24. The Missing, by Sarah Langan (2007)

Comparisons to Stephen King’s sprawling vampire yarn Salem’s Lot are never bad, so when Sarah Langan’s 2007 novel, The Missing, made its way into book shops and garnered such lofty parallels, horror fans took notice.

Those who gave The Missing a chance were greeted by a distressing examination of one town’s (Corpus Christi, Maine) upheaval thanks to an unseen force awakened by a precocious kid. This turns the townsfolk, many of whom Langan develops quite well, into flesh-eaters more enigmatic than your everyday zombies. Don’t let primitive gender stereotypes fool you, either—The Missing brings the gore in abundance.