The Store

( 42 )

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 ...

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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....

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451192196
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 4.46 (w) x 6.56 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bentley Little is always good - and this is one of his best

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    Great Read

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    A great read!!

    I absolutely adored this book and found it to be quite humorous. Bentley Little is my favorite thriller author!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    Makes you think

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Interesting....

    The concept was interesting

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    This is a good book

    But please read the policy, its the best one by little and its not listed here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Moss

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Great satire

    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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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    The "Walmartization" of small town America

    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.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book!

    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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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Too crazy

    This book was all over the place and is too similar to all his other books, he needs new ideas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2008

    Okay

    I was disappointed by this book compared to other books written by Bentley Little.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    Pretty creepy

    Costco, Walmart, Sam's Club or are they just another 'The Store'? This was a pretty creepy book in the sense that it portrayed what a lot of these giants are like today. It was written in 96', and though they may have existed back then, not to the extent that they do now, so that creeped me out the most. Good read, it'll definitely make you wonder who's behind those smoked two way mirrors at the corners of these stores!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2007

    This Book Will Stick WithYou!

    This isn't the kind of book that will scare you like a ghost story...It's just way too real!!!! I don't think I'll ever go to Wal-Mart again without looking over my shoulder. This book will stay with you and make you think. Makes you realize how complacent we are...how easily we give up. I HIGHLY recommend this and I can't wait to read more from Little.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    This is good???

    I read this based on a review/recommendation penned by Stephen King himself. If this is the top of the horror genre, then I must have missed something. I was very disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    Review Of The Store By Bentley Little

    The Store by Bentley Little is what every horror novel should aspire to. It is socially relevant. It is scary, very, very scary. It is readable, un-put-down-able, sexy, and a totally new concept in horror. The Store is the monster in this horror novel but not in the traditional sense. Could the monster it be Wal-Mart? Mr. Little says no in the introduction. I think that you should read it and decide. Let me be the first to say if this was just an anti-big box store book I would not be reviewing it. I wouldn¿t have even read it. No is much more than that by a long shot. It starts in the quaint little town of Juniper, Arizona. It is not a thriving town just an average town in the desert with limited job potential and normal family life. The streets are lined with mom and pop grocery stores, hardware stores and like any town an assortment of small retail stores which serve the communities needs. But something is changing in Juniper, something that will affect every one of the residents. A retail giant simply called 'The Store' has chosen Juniper as a location for its newest store. It seems too good to be true at first. The prices are so low that everyone can afford things they never dreamed they could buy. In addition, there are jobs galore for anyone and everyone, especially the young teenagers in the town. The new employees have to wear the official store uniforms. Not too much of a sacrifice, after all you work for The Store and uniforms are common. It is a little uncommon that you have to take off all your cloths in front of The Store¿s Personnel Director and put on your uniforms in front of him, but policy is policy. It is not too much to ask is it? Is it that unusual to be called into meeting with him and not be allowed to talk about it to you friends or parents? After all you got a promotion out of it. The Store asks more and more of its employees. But they want to keep their jobs. Then there are also those very strange `Night Managers¿. You sure don¿t want to get them mad. No, that is just not a good idea. People leave town or something after they have to deal with the Night Managers, not a good idea to anger them. The Store offers more and more goods for everyone. The other stores in the town start to close one by one. It wasn¿t too bad when the local clothing store fails. You could buy all your clothes in The Store for less. Hardware appears in the isles of The Store and good bye local counterpart. Everything you could possibly want is under one roof at unbeatable prices. Even when citizens try to rebel they find the laws have been changed by the local politicians to protect The Store. Worse is to come because The Store out sources the Police force. Out sources everything all quite legally. The Store keeps on growing. Quite literally it seems to be getting bigger and bigger. It just seems to be growing by itself. Can it be stopped? Bill Davis was among the first in Juniper to sense the evil nature of The Store. He tried in vain to do something about it. First it took his eldest Daughter then his youngest. It changed them, took their innocence, especially the eldest who keeps on getting promotions, but who comes home with bloody underwear. When Billy takes his final stand at Corporate, it will be at a staggering cost, the loss of his eldest Daughter and worse. If you choose to read this novel you will become a Bentley Little fan. You may also never go to Wal-Mart or any other big box store again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    Little's Best

    A great spuff on the Super Stores/Marts that have taking over the U.S. It Little's best book. I remember driving East on I-40 toward New Mexico and seeing a Wal-Mart in Winslow off the Highway. The parking lot was full, yet the surrounding area was vacant(minus the mobile homes and scrap yards). Where did all the shoppers come from??? It was a surreal image of the The Store.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2006

    'Wow, what a book!'

    I loved this book. I couldn't put down. Every time I did, I couldn't stop thinking about what would happen next. I live in a small town, and ever since I read this book, I've been a little paranoid. Will a similar scenerio take place in my town? What spooked me was the fact that The Store used bribery, blackmail, intimidation, and other sinister tactics to forcibly close down smaller, privately owned businesses. Once the retail giant began taking over politics, schools, the police department, and other taxpayer-funded areas in Juniper, it was like a communist dictator taking over a third-world country. The book has plenty of suspense and horror, so I highly recomend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2005

    His best novel

    This is my fifth Bentley Little book and by far my favorite. Creepy, suspenceful and gory. Go out and buy it today.....before the Night Managers get you.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2002

    Who Knew Retail Could Be This Scary??

    You'll never look at your neighborhood KMart, Walmart, or Target the same way again after reading this one. Little's take on how much we "depend" on retail chains and their effect on their communities was great. The lengths the owners of The Store go to to get their way are suprisingly and, dare i say, realistic. Very interesting read; reminded me of my youth spent working for a local KMart (not as drastic but almost as bad). The third title of Bentley Little that I read.

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