A Promising Talent
The American Bentley Little is a highly promising writer of horror fiction who, if you have not read him, you have probably never heard of before. His name is not exactly a matter of public dispute despite earning the Bram Stoker Award for his first novel and even being appraised by Stephen King. Why? He is a man who keeps to himself and does not meddle too much with the media.
The author was born in Arizona and attended California State University for his Bachelor’s in Communications along with a master’s in English and Literature. The most interesting part about his educational career is that the first novel he ever published was in fact the thesis for his master’s degree. With the same book, he also earned the nickname “a master of the macabre”.
Cemetery Dance and Some Others
After the initial success of his debut, Bentley Little went on to write short fiction for horror-dominated literary magazines. The most eye-catching magazine that he worked with was the “Cemetery Dance” which was founded and run by Richard Chizmar. That magazine would be where he published his first novels including The Janitor, The Sanctuary, and The Mailman which is actually included in this article.
Best Bentley Little Books
|The Store||9.42/10||428 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|The Haunted||8.74/10||400 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|The Association||9.54/10||452 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|The House||8.98/10||372 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|The Collection||9.62/10||432 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
We are starting our search for the best Bentley Little book with a classic of his, The Store. The horror elements the author uses in this one are supernatural and paranormal. In other words, there is a being beyond the average human’s comprehension. It also takes place in an isolated, desert town located in the author’s birth state Arizona.
In the town of Juniper Town which has never been even scribed on a map, is one of the biggest retail centers in the World. It is conveniently named The Store and it is a place where you can find anything you can think of for just a little more than nothing. That is, in terms of money of course. There is something wrong with The Store, and the protagonist Bill Davis knows his two daughters working there are in trouble.
Business Competition and Consumerism
This piece is an exceptionally creepy and entertaining one. The author takes into hand the matter of injustice when it comes to business competition as well as the effects of our day’s consumerist culture on us. Still, it is not just the trope of how a concept in our world was actually an eldritch monster, Bentley succeeds in giving the feeling that The Store is a real evil being and that it is a major threat.
Second in the article, I will go over one of the most popular books by Bentley Little that is The Haunted. It is a classic haunted house story including a small, innocent, and sweet family as usual. There are some elements that add a lot of originality and enjoyment to the book though, so keep on reading. Before we get into the plot I also want to say that this is a piece with none of Little’s humor that we’re used to.
The Perry family has had enough with their bad neighborhoods, especially the skater kids using their parking space without permission. Taking a somewhat big loan, they move to their current place with weird neighbors and a bad smell. They are not alone in the house as you can guess, and whatever else is in there with them is not exactly all rainbows and sunshine. What follows is a tale filled with abuse, manipulation, doubt, and fear that affects everyone involved.
Dark and Bleak
I do not think there is really a word for it but there are certain horror books that just make you want to watch a wall for a while. The Haunted is one of them. It is as dark and bleak as it gets with a lot of triggering material both for a person and a family. This, along with the proficiently used language and the seemingly effortless shifts in the narrative makes it one of the best Bentley Little books.
One of the best selling Bentley Little books, The Association is about a dystopian company promising people a dream life. The concept is very simple; there are enclosed areas occupied by the company named The Association that serves as optimal living complexes. The Association will choose your home, job, friends, and basically your life so you do not have to! But be aware that they are watching you and they do not want to see you doing anything without authorization.
The couple Barry and Maureen finally live in their dream home thanks to The Association. They love the enclosed neighborhood of Bonita Vista that they are a part of. Yet, soon after the couple’s mailbox is bombarded with all kinds of warnings and penalties for violating the “Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions”. No matter how many regulations they comply with without complaint, more and more just seem to appear out of thin air.
Satirical yet Terrifying
This is definitely a more satirical piece than it is a scary one. This is not to say it is not horrifying though, you are faced with the absurd terror of the situation as soon as you can put yourself in the place of the main characters. This book is not really a fan favorite with the fans claiming it is “dumb” but it definitely works for me. The concept might be silly but Little takes it all the way to create a decent story.
Next up in this Bentley Little book list we have a ghost story, The House. It also has an interesting history with Stephen King. King, a writer who much rather prefers reading a good book to the boring things that take his time all day would carry a book wherever he went. And it was this exact book that he was carrying with him when he was notoriously hit by a van. The book was found covered in blood.
Imagine a Victorian haunted house that exists in five different places all over the United States. More so, with five different families living in them and all having a child at around the same time. The children, now all grown up and with a very poor memory of their childhood suddenly face major inconveniences in their lives that ultimately lead them to their perspective versions of the house. When all do so, the house brings them all together and turns into their prison.
The House is honestly one of the most original horror books that I have read this year. It both gives off classic 20th-century horror fiction and fiction-based philosophy story vibes. The House just fails to impress despite its originality though, especially for a reader like me wanting to find the best Bentley Little book. It is simply not scary. Sure, the concept is creepy to think about but as a reader, I was not invested in the characters’ childhoods enough.
Halfway through the article, we have one of the best rated books by Bentley Little named The Collection. It is a conveniently named collection consisting of thirty-two masterfully written short stories. The plots are absolutely out of the ordinary which is something unexpected from a novelist’s short-story collection. I could not even think of a similar story for some of them.
I have noticed there are a few specific concepts that repeatedly appear in the book. Obsession for example is handled in a story about a dad who is just excessively held up on recycling anything he can, and a story where a guy thinks about numbers for so long that they become the only thing he can think about.
“Not for the Faint of Heart”
There is not much I can say about this book without giving away the stories but I will just state one thing, and it is that these stories are not for everyone. Although diluted by his wit and irony, Little meddles with some very sensitive subjects. I found myself getting disturbed with more than one or two of the stories because the sensitive subjects that I said above are treated as ordinary, no-hassle things.
Next up in the article we have another one of the top rated books of Bentley Little, The Mailman. It is a piece of weird fiction among the author’s ridiculous works that border the line of the same genre. I think the credit for that goes to the book being one of the author’s earlier works with it being his second-ever book that was published in nineteen-ninety-one.
The story picks up at the beginning of a summer in a suburban, close-knit American town. There is the young boy Billy, his school teacher dad, and his beautiful nonchalant mother. There is also the ginger mailman with his always smiling face and a heart full of evil. Little by little, the small inconveniences Billy faces thanks to this red-haired postal carrier lead him to his hilarious and disturbing demise.
Confidence of a Classic
Despite being written very early into his career I think The Mailman can be considered the best Bentley Little novel that I have gone over in this article yet. The plot is yet another highly original one from the author that reads with the confidence of a classic horror trope. The tension slowly builds up as you get introduced to the genius of the author page by page.
The next piece in our Bentley Little book reviews list is another work of weird fiction, The Resort. The novelist seems to have sparred no expenses in this piece in terms of the disturbing ideas he could use. There are also a lot of instances of sexual moments mostly used for the needed horror. The author uses this kind of thing in his other books too but I found them much more reoccurring in this one.
The Thurmans were just an ordinary family looking to spend a nice week, just relaxing. They wanted to get in on the low off-season prices of holiday centers and so, they booked a five-week stay at a budget-friendly and promising resort. Yet the peace of their vacation is ruined not just by one or two people but by practically everyone at the resort being off the hinges kind of crazy.
Lacking a Grounding Point
I do not want to say this but in my opinion, The Resort fails to give its readers what they need. The book does not have a grounding point -which is usually a reflection of our world and the struggles within it- that would tie all the chaos and horror together and bring them closer to reality. Because of this, the story just feels like an insufferable fever dream. I would not dare say this is one of the best Bentley Little novels.
Nearing the end of our Bentley Little books ranked list, I will give you a small review of the ignored masterpiece The Ignored. Bentley is the kind of author who likes to take things slow. He knows that the best kind of horror is one that creeps up half-recognizable and he aims to stay on that level. His other works have some small stale chapters because of faulty execution of this but The Ignored does it flawlessly.
The book is the story of a man named Bob Jones who can not seem to get people to notice him. He has a decent-paying job, a nice house, and a pretty girlfriend but he is never paid attention to or remembered by anyone. However, the tables turn when Bob becomes seen out of nowhere. He is just like everybody else now and most importantly, he now has the power to get revenge.
The Ignored comes off to me as kind of a Kafkaesque horror story. The reality of the world the author creates is so disrupted that I did, and you will too, root for a person who would be considered a psychopath by our world’s standards. It is definitely among the best books by Bentley Little and I would especially recommend it to people who read him once or twice but were unsatisfied.
In The Handyman which is his latest book, Bentley Little plays around with the concept of an innocent-looking or perhaps truly innocent man being responsible for horrible things. And you probably have an idea by now of how literal I am when I use the word “horrible” when it comes to Bentley Little.
When Daniel’s parents want a pre-fabricated summer home, they resort to hiring their neighbor Frank to do so. Professional companies are just ten times more costly and Frank has a knack for these things anyways. It all turns out to be fine in the end when they finally get their home but it does not take long for them to be riddled with a series of horrid events.
Flashbacks and Memories
In the second part of the book, Daniel who is now a grown-up will discover a connection between the handyman Frank and the thing his customers go through after hiring him. This makes Bentley Little’s new book a pretty decent story that takes its horror mainly from the past doings of Frank with the help of flashbacks and memory narrations.
The last one of the Bentley Little books I have in order is another story of a man trying to manage his life in the grasp of supernatural evil named The Policy. We have seen this concept being used in The Association and The Store, both of which we talked about above but I think this piece gets the medal for being the best one among them all.
The story overall is one of frustration and despair. Hunt Jackson is freshly back in his childhood city of Tuscon and he sets up a pretty good life for himself. With a pretty good life though, you need a pretty good insurance agency to ensure it will last. Hunt manages to find an insurance agent so good that he even gets an offer for being accused of a crime he didn’t commit! Yet, things get warped when he tries to deny him eventually.
Deal With an Insurance Devil
This piece might be the best Bentley Little novel revolving around suburban life. It is a highly original idea as well. I mean, we have all read countless stories about evil intended entities working through deals but have you ever thought of one that deals through insurance? It was even thought-provoking for me. You would deal with a devil to be rich or famous in the old days, now you need one just for sustenance!
Bentley Little is a star of our times. Most horror writers will deal with concepts from the past and the best of them are from the past anyways. Bentley though is of our time and he deals with concepts that we are familiar with from our daily lives. Besides this plot creation preference that makes him unique, he is also highly experimental when it comes to narrative and the choice of characters.
Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)