books--Audrey's Door and The Missing--and thought they were excellent. I just couldn't get into The Keeper. There was not one character that I felt was genuine, and I hated them all.
The characters are two-dimensional, and even the town drunk and dedicated sheriff couldn't make me care for them.

Marvin
Nov 08, 2009 Marvin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I do not believe I've ever read a horror novel that was so directionless and dull. Uninteresting characters doing pointless things resulting in an indifferent plot. If the author wasn't such a good writer I would have rated this one star. But she appears to have some promise even in this unimpressive debut. So I'll hover at two and hope she does better in the future.
Martha
Jun 09, 2011 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tragic horror fans
Shelves: horror, favorites
This is my second Langan read, after Audrey's Door, and I do think Langan's stories have a particular flavor. Troubled young women struggling with mental illness are featured in both. Both books are quite dark and can be difficult to read at times. There are definitely moments in both of them that are gut-wrenchingly sad. But Langan writes in a readable style that keeps me going throughout no matter what. She shines at character development. People in her books are very realistic and many times, ...more
Daniel
Dec 06, 2010 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm writing this after having finished it in a single sitting; yes: it's late - and yes: it was worth it. This is an excellent horror tale, with mystery that made me want to keep reading, and weird and terrible stuff that actually made me feel scared, at times. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.
Jocelyn
Feb 16, 2014 Jocelyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pfft. Yep, that's a fart noise. I didn't like this book.
Terry Weyna
Jan 01, 2015 Terry Weyna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bedford, Maine, is a town with one industry: the paper mill. It’s been poisoning the water and air for generations, and workers have all sorts of physical complaints from breathing sulfur and other toxic fumes, but if anyone thought about it, they’d know that the recent closing of the mill probably dooms their town.

But no one’s thinking about the mill and the town’s economy. Instead, they’re all focused on Susan Marley. She’s a silent, beautiful woman in her mid-20’s who lives in squalor, turnin
...more
Melissa Helwig
Feb 27, 2010 Melissa Helwig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
After reading and enjoying Sarah Langan's most recent novel, Audrey's Door, I decided to try her first novel, The Keeper. I didn't like is as much as Audrey's Door, but it wasn't bad for a first novel.

There is something wrong with Susan Marley. The residents of the small town of Bedford, Maine cross the street when she approaches and blame her for all their problems; especially for the terrifying things that dominate their dreams. But it's not just Susan, the whole town is haunted thanks to its
...more
Morgan
Apr 13, 2008 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: stephen king fans, supernatural fans
Story:
Bedford,Maine is a ghost of its former self. Once a bustling mill town that era has finally came to an end whith the company who ran the mill moving on to greener pastures. With the last source of employment drying up, the town teeters on the brink of oblivion. In this limbo the mysterious Susan Marley wanders the town and the residents dreams. When anyone looks at her they seem to rember things that they would rather forget. Susan Marley has a secret and soon that secret will bring peopl
...more
Mark R.
Dec 24, 2010 Mark R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the saddest horror stories I've read. Essentially a ghost story, the ghost in Sarah Langan's excellent debut novel is a twenty-three-year-old woman long ago abandoned (and in the case of her father, abused) by her parents, slipping into dementia sometime after high school. She wanders the town and is a known fixture in the local bar and on the sidewalks, where she ambles along, not speaking, giving everyone in town a real case of the creeps.

The other ghost is the town itself, once known f
...more
Vince Liaguno
Aug 27, 2010 Vince Liaguno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With advance accolades coming from the likes of Straub and Ramsey Campbell, it’s easy to be caught up in the promotional blitz of such a book – even easier to be let down against the backdrop of such hype. But Langan doesn’t disappoint with a debut so entrancing, so unnerving, and so downright chilling that readers will feel as if they’ve witnessed the birth of a bona fide classic and the beginning of a literary career of the King-Straub-Campbell caliber by the time they read the final sentence. ...more
Stephen
A good tale of suspense and haunting. A small town being devoured by itself and the main stay of employment, an old paper mill. The doors have been shut, and families start leaving. Some remain behind hoping for revival. Leaving them dwelling on Susan Marley, the local beauty, and now satisfying the men. Her past , a nightmare buried deep. She wanders the streets waiting for the evil to rise. The town folk haunted by nightmares of Susan. A little vague at the beginning, slowly evolves into a hau ...more
David Larsson
May 19, 2013 David Larsson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Sarah Langan takes the small American town, slowly dying from it's only economical stability taken from it, and puts some real horror in it. Sure, we've seen this before, and many of the themes that's explored in The Keeper is stuff that has be done. But, when one does it so well as Langan does here, stuff like that just doesn't matter a whole lot. This is a tragic and sad horror story about a girl that never got treated right, and who, in the end, decided to take revenge in a very grave sense.
Elke
I don't know...the book was just ok, but that's it. I had problems sympathisizing with any of the characters, with the consequence that I didn't care much about what happened to them. Not that I need a character to be perfectly flawless to like. But in this book, the description of the persons, of their thoughts and actions remained shallow in a way. I missed a deeper feeling to be able to fear with or hope for them. Some chapters simply dragged along without actually pressing ahead with the sto ...more
Bretty
Nov 30, 2009 Bretty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't read the back of the book before I started it. Snuggled into bed expecting a good novel and got a horror story. Don't get me wrong, I love Stephen King and other thrilling authors, but I wasn't expecting a shabby rendition of Carrie. Did not care for the book at all and I was in fact, hard pressed to even finish it.
Μιχάλης
Apr 14, 2013 Μιχάλης rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Interesting small town horror novel gave me some goosebumps but left me a bit uninterested towards the ending.
Ashley
Feb 05, 2017 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to begin with this mess of a book. The Keeper is a confusing mess of horror images and scenery thats cause is attributed to too many things. The town of Bedford is cursed, because of the paper mill. (view spoiler) ...more
Smiley McGrouchpants
"The People in This Town Were Like Strange and Varied Songs":
Individual Autonomy vs. Communal Ties
in Sarah Langan's The Keeper

Christopher Snyder
April 12, 2013
Little Red Schoolhouse
(undergrad vers.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- 1 -

¶ Under the guise of a horror novel, Sarah Langan's The Keeper

(2006) explores the horror within us all: Sartre's “other people.”

By, of, and for them, the churning unease in the face of the

“other" — any “other,” any at
...more
Sarah Watson
Mar 22, 2017 Sarah Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
weird but had to keep reading to find out why it was weird
Jaclyn
Mar 06, 2017 Jaclyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was immediately intrigued with the book description. The sense of foreboding was heavy straight out of the gate and that had me hooked. There were some brilliant horror moments. I didn't feel that the story progressed as smoothly as it could have. An additional hundred pages or so could have really fleshed the plot out. As it was, the climax felt "explained" rather than exposed, and the ending was unsatisfying.
Elusive Controversé
In 'The Keeper', the residents of Bedford are used to strange, creepy Susan who wanders around, keeps to herself and never speaks to anyone. Unbeknownst to them, something terrifying is about to happen. Susan's anger has built up over the years after suffering abuse at the hands of her father. In the meantime, her sister Liz desperately wants to leave the abandoned town before it's too late..

The story started off promising as it focused on Susan who was undoubtedly a mysterious character. There
...more
Kathy Jackson
Jul 09, 2012 Kathy Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why does so many bad things happen up in the Maine/New Hampshire area? I think I am going to avoid going there. LOL.

Susan Marley lived through a horrific childhood - just barely. People she trusted betrayed her and the things she did to protect her little sister went unnoticed and unappreciated. These incidents gave birth to an unstable Susan who strikes back at those around her in the only means she can - their dreams. As the rains fall, the little town begins to drown both figuratively and li
...more
George
Sep 07, 2013 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Αυτό είναι το πρώτο βιβλίο που έγραψε η Σάρα Λάνγκαν και προφανώς είναι η πρώτη μου επαφή με το έργο της. Οι εντυπώσεις είναι ανάμικτες, από την μια μου άρεσε η γραφή, σίγουρα η Λάνγκαν ξέρει να γράφει, να πλάθει χαρακτήρες και να φτιάχνει ατμόσφαιρα, σκοτεινή, μαύρη και άραχνη, αλλά από την άλλη η ιστορία γενικά με κούρασε κάπως και ήθελα επιτέλους να τελειώσει για ν'αρχίσω ένα άλλο βιβλίο.

Πεδίο δράσης είναι μια μικρή πόλη κάπου στο Μέιν, το Μπέντφορντ. Το εργοστάσιο χαρτοποιίας μόλις έκλεισε,
...more
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Sarah grew up on Long Island and went to college in Waterville, Maine, where she published her first story, "Sick People." She got her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

In addition to writing novels, she also has a Master's in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology from New York University.

Bram Stoker award winner for outstanding novel in
...more
More about Sarah Langan...

Other Books in the Series

Keeper (2 books)
  • The Missing (Keeper, #2)

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“The sight of her made him understand why he'd lost his faith in God.” 3 likes
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