The inevitable seven-day rain that strikes Bedford, Maine, each year is back, and this year it has brought something sinister with it. Bedford has long been haunted by Susan Marley, a once-beautiful young woman whose tortured childhood has turned her into a mute wandering the streets of the town. Susan has been in the nightmares of many of Bedfordís residents, including her sister, Liz, who is trying to forget her past and graduate from high school so she can go to college and be with her boyfriend. Others affected by Susan include Georgia, a single mother who only wants to raise a happy son; Paul, a high school teacher who has given in to alcoholism to deal with his unstable wife; and the town sheriff, who knows the town is slowly dying but feels a sense of responsibility to save it.
Everything gets worse for the residents of Bedford when Susan Marley, witnessed by Paul, throws herself down the stairs and dies. Instead of releasing Bedford from her strange hold, her death sets in motion a ghostly catastrophe that may leave the entire town dead.
Sarah Langanís The Keeper is an atmospheric spook-fest that will leave you unsettled and incredibly happy that you live anywhere but Bedford. You can practically feel the unending, foul rain as you turn the pages, an air of overwhelming despair that emanates from the town and those who live there. Unfortunately, this despair can sometimes be a little much and reading The Keeper can become a depressing act all on its own. It doesnít help that Langan introduces very few characters that we can either relate to or feel sorry for. The closest weíve got to a heroine is Liz, and even she is strange enough that you sometimes canít help but think she deserves whatever she gets.
Another problem is that the book finishes without a lot of answers. Langan introduces a monster in the beginning of the novel that is never again revisited, though there seems to be some connection to Susan, and we never really figure out what happened after Susanís death.
However, for her first novel, Sarah Langan has produced a decent thriller that should give readers a few chills and convince quite a few of them to check out her next effort.