Tuesday, June 5, 2012

review: the haunted by bentley little

Remember the Friends episode where they put The Shining (and then Little Women) in the freezer?  If I didn't fear damaging my iPod, I would've put the audio version of The Haunted in the freezer.  This was one creepy book, especially as I listened to it during my commute which is frequently in the overnight hours.  Usually a lot of the things that scare the characters can be explained away or might be the result of their own imagination (as teenaged Megan sometimes wondered herself), but Bentley Little makes clear that everything happening really is supernatural.  For example, Megan's text messages could've been intended for someone else (I can't even begin to count the number of times I've gotten a weird message that clearly was for someone else) until the messages start including her name. 

The Haunted starts out mundanely with the Perry family seeing their current neighborhood declining and deciding that the recession is a good time to buy since their income has been steady.  They look at a number of houses and narrow it to two, but the real estate agent insists she knows what house belongs to a family and shows them another option.  The house seems perfect, so they buy it.  But almost immediately unexplained things start happening like the laundry basket being in a different location and each individual has an unsettling feeling.  However, each writes it off and says nothing to the others until it is far too late and the supernatural entity is really making its presence known.

I did note a few discrepancies within the plot.  There were some minor bits regarding telephone technology/availability in the flashback scenes, but then there was a more major issue regarding the entity and how it gets its power (to say more would be a spoiler).  Despite those parts, I was enthralled by The Haunted.

About the narrator:  He definitely helped create a creepy sensation, but Dan Butler was not a perfect reader.  He did little to distinguish between the characters which made it difficult at times to know who was talking, especially amongst Megan's friends.  He also oddly pronounced a few words, such as variations of "settle."  Each time he did, it took me out of the narrative a bit.
Review copy provided by the publisher, AudioGO.


  1. Thank you so much for reviewing The Haunted by Bentley Little. You can buy direct from AudioGO at: http://www.audiogo.com/us/the-haunted/
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  2. Interesting take. I personally found the scary bits cliched and right out of Poltergeist. What I really couldn't get over was the family's resistance to moving until (spoiler) the evil entity was vanquished, and then they moved. Also, the cool element about the other dead child, which wound up going nowhere. I've read Little a couple of times (also Dominion) and not liked either novel by the end, but he crafts enough mysterious weirdness in the early pages to get me to read it, so good for him.