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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Missing

The Missing
Sarah Langan
Harper, 2007

“When schoolteacher Lois Larkin takes her third grade class on a trip to Bedford, a town destroyed by an environmental catastrophe, one of the children unearths an ancient, contagious plague that transforms its victims into something violent, inhuman, and hungry.”

Horror is not my favorite genre, but when I needed to find a supernatural horror title for a work book discussion group, I picked this title because it got a favorable review. Actually, to be more accurate, I picked her first novel, The Keeper, but I couldn’t get into it. It felt like it was the sequel to another book, so I decided to start with The Missing instead. Then, when I was about halfway into The Missing, I realized that I should have read The Keeper first, but it was too late. I wasn’t going to force myself to read another miserable horror novel if I didn’t have to.

Reviewers love Sarah Langan, and to be fair, she is probably a great horror novelist if you like that sort of thing – and I don’t. However, I feel that I could be objective enough to recognize a good story if I read one, even if it did involve flesh-eating zombies. I could not get past the ridiculous premise of an elementary school teacher taking a bunch of third graders on a FIELD TRIP to the scene of a former environmental catastrophe. Really? Even if supernatural events occur, I would like to at least try to believe it COULD happen, yet this story was so implausible that I could not suspend reality enough to enjoy the story. In fact, I found some of the scenes more comic than scary, and frankly, a little boring. How many times can someone get eaten in one novel?

I think I should have picked a Stephen King book instead.


Other novels by this author:
The Keeper (2006)
The Missing (2007)
Audrey’s Door (2009)

Other titles you may enjoy:

Under the Dome by Stephen King (2009)
After an invisible force field seals off Chester's Mill, Maine, from the rest of the world, it is up to Dale Barbara, an Iraq veteran, and a select group of citizens to save the town, if they can get past Big Jim Rennie, a murderous politician, and his son, who hides a horrible secret in his dark pantry.

A Dark Matter by Peter Straub (2010)
Old friends try to come to grips with the darkness of the past--a secret ritual that left behind a gruesomely dismembered body--and find themselves face-to-face with the evil they helped create.

The Walking by Bentley Little (2000)
As a strange epidemic characterized by a series of deaths and a reanimation of the dead who are drawn to an unknown destination, spreads across the country, investigator Miles Huerdeen follows a nightmarish quest to uncover a secret as old as time itself.

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