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Virus Paperback – 15 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (15 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755333748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755333745
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 2.9 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,417,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Langan's fiction has received three Bram Stoker Awards, an editor's pick from the New York Times' Book Review, a Publishers' Weekly favorite book of 2008 selection, an American Library Association Award, a Fangoria Book of the Month Selection, and several other honors.

She grew up on Long Island, and got her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and rabbit. Her influences include Russell Banks, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Kelly Link, Somerset Maugham, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, Eudora Welty, the films of Ingmar Bergman and Will Ferrell, all media relating to Rodney Dangerfield, the movie The Jerk, and the band The Eels.

She's currently at work on her fourth novel, EMPTY HOUSES, as well as a young adult series called KIDS.

In addition to writing novels, she is also pursuing her Master's in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology at New York University.

Product Description


Langan has a sharp eye for the small vivid details of American life, and her characters are utterly believable. Reminiscent of early Stephen King, this is not the for squeamish (The Times)

Book Description

Something lurking in the woods threatens to destroy an entire town in Sarah Langan's brilliantly crafted second novel

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beanson on 27 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was in many ways a disappointment. I started with high hopes because the writing was vivid and at first seemed admirably taut as we are introduced to a well rounded character Lois, taking her young charges out into a spooky wood for a field trip. Unfortunately the more I read the more problems developed.

One major issue is the amount of characters and the devotion to describing them- there are so many introductions and so many pages detailing each individual back-story that the plot is forgotten and confusion sets in about which one the author is now describing. Sometimes whole chapters are devoted to character issues (The House Divided pp. 146) that have no apparent connection with the plot and are dull distractions at best. Frankly it seems self-defeating; the more time she spends writing about the characters the less I am interested in them and paradoxically the less distinctive they become. The author employs the `stupid name' gambit for added memorability: one of the leads is call Fenstad Winthob; another labours under the name Alfred Sanguine- no- those won't do.

All this makes for slow going, the plot when it surfaces is confused: a boy gets killed apparently (I thought that racoons ate him) but then he seems to appear as a ghost and then as a corporeal boy scavenging for food.

Then there are the plot `howlers': The woods of Bedford (the source of the weirdness) is only a `few miles' (easy walkable distance- many characters do so) from the town where all the characters live- and yet the kids who go there on a school trip: "...had never seen anything like this before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain EO on 5 Dec 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whilst I finally ended up quite enjoying "The Missing" (which I also believe has been released as The Virus), there's a lot of frustrating things about Sarah Langan's book.

Firstly, I found the back-cover to be slightly mis-leading. Reading it back after I'd fininshed the novel I guess it was a relatively accurate summary but "The Missing" is effectively a zombie/apocalypse novel & the cover doesn't really spell this out. It's also a very slow-read & took me until at least half-way through the book to "get into" it & even then I was never truly engrossed until perhaps the last 50 pages. Additionally, whilst not everyone wants a true hero to root for in a book, Langan seems to have decided that the reader will get quite the opposite & in doing so focuses on a group of characters who are anything but likeable. Whilst most novels of the horror genre naturally focus on evil, the reader is often provided with a likeable central character which helps bring a balance to the negativity but with Langan even the "heroes" of the novel have little good about them which makes for a pretty depressing read.

The writing itself was good with a decent plot but I feel that if the book's 400 pages was trimmed to around 300 the reader would have been rewarded with a far more enjoyable experience as once it's been established what is happening to the town in which the book is set, it's a lot of the same thing & a bit of a slog to the ending. My first & in all likelihood last Sarah Langan novel.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Redfern on 9 May 2008
Format: Paperback
It's easy for book reviewers to compare new horror writers with Stephen King. Most have never read any horror before and think the genre owes everything to King's more popular novels or their big screen adaptations. Because the genre is so small (and disappearing so quickly from bookshops) publishers depend on those Stephen King comparisons or quotes to emblazon a front cover and hope for extra sales. This second novel by Sarah Langan is compared to early Stephen King by a reviewer of The Times. I can see that, if you think of Stephen King's early work as taut writing, fast action, tense mood, grim humour and expert depiction of small towns in Maine.

This novel seems to pick up from where Sarah Langan's first novel ended, though you can read both separately. Middle-class haven Corpus Christi is a few minutes away from ghost town Bedford. During a school bus trip to Bedford, one of Corpus Christi's children goes missing. When he returns, he brings inside of him something that he found in Bedford's surrounding woods. Very quickly, things degenerate in Corpus Christi, its smug citizens not knowing what hit them before it's too late.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this novel as much as I did when I picked it up at my local library. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy horror page-turners.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Rosen on 8 April 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a disappointment. The early pages start promising with character building and the introduction of an innocent school trip turning bad, building great tension and fear. Sadly, that's where it ends and I fought through to the end, chapter by chapter, refusing to allow the book to beat me.
The issue is not the plot itself, but the loose, scattered manner to which the author develops it. The pace is slow and action doesn't get going until the middle pages, but even then there is a feeling of the author needing to "fill pages". One chapter introduces a character beautifully. Page after page of descriptive text about her upbringing and torrid relationship with her alcholic father and the journey from nothingness to beauty queen. By the end of the chapter she's dead. Next! It's like a short story wedged in between two chapters and left me confused and cheated.
The story also jumps around from household to household and I found it very hard to become engrossed in a book that didn't allow me to build the characters as I was never 100% sure who was who.
Finally, if you are going to encompass a virus into a small town then keep it there. The talk of US Army surrounding the town and the virus spreading far and wide is unnecessary when there is no further information offered and the suggested world domination of the bug is dangled like a carrot but in no way followed up or developed.
I'm a big "zombie" fan, and the plot here is strong, but poorly executed.
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