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The Missing by Sarah Langan
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The Missing

by Sarah Langan

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2291572,150 (3.31)16
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I am at a loss. Interesting story. Talented writer. And yet... the characters were so relentlessly unlikable that the book itself became a struggle.
  Lemeritus | Sep 12, 2018 |
I think I see why people read these kinds of books. Reading this book was like walking on a people mover. "Whee!" I thought as the pages I held in my left hand added up and the those in my right hand diminished. "I'm reading so fast!"

But along the way my mental tally of annoying things about this novel kept me just this side of enjoying it. Here are some of the things that bugged me:

1) Poor editing. This rankles the copy editor in me every time. Not only do the repeated words and phrases distract me, but their presence suggests that even someone paid to read the novel didn't care enough about it to read it closely.

2) Internal inconsistencies. A character throws up one morning and then, twenty pages and a few storyline hours later, she throws up again but "it had been such a long time since she'd thrown up (New Year's Eve, 2000?) that she wasn't sure what is happening." (p 101 in the paperback I read) A character finds it painful to stand, and three paragraphs later, she stands without any other comment. (p 327) Sometimes the creatures can be killed by a shot to the head or a stab to the heart and other times they can't.

3) It's derivative. This book echoes Tommyknockers, Gerald's Game, I Am Legend, and every vampire story ever written.

4) Factual inaccuracies. The CDC headquarters is in Atlanta, not Washington, DC (there is a Washington office, but its mission is legislative strategy for public health policy). Poison ivy berries are an important food source for wild birds. These could probably go under "poor editing," but they annoyed me enough to get their own number in the list.

While I enjoyed the sense of speed I got while reading this novel, it wasn't enough to leave me feeling satisfied when I factor in all of these other things (not to mention the flat, stereotyped characters with ridiculously unsubtle names. Albert Sanguine? *Eye roll*). Oh, and it didn't scare me.

My quest for good, literary horror continues... ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Nov 27, 2016 |
While there are elements of "bits of Stephen King" in the story - small town in Maine, characters with a rough past - I think this book should be more well liked by fans of Guillermo del Toro's The Strain trilogy. The characters are very real, some pitiful, some two-faced, some degenerate, some you end up cheering for when you least expect it. But most of all, I enjoy that there isn't a happy ending. That's horror for you. Someone doesn't always save the world. There's a supernatural element that isn't fully explained, but has it's origins in the ghost town of Bedford. This is where it also feels like Silent Hill. Bedford was abandoned because of a fire and the sulfuric content in the air. But that dark, brooding hate of Bedford resurrects something that possess anything that it comes into contact with. A plague that is mistaken for a virus, attacks the town of Corpus Christi. It spreads quickly and transforms people into something inhuman, grotesque and rotting. The plague is mistakenly identified as a virus, both airborne and transferred by the exchange of bodily fluid but just like in the Strain, it isn't. Although certain points don't get explained, I can accept that because it kept me enthralled. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days, and there were parts that genuinely gave me the chills. But then again, perhaps I should have read "The Keeper" first, and it apparently explains a lot of what happened to the town of Bedford without "The Missing" being a direct sequel. ( )
  asukamaxwell | Mar 31, 2014 |
This is a mix between zombie novel and a vampire novel. The infected don't die; instead the virus changes them, altering their physiology to meet its needs. They feed, eating every part of flesh from the bodies (zombie). They also have mind reading abilities and light sensitivity that forces them to sleep during the day (vampire). The mix works fairly well.

The story is told from the point of view of multiple characters, those who live in the small town that will become ground zero for the plague. I was fairly impressed at Langan's ability to give each character depth and complexity in each small chapter, though a couple of them who fell into the cookie cutter range.

It was a strange thing that as the story progressed, I slowly began to like the characters less and less instead of the other way around. I eventually didn't care much what happened to them.

Despite not loving the characters, this was a fast paced novel, an easy, lightweight read, and just what I needed at the moment.

I didn't realize that this was the second book in a series when I picked it up. The story just kind of ends and it feels very much like it's still in the middle of things. I enjoyed this enough that I'm curious to go read about the events that are hinted at in the first book. And I'd be interested in following, what happens next, as well. ( )
  andreablythe | Mar 16, 2014 |
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book...
As the POV switched so often, I didn't feel any sort of attachment to any of the characters, so the deaths really didn't mean much to me. I thought it was interesting how the reader never really quite got to see exactly what the infected did, from a POV chapter. Everything was hinted at, through the remains of the people and animals - and although it was obvious what went on, without a full description of it, it felt like the reader was partially in the dark, like the infected when they attacked.
As I mentioned previously, none of the characters really drew me in. There were quite a lot of stereotypes - Maddie especially annoyed me; I just really hate the overuse of teen slang in books. Lois was a complete sap. I still don't understand why the virus centred around her, why she was in control, and why Fenstad's family lasted the longest.
Quite a grim read, although I'm not sure what I was really expecting from the blurb!

Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads. ( )
  Rinnreads | Sep 24, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Crises, precipitate change. - Virus, Deltron 3030
Dedication
For J. T. Petty
First words
In winter the dark creeps up on you.
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The Missing (US) was released as Virus in the UK
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060872918, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:23 -0400)

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.… (more)

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