Christina M. Hinke



The Burning

Reviewed by Christina M. Hinke
Publishers Weekly
June 5, 2006
"The Burning." By Bentley Little. Signet, $7.99 (400p) ISBN 0-451-21914-7

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.)

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