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The Keeper (Keeper #1)

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  1,274 ratings  ·  163 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Angela
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
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
Marvin
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.
Eric
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.
Martha
Jul 14, 2011 Martha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tragic horror fans
Shelves: horror
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
Tressa
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.

Andre Farant
She's been compared to both Stephen King and Peter Straub (and, for the record, I'd say she leans a little more toward the latter than the former), but if The Keeper proves anything it's that Sarah Langan has developed a voice all her own. With a poetic sensibility she creates a haunting atmosphere and chilling imagery without ever bogging down the narrative. In fact, though it may seem almost aimless, the plot comes together like a dark mosaic, piece by piece, until the whole is revealed.

The Ke
...more
Mark R.
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
Morgan
Apr 13, 2008 Morgan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Vince Liaguno
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
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
David Larsson
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.
Bretty
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.
Daniel
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.
Luis Martinez jr
This, I believe, is what "Carrie" would have read like if Dickens wrote it. Get ready for some bleakness. It is almost non-stop for about 400 pages, if you can handle that. The characters are perfectly vivid, and you care for them. The novel does, however, treat a lot of its imagery pretty lightly, but I won't fault it for that as I know some people love that sort of thing. For me, if the supernatural action doesn't fit neatly into the reality of the novel, it pushes the story from horror to mag ...more
Jocelyn
Pfft. Yep, that's a fart noise. I didn't like this book.
Matilda Mayfair
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 vio ...more
Shauna
2.5 Stars

A dark tale of a small town and it's inhabitants. The story is focused on the Marley family, a defunct paper mill, and how the residents of this depressing small town get caught up in horrific events. The story fits somewhere in between a witch tale, a ghost story, and a family drama.

The story was quite slow to start, as it didn't really pick up until half way through. The author took quite some time to establish the characters, which was good for characterization, but boring for plot.
...more
Kathy Jackson
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
Crabby 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
Linda
The town of Bedford, Maine is dying, little by little. The paper mill is closed; families are leaving looking for better lives; the kids that live there cannot wait to graduate high school and get out. Liz Marley is one of those girls hoping to leave behind her family and sister Susan. Susan is the specter of the town; wandering around, not speaking to anyone and somehow invading the thoughts of all the people in the town. When Susan falls to her death in a terrible accident all the dark secrets ...more
Gina
Goodreads Description- 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 ...more
Melissa Helwig
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
Nancy Carbajal
Well, I must say for my first enviromental horror story I found it very well written. It read in such a way (for myself) that I couldnt put it down till I figured out what exactly was going on. Now that I think on it...King wrote in such a way, I'm sure others have, but its King that comes to mind on something other than people who can bring about a happening (a place, a thing) that effects humans and the horror it brings. This time its a factory in a small town that has slowly leaked its posion ...more
Mallory Heart Reviews
I read this year's ago, probably 2008 or 2009. I liked it, but I preferred her spooky, Audrey's Door and the second in this series The Missing. I'd like to reread all three and see if I get a different take on them.:)
Solim
Solid read that kept me wanting more from every chapter I read. Langan does the build-up at the right pace so you never get impatient or feel like anything is rushed. I wouldnt classify this as a scary book but more so creepy. The whole history behind the town and the event that led up to the climax were well drawn out. The characters had enough depth and all seemed to differentiate from each other well enough. The only downfall with this book would be the whatever ending because there is a sequ ...more
Carole Wood
This book is both a disturbing and fantastic read. I found myself reading it in large chunks, staying up til 4 in the morning for two reasons: 1) It was 'un-putdownable' and 2) it got to me so much that I wanted to get through it as quickly as possible, like getting blood taken!
I thought I had a dark and twisted mind but Langan takes the biscuit! In fact, reading her work has inspired me to let loose even more with my own writing...

Overall, it's a must-read but not for the faint-hearted. It wil
...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 is also pursuing her Master's in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology at New York University.

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

Other Books in the Series

Keeper (2 books)
  • The Missing (Keeper, #2)
Audrey's Door The Missing (Keeper, #2) Virus The Lost La puerta de audry

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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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