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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Discussion of...    Books  ›  Sarah Langan (horror author recommendation) Moderators: Old Time Wesley, Chris_MacGuffin
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  Author    Sarah Langan (horror author recommendation)  (currently 540 views)
Posted: March 7th, 2017, 6:59pm Report to Moderator

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I've been reading this woman's books lately. Her prose has a poetic quality to it while at the same time retaining that simplicity that makes modern novels readable and easy to digest. She is liberal with grammar (lots of fragment use) but consistently and intentionally so, not so much that it makes her work hard, cringe-inducing, or grammatically blasphemous to read, but just enough so that her voice sounds natural on the page. She's written The Keeper, The Missing, and Audrey's Door, and she's a 3-time Stoker winner. Her books are rather long, but they don't feel like it to me.

Her books are balls-to-the-wall supernatural horror, though I suppose one may criticize at least two of them for having a distinct lack of ambition, or maybe an unwillingness of Langan's to step out of her comfort zone at times.

I'd rank the books pretty much in order of their release. These mini-reviews have very minor spoilers, but nothing else and nothing specific. Don't want to ruin things for anyone if they're interested.

1. The Keeper: her debut is a tightly-written supernatural horror tale set in a small-town, American setting. Atmosphere and dread permeate it in the best ways possible. Without giving anything away, the climax struck me as just a *little* bit cheesy, but the journey up to it was some of the finest new(ish) horror fiction I've read recently.

2. The Missing: her 2nd novel is a semi-independent, distant sequel/side-quel to The Keeper. This is where I began to form my personal mental picture of Langan as an author that lacks some ambition/is too comfortable with where she is. The book mixes Lovecraftian terror with... well... basically zombies. IMO, the zombie genre (in literature) is rather tired and it doesn't work too well here. Langan does the best she can with it, but it's curious to me that she decided to go in this direction in the first place, especially since the book is linked to The Keeper.

3. Audrey's Door: her 3rd novel. This one takes place in New York and was a bit hit-or-miss for me at times and it's the one people rag on the most despite it winning a Stoker. I also didn't think it was very scary, but it did keep me interested throughout and, like The Keeper, made for an easy, digestible genre read.  

Overall, if you like horror I would definitely caution you against skipping out on The Keeper, but I'd understand anyone skipping Audrey's Door and The Missing if they're not particularly fans of the author's style. Personally, I like her style well enough that I consider myself a fan of hers and have read all of the books by now.


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