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The Burning Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2006

3.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the new book by Bram Stoker Award–winner Little (Dispatch), strangers across the U.S. are each pursued by different supernatural forces as they fall into the path of a ghost train rumbling into the present day from a dark chapter in American history. Switching among characters—college freshman Angela Ramos in Flagstaff, Ariz.; divorced park ranger Henry Cote in Canyonlands National Park, Utah; Jolene, fleeing her husband to Bear Flats, Calif., with eight-year-old Skyler in tow; and Dennis Chen, on his first cross-country road trip—Little turns the screws bit by bit, bringing his unfortunate charges face to face with multiple terrors, including haunted houses, mummified zombies, a pair of succubi and a room full of jarred human body parts. The novel draws from historical record and modern-day hot-button topics, bringing to bear immigration issues from the time of the Transcontinental Railroad to the present. Readers might tire of the revolving door structure—characters switch off on a per-chapter basis—before the stories converge in northern Utah, and might find the multiple strands a bit overstuffed and under-scary; still, this novel offers Steven King–size epic horror for those with the patience for it. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

[Little] is on par with such greats as Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Peter Straub. -- Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451219147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451219145
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By DanD VINE VOICE on August 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bentley is back in fine form and in third person again (thankfully) for his latest opus. This story has a ghost train, animated corpses, an obnoxious black mold... all the essential ingredients for fine icky bug.

Besides the horror aspects of the story, and maybe influenced by his Chinese wife, he tells a tale of atrocities that most assuredly occurred to the immigrant Chinese workers brought in during the height of the gold rush to build our railroads, and to do the work that nobody else would do. Well... part of it is that the "robber barons" that built this country didn't want to pay a decent wage to an American worker so they imported the Chinese who would work for peanuts. This caused resentment and fueled the natural bigotry many white settlers already had to begin with. So, it is reasonable to assume and maybe even historical fact that at least some atrocities were done to the Chinese immigrants. He plays that up as the main premise for the story and does it well.

Some people have complained that he dedicates each chapter to a different character and they more or less converge at the end of the story. I personally think it worked out just fine and I had no problems with the way it turned out.

This is great icky bug and highly recommended!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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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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