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