Audrey's Door

Sarah Langan
Audrey's Door Cover

Audrey's Door


Women in horror. Why don't women write more horror novels? Or more accurately, why are more women horror authors not singled out for awards in the genre of horror. Only three books by women authors have won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in the last 10 years. Two of those novels were by Sarah Langan. Only seven novels by women authors have been nominated in the last 10 years. Again, Sarah Langan represents two of the seven. Women have made great strides in other genre works, especially in fantasy and increasingly in science fiction. Why then do they keep lagging in the horror field? The reason for this little tirade at the beginning of this review is because I love horror writing and I wanted to try and read some women horror writers. Boy, was I disappointed by the Bram Stoker award list. Now I understand that the British Fantasy Society's August Derleth Award is a little better with 12 novels by women nominated in the last 10 years, but there is a caveat. Only 7 women are represented by those 12 books, and there were only 2 female winners in the last 10 years. I can't help but wonder, are women authors unable to write good horror fiction, or is this a case of them being overlooked? Just something to think about.

Ok I will now get off my soap box and get on with my review.

It seems that good old-fashioned ghost stories may be coming back into vogue, at least they were back in the 00's. I am just getting around to reading books from this time, so for me 2016 was the year of the ghost story. Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box was one such example I read this year (It was not good) and now Sarah Langan's Audrey's Door. In my opinion Ms. Langan was miles more successful in her attempt to modernize the ghost story.

For one thing, Ms. Langan sets her novel in the bustle of a NY apartment. When one thinks of a "haunted house" one rarely thinks of an apartment. I mean the name itself haunted HOUSE, pretty much tells you where you expect the haunting to occur. So, setting the haunting in a NYC apartment turns the expectations of the reader right from the start.

I also enjoyed the idea that Audrey is a brilliant but deeply damaged character that is still trying to make good of herself. I felt the same feelings towards Audrey in this book as I did by Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I want to see both characters succeed, because both characters suffer so much in their younger years, and despite it all still strive to make their lives a success. Everyone loves an underdog.

Plus, the story was full of excitement and suspense. Each chapter adds layers of horror, that left this reader breathlessly turning the pages. The story was not slowed by the drifting back in time in the form of memories recalled by Audrey, instead they added to the suspense of what was going on in the present.

There was a dream-like, or more appropriately labeled nightmare quality about the story. It seemed like Audrey drifted from one horrible event to the next, I never felt like I was living Audrey's life, but was more a voyeur in her nightmares. Although I enjoyed the ending quite a bit, it almost felt like the ending of the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie. The door opens, it is sunny but there still feels like there is an undercurrent of an unfinished horror waiting just around the corner to drag the characters back to the horror they just escaped from. It left me feeling like there was just unfinished business. I' don't know there was just something about the ending that bothered me. Maybe it just seemed a little too pat.

All in all, Sarah Langan was a wonderful find and I look forward to reading more of the writings.