The Missing
Sarah Langan

Harper Collins
Paperback $6.99 Sale Date 9-25-2007
Reviewed by Craig Davis

Many prominent authors have sung the praises of Sarah Langan’s debut novel, The Keeper. While it was an extremely well written and intriguing first novel, I had feeling that it could have been great and not just surprisingly polished and interesting. Based on blurbs by none other that the great Peter Straub, among others, I was slightly let down by Langan’s debut, although it did promise a bright future for Langan. Let me be the first to say, with her new book, entitled The Missing (or Virus in the U.K.), Langan has fulfilled that potential and then some. This is a novel that reads like any of the superior works of King, McCammon, or Barker. It is hard to believe that this is only Langan’ second novel.

The plot of The Missing is not overly complicated, but is extremely well handled. Starting with a disappearance of young James Walker, due to something nasty and old that he encountered in the woods, the story follows a tried and true path of horror unleashed on a small, idyllic town. It is Langan’s descriptive ability and uncanny knack of describing small town life, and the residents thereof that often reminded me of a young Stephen King, and his legendary Castle Rock. While the “disaster strikes a small town” plotline has been mined many times before, I can safely say that there are surprises lurking here, and oh what delicious surprises they are. Sarah Langan has progressed light years as a writer, and I constantly had to remind myself that this was only her second novel. Almost as scary as The Missing, is the idea that Langan will only get better as a writer. Highly recommended.

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