Book Review Bram Stoker Ghost story Horror fiction

THE HAUNTED

The Haunted is my first novel by Bentley Little. Stephen King describes him as ‘the horror poet laureate,’ and The Haunted was a nominee for a Bram Stroker award. Because of this, I expected more. It was a peculiar mixture of ghost and possession horror tropes with some psychosomatic effects (anal sex and self-harm) and entirely predictable.

It was a stretch to accept the husband’s reasons for staying in the house and accepting his death when the rest of the family had high-tailed it to the in-laws. The death of the father-in-law and husband didn’t have an emotional impact, making the ending anti-climactic.

The story is told from multiple perspectives from the Perry family of husband and wife and two children. The last chapter is told from the son’s perspective when I felt the wife needed to convey the loss and sadness. I think that may have deprived the emotional punch it needed for the horror to matter.

Paranormal or supernatural horror is an expansive sub-genre of horror. I like a good ghost story because of the haunting and demonic possession phenomenon. While teaching English in a secondary school, I looked forward to re-reading Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. For me, it’s a memorable read because of a series of mysterious sounds. The rocking chair in the nursery and the eerie sound of a pony and trap, in particular.

Sadly, The Haunted by Bentley Little isn’t a memorable read, but with his writing and reputation, he deserves a second chance.

LINKS
Bram Stoker Awards

Free excerpt from The Haunting