Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Vanishing…

The Vanishing by Bentley Little

Signet, New York, 2007

386 pages.

ISBN: 978-0-451-22185-8

The Vanishing by Bentley Little is a horror novel about strange happenings in California, such as serial killings and creature-children. Throughout the book, Carrie, a social worker, and Brian, a reporter, venture out to determine what exactly is happening… and why.

The book begins by describing seemingly different and unrelated characters and events. Brian, a reporter, is involved in the storyline of wealthy CEOs apparently going off the deep end and brutally killing their families and loved ones. Carrie, a social worker, is involved in the storyline of deformed children in California who are also being killed, such as a Rhino-Boy and a Llama-Boy. There is a line in the book that says "He has the face of a llama." He really does. He is part llama, part boy. Little doesn't let in on why this is happening until the middle of the book, when he introduces a new storyline, starring James Marshall, which is set in the 1840s during the California gold rush.

Brian discovers that his father, who abandoned his family, is a part of the wealthy serial killers. He also discovers that each killer exhibits similar physical qualities, which resemble some sort of animal. He receives a letter that he assumes is from his father that is written in a hieroglyphic-like code. While he attempts to decipher this code, he meets Carrie, who is also attempting to put pieces of this mysterious puzzle together while being haunted with nightmares of the creature-children in her cases.

Horror fans will most likely enjoy this book as it displays the classic characteristics of the Horror genre, such as monsters and creatures framing the story, rich descriptions of settings and characters, and the protagonists' (Brian and Carrie) being haunted, shattered individuals.

For me, the title of the book was appropriate after reading the book… I returned it to the library and felt good to have it "vanish" into the book drop. There is an abundance of graphic language, violence, and sex in this novel. I'm not sensitive to these characteristics, but much of the time, the graphic descriptions were unnecessary, adding little to the actual story.

If you're a horror fan, if you enjoy …unique stories, and if you can follow multiple storylines until the middle to the end of a novel, this book is for you.


SLIS Guy said...

I've only tried one Bentley Little novel (The Association), but I also felt that most of what went on was gratuitous. Almost as if he set out to be a more literary writer about rich people with a Stephen King style. For me personally, King can be an enjoyable writer, but he can also rely heavily on gross-out factors in the text. In the end, Little's book wasn't worth keeping for me, and I sold it to a used bookstore feeling that I'd wasted an afternoon of my life.

Andrea Japzon said...

I think this is the first horror horror books that anyone read for the class. Thanks for slogging through it.