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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, disturbing horror thriller by a master
Angela is a college freshman who has found herself in the center of a growing racial tension on campus; Henry is a park ranger who has nightly visits from two very mysterious (and dangerous) young women; Jolene is a mother starting a new life with her son, but who finds instead a mysterious mansion with disturbing secrets; Dennis is a young man who sets out to travel...
Published on August 4, 2006 by DanD

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not his best
I love Bentley Little's books and his way of turning rather innocuous things into sinister devices of evil. Great examples are a store, a homeowners association, an insurance policy, a town... this book however seemed to lose some of that idea. While I liked it, I felt that it had a bit of a preachy quality to it. Normally I'm unable to put his books down, and this one...
Published on September 10, 2006 by B. Hicks


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, disturbing horror thriller by a master, August 4, 2006
Angela is a college freshman who has found herself in the center of a growing racial tension on campus; Henry is a park ranger who has nightly visits from two very mysterious (and dangerous) young women; Jolene is a mother starting a new life with her son, but who finds instead a mysterious mansion with disturbing secrets; Dennis is a young man who sets out to travel cross-country, but instead finds himself haunted by a horrifying tourist-trap. These four individuals are from different regions of the country, from different ethical/religious backgrounds...but they all have one thing in common: their lives are about to become a living hell.

"The Burning" is possibly Little's grandest novel, scope-wise. With so many main characters (half-way through the book, we are even re-introduced to FBI Agent Greg Rossister, who has made appearances in a couple previous Little novels), it'd be easy for the tale to fall off-track (ignore the train pun). But it doesn't. Bentley Little is usually not into subtlety; if he wants to scare you, he doesn't dilly-dally around--he goes right out and scares your socks off. "The Burning" is more about atmosphere. Granted, there are gross-out moments, genuine shockers that even Stephen King would be hard-pressed to create. But the best thing about "The Burning" is its tension, the way it steadily builds; just when you think things can't get any worse, they do. And again, and again. This is yet another terrifying horror novel by the master of the macabre.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not his best, September 10, 2006
By 
B. Hicks "HorrorLuvr" (Goodyear, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I love Bentley Little's books and his way of turning rather innocuous things into sinister devices of evil. Great examples are a store, a homeowners association, an insurance policy, a town... this book however seemed to lose some of that idea. While I liked it, I felt that it had a bit of a preachy quality to it. Normally I'm unable to put his books down, and this one took me a few sittings to read. I recommend "The Store" if you haven't yet read a Little book. That is, by far, my favorite of his novels.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something different..., May 23, 2006
This review is from: The Burning (The Companion Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
I bought this book despite the bad reviews. I had read Susan Squires previous books in this series and had a hard time believing that this one was as bad as some said.

I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed the book, maybe because I had some warning that it wasn't a warm, fuzzy feel good romance. Honestly, I enjoyed the darker element. Lately, I've been bored with the same 'ol, same 'ol "boy meets girl, boy can't have girl, boy gets girl anyway" historical romance.

I've read most (if not all) of the major historical romance writers and a number of the minor writers. I've also read a number of the supernatural romance ficition out there and can tell you, a lot of it is just bad.

In this, the writing was good, the characters well developed and the story something interesting. It's not the next great American novel but I wasn't expecting it to be. It was an easy read on a 3 hour flight. Like I said, if you like your romance a little darker, a little edgier then you might want to go ahead and give this a try.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the author's best thus far, August 30, 2006
By 
Keith J. Kraemer (Sheboygan, WI, USA) - See all my reviews
When first starting to read this book, the formula seemed very different from most Bentley Little stories. It began by telling the tales of 4 seemingly unrelated individuals in completely different locations, experiencing seemingly unrelated supernatural phenomenon. This lead me to believe I was in for a plot similar to The House; a book that would veer from the author's standard fare of social and political horror, dealing instead with more mainstream frights. Near the novel's mid-point, however, I was definitely proved wrong.

Any reader familiar with Little's style will know that he has a knack for taking seemingly normal entities and turning them into something frightening. Whether dealing with corporations or social entities, Little turns them into something massive, mysterious, and consuming.

Before long, it becomes apparent that the "entity" being tackled in this book is the human emotion of racism and hatred. Human bigotry is transformed, via Little's supernatural touch, into a frightening, phyiscally destructive force that operates on a grand scale.

Little has a way of walking a fine line between offensive political opinion and horrifying entertainment. Each of his novels is as much an observation of society as it is a supernatural tale. In this book, he manages to push the envelope further than he ever has in the past, but any fan of the author's "thinking person's" style of horror should be able to appreciate the approach he uses here.

I strongly disagree with many of the reviewers opinions of this book's ending. I felt that the climax of this book was everything I've been wanting Bentley Little to write. His resolution here goes far beyond the simplistic endings he's written in the recent past. I give this book 5 stars. My only complaint is that it wasn't a hundred pages longer.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bentley is "the best"!, August 13, 2006
By 
Paul Legerski (Corona, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Stephen King crowned him thus in an ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY column a few months back.

Been a follower of Little's since day 1 and am glad to see him deliver such a timely on-topic novel of horror after his fantastic DISPATCH.

This novel is grand in scope...with characters from at least 3 previous books making appearances..one who is from THE SUMMONING gets a pretty big role and we will probably see him soon in another Little offerning.

Terrifying at times, well written and believable characters.

This is why "BENTLEY LITTLE IS THE BEST HORROR NOVELIST" running right now.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Entertaining, September 5, 2006
By 
Desert (Vancouver, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Burning (The Companion Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
Stephen was trying to right wrongs that he felt responsible for and was willing to do whatever it would take to find redemtion. Ann was cursed with the sight from touch, who made the ultimate sacrafice for love. This was not your average romance story but it does keep you on the edge.

I was thoroughly entertained and I couldn't wait to get to the end of the book. I actually read it in one day. There were some dark parts that not everyone will like, and the author has a differnt take on the vampire genre which was refreshing. This was the first book of Susan Squires that I read and it will definitely not be my last.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't we all just get along? Apparently not., February 20, 2007
By 
Little's latest focuses on four main characters, college freshman Angela Ramos, park ranger Henry Cote, California divorcee Jolene, and Dennis Chen, a young man who has just set out on a trip to explore America. This diverse quartet finds themselves at various hot points across the United States as the consequences of a decades old Chinese curse begin to reveal themselves, threatening to tear apart the very social fabric of the United States.

A tale of past misdeeds haunting the present, The Burning is vintage Little, a horror novel that examines larger social issues while scaring the pants off its audience. This time out, Little focuses on racial prejudice and hatred, pointing out how they lurk just beneath the surface of everyday American life, awaiting the smallest of sparks to ignite a larger conflagration.

Although the novel shows sentimentality that Little does not often reveal, particularly during the book's final chapters, the book never fails to thrill, even at its quietest moments. It's during these moments that Little sets you up for bigger scares, all of which are quite effective. The fact that the book might make you think about your attitudes and beliefs is an added bonus.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If Only "The Burning" Would Go Away With Ointment, October 17, 2006
Last week I finished the latest Bentley Little book known as "The Burning" and there are a couple of things you can expect from a Bentley Little book. The first of which is there has to be something small and shriveled and dwarfish that terrorizes someone in the story. In this case the small and shriveled thing is apparently something that looks like Yoda that is terrorizing Jolene and her son Skyler who have moved back to Bear Flats California where she was born.

There is a back-story of an abusive husband and an alcoholic mother that really has no purpose in the story at all. Also, apparently dwarves are supposed to be scary creatures and they always appear in Bentley Little books in one form or another. I think at one point he must have been terrorized by the Rumpelstiltzkin fairy tale and it has scarred him for life. Either that or it was the Oompa Loompa guys. Either way to me, people of small stature are not scary.

Secondly, in a Bentley Little book, there has to be the intimation of decadence or taboo sex usually with some form of supernatural being. In this book it is by two very sexy Asian twins who seduce Henry, a park ranger who lives in Canyon lands National Park, Utah. He is seen many times in the book having sex in the dark in public places with the ghosts that become more substantial each time he has relations with them. Following the compulsive act he usually feels guilty. File this under "when double mint twins go bad."

Third there has to be bad behavior and gore. This time around the bad behavior happens to the college kids around Angela Ramos in Flagstaff Arizona. The way it goes down is that many dead and mummified bodies are found in caves underneath the city and the bodies pass along a kind of black fungus or something that makes everyone racist and lynch happy. Her hippie and gay roommates who are clearly much more enlightened than other humans on the planet earth suddenly become bigoted hate mongers due to t he spread of the black fungus.

The source of all this strange activity is connected to the successful completion of the railroad tracks that span America. Dennis Chen is an Asian American who travels across country and is invited to get aboard the train and take it to its destination. I will not give away or spoil the ending, only to say that it spoils itself.

I keep hoping for redemption but the last couple of Little books have been disappointing and anyone who even begins to compare him to Stephen King is like trying to compare a convenience store to a department store. Little being the convenience store in this analogy. What works with King is that there is good build up, we become emotionally involved with the characters and the scary parts of the book rise with the tide of it.

I guess I also just didn't buy this supernatural train desecrating graveyards, or as to why this black moss like substance made people back into racists again. I would think it would simply consume them as they themselves had been consumed. And I didn't believe the part where a police investigation under Flagstaff would allow an archeological dig only a day or two after the authorities began their investigation.

Ironically, I watched Desperation the TV show at around the same time as I read this book and Desperation, though not dealing with the "scope" of what was going on in the China Hole, the story was richer and more unsettling than the Little book. I maintain that I really can't believe this guy is still getting a decent return for the books he writes. I am seriously considering not buying the next book retail at least. It just isn't worth it.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You Can Rape The Willing, April 20, 2006
This review is from: The Burning (The Companion Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
Very disturbing book--on several counts. The flash backs in her other books orovided insight into the characters--how Beatrix had almost reached the point of no return, how Ian became a vampire, and why the poor guy needed counseling. All the flashbacks in this book provided was the fact that Stephan is a "bottom" without enough preservation to have a stopping point. I liked Ann, and I liked Stephan--in spite of the fact that he's an idiot. I wish Squires had spent more time on why someone who has lived for over 2000 years is too self-destructive to realize the so-called good guys are doing a head game on him. Ann figured it out and she's been in an isolated area for 25 years. I also wanted more on Stephan's past--she dropped just enough hints to be annoying. On the whole, I thought two potentially good characters were wasted on nasty, destructive rape scenes.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!, April 13, 2006
By 
S. Miller "avidreader" (Cedar Park, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Burning (The Companion Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read many (too many) historical romances in my time, and I very much enjoy a well written "sex" scene. I actually threw this book down in disgust, about 100 pages before the end, because I knew EXACTLY what was coming next: a repeat of the same tired old sex scenes for the sake of more sex scenes.

No decent plot, not one iota of believable storyline...I threw this book in the trash can...and it was new.
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The Burning (The Companion Series)
The Burning (The Companion Series) by Susan Squires (Mass Market Paperback - April 4, 2006)
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