Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Books: The Resort • Bentley Little

• Don't call for room service.

Genre: Horror
Released: September 2004
Verdict: &&1/2

I was on the verge of granting Bentley Little a sidebar tag until making a reservation at The Resort, where the guests, like the roaches, do check in, but often don't check out (sorry — I always loved the marketing of the Roach Motel). It's the third title I have read by Little (his latest, The Vanishing, just hit stores in August), who cooks up some interesting ideas in better novels such as The Ignored and Dispatch and demonstrates a consistent flair for dark comedy and the absurd. The Resort contains plenty of the latter but not so much the great idea part. About two-thirds of the way in, the story meanders and the ship is never righted, failing to reach a conclusion that satisfies on any level. The resort in question is The Reata, a luxury complex where guests find themselves amongst strange doings: The activities director recruits guests into games of basketball that end in bloodshed and severed limbs. A giant, sideways-leaping spider torments a magazine writer in his room, where he often hears the sounds of an all-night party or gunshots in an adjacent room that the staff tells him is empty. A teenager spots a golf driving range where women are tied to poles and pelted by iron shots. Although they realize things are amiss, the guests find themselves under a sort of hoodoo and are powerless to leave. The uninspired denouement sadly goes the clichéd and violent route. I'll give Little at least one more shot with The Store, a 1998 novel that takes discount store culture to new levels of evil and is now in development for a feature film.


David said...

Regarding your comments about Bentley, who is my favorite writer since I discovered him a few months ago, I strongly disagree. Read "The Ignored" or "Dispatch". I have read 13 books written by Bentley and his talent is under appreciated. Thanks for listening.

Jebb said...

I've actually read both of those -- you can get to my reviews by following the links in the above review. Both are much better stories than The Resort, which had enjoyable moments but just wasn't an overall success for me. Thanks for visiting.