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The Store Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1998

159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Bentley Little is a top craftsman of the horror tale in long form. He has the ability, more unusual than you might think, to imagine 300 to 400 pages' worth of horrific incidents that add up to a long-lasting and powerfully unsettling mood. In The Store Little examines the steadily expanding influence, over all of us, of chain stores. Listen to what one character says: "A lot of these loonies ... are so worried about the federal government, and I never saw a government agency that worked worth a damn. These guys're so afraid of Big Brother and creeping totalitarianism, but our government's always seemed to me to be full of inept bunglers, not brilliant organized master planners. Hell, they couldn't even pull off a third-rate burglary. It's the corporations we have to worry about, I think. They're the ones with the money. They're the ones who can afford to hire the best and the brightest, to competently carry out their plans."

The Store builds paranoia by starting with simple descriptions of the picturesque landscape and the deceptively banal Western town that is Juniper, Arizona. Then The Store arrives. The Store razes a lovely hill to build its huge parking lot. The Store offers well-paying jobs and an astonishing variety of consumer goods. The pattern of delight and worry in the citizens, as The Store spreads its tentacles into local concerns, is believable--disturbingly so. The Store seems like any other of the familiar chains that reproduce like rabbits, invade communities, wipe out small businesses, and turn unique localities into a generic America that looks just the same from Alaska to Florida.

But what exactly goes on, when Samantha and Shannon meet with their boss in the basement of The Store? And who are the Night Managers?

This is dystopia in microcosm. This is horror fiction at its subversive best. --Fiona Webster


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; paperback edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451192192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451192196
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on July 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Bill Davis is a regular guy who works from home. He's well settled into the small town life of Juniper, Arizona with his wife Ginny and two teenage daughters Samantha and Shannon. Life is good.

Then, while jogging, he sees a new sign announcing the arrival of The Store, and their intentions to build on a beautiful meadow outside of town, along Bill's jogging route. This immediately disgruntles Bill, but when he starts to find dead animals and even a dead hobo on The Store's grounds, his disgruntlement turns to a creeping fear.

The Store plows into town, overriding building and zoning codes and paying off the city's politicians for favors, promising jobs and prosperity in return. It soon becomes evident to Bill and his friends Ben and Street that The Store wants more than just the town's business; it wants the town itself.

The spookiest characters of the story are the Night Managers, though The Store is closed at night. These strange, black clad Managers prowl The Store at night as the lights flicker on and off. During the day, the employees are forced into cult-like obedience, and the shelves restocked with only Store items as one-by-one the local businesses are shut down.

Juniper becomes a ghost town. But when the entire city council resigns and are found dead in the parking lot of The Store, and Store Managers are appointed to City Government after The Store has already taken over Parks, Police, and Fire, Bill and his friends have seen enough.

Bill, Ben, and Street set out to try and restore their small town, but The Store is not easily fought. It's roots are everywhere, it's contacts cemented by previous court decisions, and to say no to The Store can be fatal.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Russ on June 24, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have found that there are two styles of writing for Bentley Little. There is the regular horror writing style and then there is the outrageous, macabre style. This is the latter. Much like "The Resort", this one will blow your mind. The outrageousness of it is almost snuck in between normal activity in the book. You then find yourself turning back to see if that was what you really read. It was. Trust me.

I gave the book 4 stars. It is by no means a masterpiece, but it is entertaining and that is why we read Little, to be entertained. If I was to go into to any detail, it would give away the story. So, read it for yourself and you be the judge!

I might suggest reading something like "The Resort", "The Policy", "The Collection". Those will give new Little readers a glimpse of what to expect. Enjoy!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was a little wary of this novel at first, because at first it sounded like a copy of Stephen King's "Needful Things". However, it was NOTHING like Needful Things, and had a premise that was just as compelling. It sounds almost hokey to say that the story is about a chain of stores that takes over small, economically-privileged towns in a way that's beyond sinister, but that is indeed the story. I was disdainful at first, but the more I read, the more "into it" I got. Yes, it seems a little far-fetched at times, but is it really? That's what I kept asking myself, along with, "Could this really happen? Can I envision this happening in the future, if things keep going the way they are in this country?" With super-chains like Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble putting just about every small business OUT of business - and the way we allow it to happen - the things that happen in this book are really NOT that far-fetched. Bentley Little doesn't try to impress with intense prose or complex storylines, either. It's simple, to the point, and very well-written. The guy knows how to tell a story! I highly, highly recommend this book. It's a fun and creepy read that also gives you something to think about.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on July 15, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bentley Little was an enigma to me until a few weeks ago, when I thumbed through a few of his novels at the local bookshop. Despite the name association I made with the neighbor from "The Jeffersons," the books looked interesting and I decided to take a crack at a few of them. "The Store" is the first one I decided to read and I am glad I did. What caught my eye were the somewhat cheesy cover and the hilarious description on the back cover. As I read the book, I discovered that the humor goes well beyond skin deep.
What surprises me about many of the reviews here is that they miss the biggest point of the story, namely, the humor. This is a wildly funny book. I alternated between chuckles, guffaws, snickers, giggles, hoots, bellows, knee slapping, gut busting, and roaring laughter with this gem of a novel. At first, I wondered if the book is supposed to be funny. I quickly decided that it is supposed to induce laughter. What Bentley Little is writing here is black comedy and satire on an epic scale. One event after another brought me to tears. There are horrific elements here, several which are decidedly unfunny. But overall, this book is the height of amusement. You know a book is good when you laugh out loud later, at weird times and places because you're thinking about the book. You learn to ignore the stares. It's difficult to explain what is funny in a short review. It is the cumulative effect The Store has on Juniper that brings out the chortles.
"The Store" takes place in Juniper, Arizona. Juniper is a podunk town out in the boonies. People have to drive to Flagstaff or Phoenix to visit a mall or a discount retailer. All of that changes when The Store arrives. The Store is a national discount chain, along the lines of Wal-Mart or Kmart.
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