Here’s an offer you oughta grab with both hands while you can: Sarah Langan’s debut novel The Keeper is available until the end of the month as a free e-book download from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony. (edited to add: there was a slight administrative snafu, but it is now free at B&N again.)
The Keeper is a ghost story set in a small town in Maine. I can’t really review it with a clear conscience, because I’m hopelessly partial—Sarah and I have been friends since we were teenagers, and I first read The Keeper seven years before HarperCollins finally saw the light and published it—so I’ll just mention that it’s won praise and rave reviews from a throng that includes Peter Straub and Kelly Link, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a Bram Stoker nominee. (Its followup The Missing won the Stoker for Best Novel last year, as did her short story “The Lost” this year.) I still remember reading The Keeper in manuscript form on a long bus ride ten years ago, and shivering with adrenalin as the hours vanished away. Download it for free while you can.
It’s been made available to promote her new book Audrey’s Door, as has this creepy trailer:
You may be thinking, “Hey, why is that book trailer above so much better than all the other ones I’ve seen?” And the answer is, “because it was directed by a real director.” Most book trailers range somewhere between “painfully amateurish” and “forgettably mediocre.” Mine own Invisible Armies got trailered a few years ago, which, um… how should I put this exactly? …Let’s just say that I appreciate the good intentions its creator presumably had. Are there any other book trailers actually worth watching? Because the vast majority of those I’ve seen look like they were made by marketing executives and/or design hipsters remixing stock footage, rather than filmmakers.
I suppose to some extent it’s a question of money; these are lean times in the publishing industry, so cheap-and-mediocre is always more tempting than good-and-expensive. But book trailers no longer have any novelty value: now they actually have to be good if they’re going to be effective. Meanwhile, film schools are full of edgy starving students looking for any chance to make there mark. I’m surprised publishers aren’t farming the job out to them.
Anyway, the above is a bar-raising step in the right direction. And it mind wind up as a teaser trailer of another kind, too: the film rights to Audrey’s Door were snapped up by The Weinstein Company earlier this year. In the meantime, go download The Keeper for free while you can, and enjoy.
Jon Evans is the author of several international thrillers, including Dark Places and Invisible Armies, and the forthcoming Vertigo graphic novel The Executor. He also occasionally pretends to be a swashbuckling international journalist. His novel Beasts of New York, an epic fantasy about a squirrel in Central Park, is freely available online, under a Creative Commons license.