The Books That Scare the Crap Out of Us

The Keeper
Sarah Langan

Sarah Langan’s The Keeper made me nervous, jumpy, and about as happy as can be. I read it during a winter several years ago, maybe 2007-08—one here in southern Ohio that had lots of nights with temperatures in the teens and below, and a couple of good snowstorms. I spent a lot of time in the garage after shoveling the driveways and our porch and the neighbors’ walkways and all. Those who know me well will tell you that I love cold weather, and I’ve never spent more time in it than I did (with icicles in my beard, literally) than I did that winter . . . because I loved this book.

After working outside in the dark and cold, I read it in the garage in the light of a small utility bulb while smoking cigars and drinking Guinness. It took me only a couple of nights. The garage was set back from the house, and it was very dark outside. I jumped. I flinched. I listened carefully to noises outside. That’s what the book did to me. And I loved every second, every line, of it. Langan is a master of atmosphere and imagery and tension. The central character, Susan Marley, is terrifying in both a realistic and a supernatural way. This book crawls along sometimes in such a good, detailed, and dreadful way, and then the terror escalates later on at a breakneck pace. I’ve never been so happy to be unnerved as I was on those dark, snowstormy nights while I read this book half-drunk in a cold garage.

-Brady Allen

3 thoughts on “The Books That Scare the Crap Out of Us

  1. The scariest book I’ve ever read is Stephen King’s “IT”…I now have it on audio (got it at a discount) and have not yet been able to finish because it still scares me that much. Since reading this book, I’ve had a fear of clowns…any clowns…and I’m 63 years old. *shivers*

  2. The wonderful thing about Stoker’s Dracula is that so many years later it still shocks the reader. Raised the hairs on the back of my neck faster than The Silence of the Lambs. Fantastic story.

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