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The Store
     

The Store

3.6 46
by Bentley Little
 

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Juniper, Arizona, is an off-the-map desert town the retail giant called The Store has chosen for its new location. Now everything you could possibly want is under one roof, at unbelievable prices. But you'd better be careful what you wish for. This place demands something of its customes that goes beyond brand loyalty. At The Store, one-stop shopping

Overview

Juniper, Arizona, is an off-the-map desert town the retail giant called The Store has chosen for its new location. Now everything you could possibly want is under one roof, at unbelievable prices. But you'd better be careful what you wish for. This place demands something of its customes that goes beyond brand loyalty. At The Store, one-stop shopping has become last-stop shopping.

Bill Davis is the only one in town who senses the evil lurking within The Store. But he can't stop his two teenage daughters from taking jobs there and falling under the frightening influence of its sadistic manager. When Bill finally takes a stand, he will get much more than he bargained for.

At a terrifying cost....

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Last year Bentley Little topped our "Best of 1997" list with his tour de force THE IGNORED, a remarkable blend of satire, dark fantasy, social commentary, and outright horror — a difficult act to follow, without question. But with THE STORE he has risen to the occasion; it's a novel that though perhaps not quite as ambitious as THE IGNORED is every bit as terrifying and satisfying. With this book, Bentley Little has solidified his place at the very top of the horror genre.

As the novel begins, Bill Davis, the likable protagonist, is a happily married telecommuter who is looking to make a little spare cash to help his two teenage daughters enjoy their summer. Enter The Store: a nationwide chain of Wal-Mart-like shopping centers that only sets up branches in small towns. The Store has come to take up residence in Bill's nature-loving home of Juniper, Arizona, with promises of low prices and everything any shopper could possibly want under one roof — an idea that has the little town buzzing with excitement. But a hidden menace comes with it. Dead animals and ominous accidents that surround the construction site of The Store-to-be should have tipped off the town's residents, but the lure of all that potential extra income flooding into the town goes a long way toward closing their eyes to the warning signs. It's always those things you welcome with open arms that can hurt you the most, isn't it? And so a freakish nightmare beyond anyone's wildest imaginings gains a foothold in this quiet Arizona community.

Once The Store opens, it quickly becomes apparent that it notonlyplans on dominating the shopping scene, but also the local politics. Money talks in a small town, and The Store's deep pockets soon have the local police force, mayor, and school system under its belt. Small businesses unable to compete go belly-up by the handful, and as Juniper and its residents fall further under The Store's influence, with nowhere else to turn for what they need, the stock on the shelves begins to change. Firecrackers and M-80s placed on the very bottom shelf (for only a quarter apiece) at eye-level view for a child and child pornography videotapes conveniently placed where the local clergy can find them are just some of The Store's unorthodox business strategies. Bill Davies is appalled, but if anyone else is they're keeping it to themselves; The Store has become the focal point of the entire community — has in fact become the community — and its power in the town seems unimpeachable.

The novel really gets going when Bill's two daughters take jobs at The Store, against their father's wishes. At this point THE STORE rises to a level of stomach-churning horror that most modern horror novels don't even attempt. Becoming an employee of The Store requires an initiation that makes the worst frat hazing look like the Mickey Mouse Club. Many readers will undoubtedly find themselves deeply disturbed at how convincingly Little paints a portrait of groupthink mentality and the appeal of a cultlike, tight-knit community — one that makes The Store's employees willing to visit unspeakable evils upon anyone who threatens the business's livelihood. And if that threat is a member of an employee's family, it only makes the revenge that much more satisfying. The psychological violence here is mesmerizing.

Little generates horror that truly runs deep in the reader's veins by creating believable, well developed, and (most important) likable characters, and then taking us step by step through their gradual transformation into brainwashed, soulless members of The Store's team. It's a depressing journey to see characters you have been made to like commit the vilest of atrocities, and this is exactly what gives THE STORE — and all of Little's works, for that matter — its power. There is a sense of dread, of almost unbearable loathing that permeates THE STORE, and this brutal unpredictability raises Little's writing to a level that is at times far above his peers. Most novels quickly lay out who is good and who is evil; Bentley Little works under the premise — a realistic one — that people cannot be so easily categorized. The result is that as we read him we are forced to doubt ourselves, to wonder if we would have the strength or the foresight to act differently from his characters if we were put in the same situations.

The conclusion, in Little's typical manner, is ambiguous and not particularly comforting. THE STORE doesn't have quite the moral complexity of Little's last book, but that's not to say it is without weight. First and foremost it's a masterfully written, entertaining, and terrifying story; but beneath the surface it's also a brutally scathing look — taken to the ultimate extreme, of course — at the effect that corporate culture can have on a small town. Following up masterpieces such as THE IGNORED and THE MAILMAN, THE STORE is solid proof that Little may at this moment be horror fiction's premier author.

—Matt Schwartz

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451192196
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/1998
Edition description:
REISSUE
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
4.46(w) x 6.56(h) x 1.18(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Stephen King
A master of the macabre! -- Stephen King

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Store 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
wookietim More than 1 year ago
Little is one of those authors that lurks in the shadow of much more famous authors like Stephen King. He consistently churns out highly readable books that are intelligent and well written. This one even has more on it's mind than just scaring the reader... Let's face it, "The Store" is Wal-Mart (Or Target or any number of other similar types of stores) with it's basic creepiness turned up to 11. There are some little bits here and there that are Little's trademark burps though - little plot points that seem just tossed in at random and make no difference to the plot. But that problem is kept to a minimum in this book and therefore one cannot hold them against it. Highly recommended!
Pamela Byrd More than 1 year ago
Be warned about selling your soul to business. I think Little gave us soething to think about when we let big business rule our lives. Made me think twice about shopping at these monster stores, and start looking for the mom and pops to give my money to. A great read! I wonder when he will write something based on Facebook, and us giving up our privacy so easily today!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, I thought I was back at TARGET! Except for some of the crime that the Night Managers got away with, I would have sworn it was written about that retailer, "team members" and all! It was written in 1996? Seems like 2010! Bentley Little must be able to see into the crystal ball! If you work in mass market retail it will make think!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored this book and found it to be quite humorous. Bentley Little is my favorite thriller author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not waste your money! I cannot believe all the rave reviews! This is one of the worst books I have ever read! Has Bentley Little ever heard for editing? Beyond the grammatical mistakes in the book, it is rife with storyline errors. One chapter actually begins with the wife and the last paragraph has the daughter in the scene instead. And while the premise about big business is promising, his character Bill is arrogant and inconsistent. Again, i have never read anything this bad! 
bighairtexan More than 1 year ago
Bentley Little is probably my favorite horror/suspense writer... right up there w/ vintage Stephen King and RIchard Laymon. The Store is one of the best books I've read. As I was reading, it I kept nodding with recognition about the adverse effects a Walmart has on small businesses in the area. Of course this book takes it to the supernatural extremes, but doesn't lose sight of both the advantages and disadvantages the Big Box Stores have on a neighborhood. I used to (reluctantly) shop at Walmart from time to time. Not so much any more. I highly recommend this for suspense and horror fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't recall how I came across this but I bought it under Stephen King's stamp of approval  with a little uncertainty but it was surprisingly entertaining and addicting, a wonderfully creative take on the big box stores like Walmart with a King-esque macabre. I gave it to my dad to read after I did and he got through it in a couple of days. I consider this a hidden little gem if you like King.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Bentley Little and this is the book that started it all for me!! He takes ordinary everyday things and turns them sinister :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The concept was interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But please read the policy, its the best one by little and its not listed here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's not predictable until the very, very end. This kept me up late at night, fascinated by how a corporation takes over a small town whose manufacturing base has dried up. Little's characters are likeable and I enjoyed spending time with them. The book could have been longer, but Little does like to rush to the climax. I'd recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind adult themes in their horror.
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Lindsie More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, at first I wasnt sure about this book. I have read almost all of his others and this one I always kept in the back of my mind. However, now that I have read it I must say that I loved it! It definatly makes you think about the chain stores that are all over the country now. This book is origional, spooky, and well written! Bentley Little is one of the best horror writers around! I def. recomend this books to all fans!
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