Missing

( 22 )

Overview

A remote and affluent Maine community, Corpus Christi was untouched by the environmental catastrophe that destroyed the neighboring blue-collar town of Bedford. But all that will change in a heartbeat . . .

The nightmare is awakened when third-grade schoolteacher Lois Larkin takes the children on a field trip to Bedford. There in the abandoned woods, a small, cruel boy unearths an ancient horror—a contagious plague that transforms its victims ...

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The Missing

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Overview

A remote and affluent Maine community, Corpus Christi was untouched by the environmental catastrophe that destroyed the neighboring blue-collar town of Bedford. But all that will change in a heartbeat . . .

The nightmare is awakened when third-grade schoolteacher Lois Larkin takes the children on a field trip to Bedford. There in the abandoned woods, a small, cruel boy unearths an ancient horror—a contagious plague that transforms its victims into something violent, hungry . . . and inhuman.

The long, dark night is just beginning. And all hope must die as the contagion feeds—for the malevolence will not rest until it has devoured every living soul in Corpus Christi . . . and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

Brian Keene
“...innovative, sharp, and absolutely chilling...”
J.C. Patterson
“[THE MISSING is] as engrossing as a dagger poised at one’s throat.”
Ray Garton
“An astonishing first novel...chilling, haunting, and so smartly written that the pages fly by like the wind.”
Kelly Link
“THE KEEPER kept me up, late into the night...I’m hoping for a whole shelf of novels by Langan.”
Tim Lebbon
“[A] brilliant debut, heralding the arrival of a major talent.”
Peter Straub
“[A] distinct and juicy flavor all its own. THE KEEPER begins what should be a very fruitful career.”
Ramsey Campbell
“A dark and bracingly bleak tale of supernatural terror.”
Douglas E. Winter
“Deft and disturbing... twists expectations into surreal surprises... hypnotic reading - an assured and impressive debut.”
Edward Bryant
"...The new author on the block is definitely a keeper..."
-Edward Bryant
“...The new author on the block is definitely a keeper...”
Jack Ketchum
“A smart, brand-new take on the haunted house story…hard to believe this is a first novel.”
BookPage
“Langan has crafted a grisly horror story that will keep you out of the woods for years to come.”
Washington Times
“Echoes of Stephen King resound...the first fruits of a most promising career.”
London Times on The Keeper
“Langan has a sharp eye for the small vivid details of American life, and her characters are utterly believable.”
Publishers Weekly

In her second novel, Langan delivers a powerhouse creepfest that recalls, in the best way possible, the early work of Stephen King. Corpus Christi, Maine, was once a town of affluence, but since the mysterious paper mill fire in the neighboring town of Bedford (depicted in last year's well-received debut, The Keeper) released dense sulfuric clouds that killed the surrounding forest, Corpus Christi has been in steady decline. When fourth-grade teacher Lois Larkin takes her class on a field trip to the now-abandoned Bedford, they're exposed to a deadly virus that transforms the infected into ravenous, flesh-eating monsters. Rather than stick to zombie lit convention (mindless undead, endless chases), Langan invests her plague with a sinister intelligence of unknown origin, maintaining a skin-crawling tension as the vivid cast of characters succumb to murderous insanity, hunting down and tearing apart animals, neighbors and loved ones. Langan has the control of a pro, parsing just enough horrific details to allow the truly gruesome scenes to play out unbound in the imagination; this solid sophomore effort proves that The Keeper's disturbing ability to burrow into readers' heads and stay there was no fluke. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060872915
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/25/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 550,240
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Langan received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. She studied with Michael Cunningham, Nicholas Christopher, Helen Schulman, Susan Kenney, and Maureen Howard, among others, all of whom have been instrumental to her work. The author of The Keeper and the Bram Stoker Award-winning The Missing, she is a master's candidate in environmental medicine at NYU and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

The Missing

Chapter One

Where Are You Going,
Where Have You Been?

"George?" Lois Larkin called out to her fourth-grade class. Her voice was muffled, and she held the attendance book close to her nose. It was a sunny Tuesday morning in September, and the clock tower had not yet chimed nine A.M.

"Uh huh," George answered. He was chewing on a red Crayola.

Lois raised her wet eyes from the book. "George, don't eat that. It'll make you thick." Then she took a deep breath, just like she'd learned in speech therapy, and corrected herself: "Sick."

George pulled the crayon out of his mouth. Its entire top half was missing, and his teeth were coated in red wax. Lois shook her head. George Sanford: not the brightest of God's children.

Lois Larkin was twenty-nine years old, and had been teaching fourth grade since she'd moved back to Corpus Christi seven years ago. Her figure was slender but curvy—what the barflies at the Dew Drop Inn called "slammin'." When the boys and even the girls in her class daydreamed out the window, they were usually fantasizing about the feel of her long, black hair, and the scent of her NILLA Wafer-flavored breath.

Kids loved Lois. Parents loved her. Drunks hooted happily at her. Even animals flocked to her. Lois was lovely save for one flaw. The space between her two front teeth was so wide she could cram a pencil through the gap. She'd submitted to six years of braces through middle and high school to close it, but nary a month after the metal cage in her mouth was clipped, her teeth migrated to their nascent terra firma, and the gap returned. Whenshe was excited she lisped, and spit sprayed through the fissure, landing like an indifferent plague on the faces of friends and foes alike. Today, for example, the open page of her attendance book was damp.

"Jameth Walker?" Lois asked.

"Here," James called.

"No kicking, James. Feet thraight ahead . . . straight ahead."

"Yeth, Mith Loith," James sang. His smug grin spread from ear to ear. Lois's first instinct was to crack the boy on the head with her soft book, but instead she continued.

"Caroline?"

"Here, Miss Lois!" Caroline waved both hands in the air and squirmed in her chair like she had to take a piss. It occurred to Lois that maybe she didn't like kids so much.

Lois blotted her eyes with a snot-covered tissue. Took a deep breath. Said the words slowly. "Boys and girls, I have thomething called an allergy. Do you know what that is? Ith when you sneeze a lot and your eyes get all watery. For some people, like Johnnie, dogs make them sneeze. For me, ith mold and ragweed. I'm not crying. Do you understand?"

They nodded. Caroline raised her hand and moaned: "Oh! Oh!"

"Yeth, Caroline."

"I have an allergy to penicillin. That's an antibiotic, for, like, if you get AIDS."

Lois nodded. "That's very serious, Caroline, and good to know. Now, ith Kerry here today?"

"Yes."

"Alex Fullbright? . . . Michael Fullbright?"

The list went on.

In fact, Lois was lying. She wasn't suffering from allergies. She was crying. But today was the big class trip, and though she'd wanted to stay home, there hadn't been time to call in a substitute. So here she was, lisping her way through attendance and praying that some snot-nose like James Walker didn't raise his hand and finally point out the obvious—she wasn't wearing her engagement ring.

In hindsight, what happened wasn't surprising. A part of her had always known that Ronnie and Noreen were no good. When they used to tell her about some heartbreakingly stupid decision they'd made, like spending their paychecks on lottery tickets instead of rent, the evidence had been as plain as the gap between her teeth; these people were useless. But then she'd forget, because Ronnie's house was a sty that smelled like stale milk, and who else would remember to open the windows so he didn't get a headache? Because sure, Noreen was mean as Joan Crawford on diet pills, but deep down, she had a huge heart, right? You just had to look with a magnifying glass. Besides, Lois wasn't perfect, either. She lisped, collected bugs, and snacked on raw hamburger meat when she was premenstrual, for Christ's sake.

Besides, it wasn't their fault her life turned out so crappy. She should never have moved back to Corpus Christi after college. At the University of New Hampshire, she'd been happy. Unlike in high school, where she'd felt like a big-boned giant, college men had asked her on dates. She found friends who shared her love for the Science and Nature category of the Genus edition of Trivial Pursuit. She stopped covering her mouth when she talked, because it turned out that so long as she apologized, people were okay with an occasional ocean spray.

But during the winter of her senior year, her father had been driving down the road that connected Corpus Christi to Bedford. His Nissan hatchback skidded on black ice and flipped once before it landed in the woods. The dashboard crumbled, shattering both his legs. It happened late at night, and his frozen body wasn't found until the morning. No one could explain why he'd left a warm bed and his slumbering wife, Jodi Larkin. He had no secret girlfriend, and he didn't smoke or drink. He'd still been belted into the driver's side of the car when the snowplow driver found him. Even with a set of broken legs, most people would have crawled out the open passenger door and searched for help, but not Russell Larkin. They found his cell phone in his pocket, reception clear as a bell, but he never made a single call. Probably, it wasn't a suicide. He'd just wanted to go out for a drive, feel the night air, and look at the stars. Yes, she'd reassured herself; it probably wasn't a suicide.

The Missing. Copyright © by Sarah Langan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

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2 Star

(5)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    There is no comparison to Salems Lot.....not even in the same area code

    There is no way that this book should ever be compared to Salems Lot. I never felt like I could connect with the characters and the plot line to me never gets fully developed. I like premise, but this book just never got suction with me. It was difficult to finish, and then the ending was disapppointing.....almost as if the author received a phone call and just decided to end it because she got bored.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Though the two remote Maine towns are neighbors separated by woods, they are radically different as Corpus Christie is an affluent community while Bedford is a run down manufacturing environmental nightmare. Corpus Christi third-grade schoolteacher Lois Larkin takes her class on a field trip to nearby Bedford. The innocent inadvertently uncovers a buried plague. Almost immediately law abiding people behave violently towards family and neighbors. No one can sit still as everyone seems to behave irritated and angry. The transformation continues as the townsfolk metamorphosis into something inhuman with the malevolence spreading at an incredibly rapid speed from person to person. Soon the once comfortable community of Corpus Christie looks like a battlefield, which it is for if humanity fails to restrict the evil to this town, the state, country, and world will be devoured in a short time. --- This is an exciting horror thriller as the audience will feel they are alongside the townsfolk caught in a web of evil. The story line is action-packed, but character driven by the townies who evolve from optimistic to fatalistic. Although the evil in bones live long after the person is interred, the only thing missing from this tense thriller is the cause of why the malevolence began the effect is chilling. Still Sarah Langan proves she is a genre royal with this small town Maine horror thriller. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    Changed my stars

    From 2 to 1-where is the authors thought process?! Cant finish it! WHAT A WASTE!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    This novel deserves higher ratings.It is well written,engrossing

    This novel deserves higher ratings.It is well written,engrossing,
    character-driven yet action-filled,and most importantly it's ending was satisfying.
    I may be crazy but its way better than Salem's Lot and nothing at all like it either in plot.
    I'm a huge Stephen King fan and Salem's Lot was not one of my favorites.So I had to
    set THAT record straight.The Missing's  plot itself isn't entirely unique
     but it is well done,and memorable.The ending actually gave me goosebumps.
    I don't get goosebumps from reading books.I will read more from this Author,Sarah Langan

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Poor read. I felt it was a total waste of time and money. Probab

    Poor read. I felt it was a total waste of time and money. Probably will never buy another book by this author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Highly recommended

    I really liked this book. I like that you meet different characters and see the story through their different perspectives.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Wasted money and time!

    At first, things start off with so much promise with what appeared to be a sound base for good story growth. Then things appear to just make less and less sense as the story rambles through out so many possible changes in plot before just taking the easy way out. At the end, you are still left wondering what the heck just happened? Shame, it had the potential story line to take and be able to grap a reader's attention but as the plot line seemed to change constantly without offering a good basis as to why, it never got a chance to really get off the ground. Best advice is to save your money on this one, definately not worth the $$$ they demand. Try World War Z, especially since the movie is going to ruin the message the book attempts to get accross.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Il I like it!! :))

    I like gory horror books and this is one of them thank u 4 this book nuff said.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Yuck.

    I read a quarter of this book and had to stop. The author is just a little TOO influenced by H.P. Lovecraft for my taste. When the main character started gulping down mouthfuls of bloody dirt and bit into an earthworm I decided it was time to quit. If you like weird, this could be a great book for you. Not for me, however.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    There are a few good blurbs in and on this book that interested me from a few good writers that interest me so I bought it (or rather, I Mooched it) and I read it. It was a pretty quick read and I have to say, it was quick because I didn't like it very much. The story is pretty good. The characterizations are pretty bad. I felt like the author was trying to create internally tormented characters but the resulting characterizations were shallowly annoying and instead of coming across tormented to this reader, they came off the pages as ridiculously vacillating. Example: The main character, or family actually, was so full of conflicting emotions and mental attitudes toward each other that I started doubting if the author even realized what they were up to. Feelings toward other family members and 'loved ones' flipped between love, hate, complete passion and absolute displeasure... all within the space of a paragraph... over and over and over. It was annoying and my suspension of reality (a necessary request by an author of any reader) was tested to the limits. The book left me feeling like there was definitely something 'Missing.' What was missing was any kind of coherency. Don't get me wrong, I understand incoherent emotions and how they can play a role in a good story. There is nothing better than an incoherent person to add drama and suspense and even emotion (in the reader, either disdain or pity or even pleasure at such out-there thinking and actions) but when your main characters vacillate between such extremes it gets to be a big distraction. I love my wife, I hate my wife, I love my husband, I hate my husband, I love my parents, I hate my parents, I love our life, I hate our life, I'm a good person, I'm evil, I hate everything, I love everything. This is how the book reads. Passion, either good or evil, is a great attribute. Trying to impose both at the same time can make for great and tormented characters delving into a slip of sanity. Or, it can make for a miserable roller coaster ride that detracts from the overall story. The latter is what we have here. Never mind the fact that the premise of the book lies just past the reach of suspended reality to which readers are asked to submit. In this case, a teacher (another tormented, I hate/I love character) is given permission in upscale community of Corpus Christi, ME to take children on a field trip to a decimated, diseased, burned, polluted and dying neighboring town called Bedford (this was too convenient and I would propose would never have been allowed in the first place, thus my suspension of reality was tested early) where an evil is released by an annoying little schoolboy with a Jeffery Dahmer childhood. Never mind that, and the characterizations, and the book is still, well... pretty bad. -=R=-

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

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    Posted June 3, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2008

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