The rain falls ceaselessly on the town of Bedford as it braces itself for the annual floods that herald the end of winter. But this year the sense of misery is more pervasive than ever. The Clott paper mill, the town's biggest employer, has shut, and the town, already polluted by the chemicals the mill used, faces a desperate future.
Liz and Susan Marley are two sisters who are poles apart. Susan, beautiful and disturbed, lives in squalor in the wrong part of town. She wanders silently at night, inappropriately dressed, never speaking and letting herself be picked up by men in bars. She is the town witch - the town's guilty secret. Liz is years younger than Susan, in her last year of high school and worried about her looks, her weight, how popular she is, whether she will ever get out of Bedford, and above all: why her sister hates her so much.
Liz dreams about Susan, vividly, horrifically, dreams in which Susan tries to kill her, dreams from which she awakes strangely bruised. But it turns out that everyone in Bedford dreams about Susan Marley - strange, disturbing dreams of destruction and loathing. And when Susan Marley commits suicide, betrayed by life one final petty time, her death unleashes a hail of destruction on the town of Bedford that is more terrifying than any dream.
"A dark and bracingly bleak tale of supernatural terror. Its brooding atmosphere comes as much from the social and psychological as from the ghostly, and best of all, from the quality of the prose." (Ramsey Campbell)
"The Keeper begins what should be a very fruitful career." (Peter Straub)
"Sarah Langan's debut novel The Keeper kept me up, late into the night. Do I bear her a grudge? Of course not! I'm hoping for a whole shelf of novels by Langan, and many other sleepless nights." (Kelly Link)
"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.... This is horror on a big scale, akin to the more ambitious work of Stephen King.... this effective debut promises great things to come." (Publishers Weekly)
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A good read, well read.
- Jonathan Mills