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Audrey's Door Mass Market Paperback – September 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Langan's lackluster third horror novel follows emotionally stunted, mentally ill Audrey Lucas as she moves into the Breviary, which seems the perfect Manhattan home for an up-and-coming architect. Rent is cheap; the building's Chaotic Naturalism architecture is rare and intriguing; and it lets Audrey get away from her troubled first romance. After learning that the apartment's last occupant drowned her four children before committing suicide, Audrey still opts to stay, but as apparitions and the building's other residents urge her to build a door, her sanity begins to slip. What follows is a slow, uninteresting story full of dead-end digressions, with nothing to keep a reader engaged. Langan (The Missing) knows how to write strong prose, but the story lacks punch and likely won't even appeal to fans of haunted houses. (Oct.)
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“Sarah Langan is one of the bright new hopes of horror — and intelligent, literary, ambitious author capable of scaring the ever-loving crap out of her readers.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
“Langan’s idiosyncratic blending of supernatural horror and character-driven, psychological insight proves captivating and pleasurably bone-chilling.” (Booklist)
“Believable characters, deft writing, and an intriguing take on the haunted–house tale.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
“A genuine creepfest that recalls, in the best way possible, the early work of Stephen King….Langan has the control of a pro….this solid sophomore effort proves that the uncanny ability of The Keeper to burrow into readers’ heads and stay there was no fluke.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“...[I]nnovative, sharp, and absolutely chilling...” (Brian Keene, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Ghoul and Dead Sea)
“[THE MISSING is] as engrossing as a dagger poised at one’s throat.” (J.C. Patterson)
“[THE KEEPER] will scare the heck out of you.” (4 stars! --Lindsay Hunter, OK! MAGAZINE)
“[A] distinct and juicy flavor all its own. THE KEEPER begins what should be a very fruitful career.” (Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author of IN THE NIGHT ROOM)
“...The new author on the block is definitely a keeper...” (-Edward Bryant, Locus)
“A beautiful, suspenseful novel... that sets out to do exactly what it should: scare the reader with a combination of well-crafted prose and page-turning velocity.” (Baltimore Sun)
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With that Audrey's life seems to be getting back on track as she has recently been made assistant to one of the partners at the design firm she works for. She has a big presentation in a couple of days where she will present a design she made from scratch. A rare honor for some one that hasn't been at the firm for very long.
Everything is going fine. Except Audrey keeps having these dreams. In them she wants to build something. Or someone wants her to, she's not sure. It's nothing she can't handle, she's been hearing and seeing things no one else can for years. At first she chalks up these spells to being in a new apartment. But an uneasy feeling follows her around, always reminding her that she should be building something. Then she gets a notice that her committed mother has over dosed and gone into a coma, she starts having problems at work, and she starts having violent arguments with her ex-boyfriend. Audrey doesn't quite know it yet but she has been caught in a trap that has claimed many lives and will continue to do so until those behind it get what they want.
Will Audrey be the final piece of the puzzle or will she find that her dark past offers her, her greatest hope?
I like stories about building that have something that is a little... off about them. Whether it's about a haunted house or a high tech building gone wrong. Of course these types of stories can be hit or miss. In this case I consider this story a hit. The story also most reminds me of the Silent Hill games in the way that the building slowly begins to twist reality on Audrey and a few of the other inhabitants of the building until it finally shows it true power. On the other hand Audrey can be a bit.. off herself on occasion. I realize she has a few mental issues that were never treated, or were treated very badly, but sometimes some of the things she does just don't make much sense. My only other complaint was that the ending was a little predictable, but with how dark this story is I guess it makes sense. All in all though this is a great read if you like dark atmosphere's and haunted houses. m.a.c
Sarah Langan took great care at molding characters, especially the neurotic protagonist and her perverse neighbors. She described Audrey's memories of her past, OCD and social inadequacy in great details. For a while, I even forgot that I was reading horror fiction. I simply wanted to find out more about the characters. Audrey's return trip to see her comatose mother in the second act is my favorite portion of the novel. That is not to say that Langan skimmed on mystery, suspense and chills. On the contrary, the story is full of dread and forebodings. It features many memorable skin crawling scenes. In one such scene, Audrey was making a business presentation to company's owners and senior management. She then "saw" the mysterious visitor from her last night's nightmare standing with his back facing her and persistently scratching the back wall.
Audrey's Door is both great horror and character study until the end. The climax is a big let down. The world of the supernatural is the book's Achilles heel. Langan did not explain why Breviary necessarily intended to usher in dark forces if the building itself was already sentient, mad and evil. The connection between the supernatural and Audrey's and her mother's psychology is tenuous. It seems to this reader that Langan clobbered together the loose pieces so as to quickly wind down the story. It is odd considering this is her third "ghost" story. Other than that, the book is a fascinating look at troubled female psyche.
This was my first time reading Sara Langan's work and I must simply say that she's marvelous. Very creative and meticulous, she weaves an extraordinary tale with enough to raise Goosebumps. I wish more books were like this, rich and full of good bits and pieces. For fans of Roman Polanski's "The Tenant" this will be a great read that has a similar feel and mood.