Bentley Little, Author . Signet $6.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-451-20609-1

Little (The Association) displays his darker side in the 32 mostly memorable stories that comprise this collection of unpublished and previously published stories. Drawing from a bizarre cauldron of influences (cited in brief introductions to each piece), Little tackles some disturbing topics, including pedophilia, family crucifixions, incest and bestiality. Indeed, even fans accustomed to the gore found in Little's novels may be taken aback by the manner in which characters carry out their fetishes and crimes. The main character in "Blood," for example, kills both little boys and grown men without remorse, believing that his macaroni and cheese craves human blood. The supernatural and the unexplained are common themes, but some plot lines are underdeveloped. In "Monteith," readers are left to ponder what would have happened had the main character confronted his wife about a one-word note—written in her hand—that turned his life upside down. Among Little's best offerings are "Bob," a chilling tale of mistaken identity, and "Pillow Talk," a witty yet sad story about bed linens that come to life and ultimately display more human traits than many of the characters in this collection. A fascinating glimpse into how Little's creativity has evolved over the years, this volume is a must-have for the author's fans despite its uneven nature. (June 4)

Reviewed on: 05/20/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1431-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 453 pages - 978-0-451-20609-1
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