Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Burning” as Want to Read:
The Burning
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Burning

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  840 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
A college freshman finds herself stranded in Arizona with no place to stay and nowhere to run.

Cabin fever closes in on an isolated park ranger, as two sinister beauties lurk in the desert outside his door.

A California divorcée is starting a promising new life. But her young son knows better-because he's seen what's creeping outside the window.

A cross-country traveler is on
Hard Cover, 392 pages
Published 2006 by Signet
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Burning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Burning

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dirk Grobbelaar
Trying to review The Burning is turning into a bit of a chore. I’ve restarted this review quite a few times, and I am as yet unable to put into words just exactly what I liked, or didn’t like, about the novel.

Some books are just like that, I suppose.

I read The Burning cover to cover; it wasn’t great, and it wasn’t bad. It has a ghost train, which is always awesome, and as a matter of principal garners it a bonus star. There are some good ideas here, but they don’t all come to fruition. Some of
Monty desai
Mar 12, 2017 Monty desai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far out of all the Bentley Little books this was kind of a mix bag for me. Definitely not one of his best. It was ok ..
Matt Garcia
Feb 17, 2017 Matt Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read. I like the references to some of his other works such as The Store and The Return.
The shifting viewpoints were a good way to keep the pace moving along. We follow the stories of 4 characters exclusively and more than that at times. Their stories and lives are all so different but they share a bond somehow to what is happening. Kept me interested because every chapter was a different character so I never had a chance to become bored or complacent because something new was hap
Jan 06, 2016 Colleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Gosh, if I incorporated images or gifs in my reviews, this would be a perfect one since I can think of so many train wreck/movie images that would be applicable. I fully acknowledge I did this to myself in reading this book--much like the brother in Fried Green Tomatoes, I horsed around on the tracks when I shouldn't have and now one is bearing down on me. Really, Ghost Train is what instantly sold this book to me--Rosalind Russell in her autobiography said the most popular (and cheapest to put ...more
Sedge 李
Jul 25, 2011 Sedge 李 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
WARNING: Spoilers and disjointed ramblings and unclear remembrances are to follow.

I have to say, this is probably my least favourite of Little's books. This is a disappointment, because it started off with a mess of interesting elements: serial killer arts'n'crafts, towns built over mass graves, and that good old Bentley Little classic-- the thing that makes people really messed up for seemingly no reason (something I'll never tire of, along with the vengeful ghosts of Asian women). In addition,
William M.
Jun 28, 2011 William M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
"The Burning" was a big letdown after reading Bentley Little's masterful book, "Dispatch". I seriously considered that this book might be written by someone else while Bentley was ill and couldn't write. Who knows. I love this guy and can't tell you how disappointed I was. While one of the top 5 horror writers working today, Bentley Little seems to be hit or miss with his stories. I simply just did not enjoy reading this new release. It seemed that he was throwing way too much random horror at t ...more
Nothing extraordinary. Fairly typical horror story actually. Based on the various premises of the evil that men do lives beyond them, violence begets violence, two wrongs don't make a right and the Anglo-Saxon culture that dominated the United States in the 19th century was rotten with evil and corruption and intolerance. Like so many other contemporary horror novels there is a strong strain of Political Correctness running through the story which I think takes away some of the punch.Lazy writin ...more
Stephen King recommended author. He says: "BEST OUTRIGHT HORROR NOVELIST. Bentley Little, in a walk. Don't know Bentley Little? You're not alone. He's probably the genre's best-kept secret, but at least 10 of his novels are available in paperback; you can pick up three for the price of that flashy new hardcover you've got your eye on. The best thing about Little is that he can go from zero to surreal in 6.0 seconds. My favorites are The Store (think Wal-Mart run by SAYYY-tan) and Dispatch, in wh ...more
May 30, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was little.
Matthew Tait
Feb 19, 2011 Matthew Tait rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like many writers of Horror Fiction in the world today, Bentley Little has crafted his own style over the years and now has it down to kind of science. His books invariably follow a formula, but it is a well – practiced formula and no doubt keeps readers coming back again and again ensuring a dedicated readership and often imitated writing method.

The dedication in The Burning is interesting, and gives a fascinating insight into the roots of stories and how they can manifest and evolve. In this
Tom M
Apr 14, 2014 Tom M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is centered around a few groups of characters around whom the plot of The Burning revolves: Angela, a hispanic girl from L.A. who is a new college student in Flagstaff; Dennis, a young Chinese guy from Philadelphia; Jolene & Skylar, a recently separated (from her husband) mother and son who end up in northern California with Jolene's mother (plus Leslie, an old friend of Jolene's); and Henry, a park ranger in Utah.

There are strange occurrences of "ghost trains" and nightmarish spec
Feb 19, 2017 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although Little's writing style is impeccable, I cannot in good conscience rate this book higher than 2 stars. He was way too free throwing out racial slurs. It was almost like he enjoyed it. Disgusting. By the time I read that he's married to a wife of Chinese descent in his biography at the end, it didn't matter to me - the book was sick. I enjoyed his book The Association so much that I'm willing to give the author another chance, but this was a complete turn-off for me. If you start reading ...more
If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be: Incongruous. Between the ghost-train-cum-cemetery, black mold that makes people racist (yeah), and a house in California in which old, mummified body parts are found (which I think was supposed to tie together the racist mold and train, but that was a weak link at best), it was a pretty lame plot. Add in the characters that seemed to suddenly "realize" or "understand" some big plot point that would have been literally impossible to pi ...more
Jeff O'Brien
Feb 04, 2012 Jeff O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3.5 but went with 4 stars since it was better than a 3. This is one of Bentley's better novels, for sure.

Negative: Some of the scenes that were intended be scary came off as comical and there were a few elements that were a bit too far fetched even for suspension of disbelief, which the narrator disconcertingly points out.

Positive: GHOST TRAINS! The world of horror fiction needs way more ghost trains. It also had just the right amount of creepy, disturbing sex. Bentley Little tends to
I've read all of Bentley Little's books and I was excited to get my hands on his new one. Sadly the book was only medicore. For me Little's books are in two catergories, first the ones I think are really good, interesting and well written (The Store, Dispatch, Dominion, The Association) and second the ones that are so-so (University, The House, The Resort). I guess I would have to file The Burning in the second category. Don't get me wrong Little is a good writer I just found that this book took ...more
Jan 07, 2011 Josh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i don't know why, but i had high hopes for this book. i absolutely despise bentley little, everything i've ever read by him could have been written just as well by a high school kid. however, 90% of this books was great, well paced, great plot etc. the whole time i was reading this i was thinking to myself well, i'll have to read more of his stuff, i was wrong about mr. little. the last 20 pages or so completely changed my mind, the ending was literally so stupid that i wish i hadn't read the ki ...more
A strange and not really successful attempt to write a horror novel about racism. Absolutely, the historical events that Little refers to are the stuff of horror, and deserve to have light shone on them. But having the ghosts come out for revenge turns the victims into the aggressors, which a) is not cool and b) perpetuates the stereotype that non-white people are somehow magical. Moreover, it feels like the disparate elements--ghost trains, succubi, black mold that spreads racism--don't quite h ...more
Jan 06, 2017 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well this one was special.
Horror, check.
Ghostly train, check.
Crazy character connections, check.
Everything else......... well, i just don't know

This was an ok book but the segways and plot points were lost and confusing. I am still trying to figure out what the author was doing here and where this was supposed to end up. When it gets ther I was just kinda numb and didn't really get the drift here. I cannot find much good to say about this book other than the train scenes were kind of spooky and
Feb 17, 2009 Mike rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Basically, I didn't care for it. The characters seemed flat, the writing was general and bland, except for the scenes containing gore, wherein it was intense and graphic. The book was slightly scary on a few occasions, but never really delivered on those teases. It seemed to want to raise the awareness of racism and intolerance in the development of the country, which may have been better served in a book not containing a train comprised of the bodies of the undead rampaging across the country.
May 22, 2015 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: my-library
This book started off great and I was interested in what was happening to all the characters...and then it just got too ridiculous for my liking. I was so bored that I lost focus and before I knew it the book was just about over and I don't know how everything was resolved. I went back to re-read what I might have missed and thought F IT. Unfortunately this was my first Bentley Little book so it was a disappointing start. But because the first few hundred pages were great I am willing to give hi ...more
Dec 17, 2007 Susie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bought this for Dan because he loves scary movies and books, and Stephen King loves this author. It reminds me of how graphic King can be in From a Buick 8 and the like -- and really freaked me out. So while my rating was low because I don't necessarily love scary books, it is great for if you like this sort of thing. Make sense?
Sarah Underhill
Aug 24, 2007 Sarah Underhill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bentely-little
I really enjoyed this book. Though it was definitely not my favorite Bentley book it is still high up there. They way Little takes an interesting part of America's history and turns it supernatural is amazing. This book has a lot more history in it and even though I find it fascinating, at parts I found myself skimming through instead of actually reading. Still a great read though!
Scot Sonderman
May 27, 2010 Scot Sonderman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Stephen King, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, James Rollins
Recommended to Scot by: no one
I've read 2 other Bentley Little books and I felt they were pretty good. But, THE BURNING I really loved! Hidden massacres, Ghost trains, and a little-known piece of history. You can't miss with that combo, in my book. This is great escapist, summer-time reading. give THE BURNING a try!
Kemi looves 2 read
This book was simply bad - and there is no way I'm keeping it on my "currently reading" shelf. I can't give a complete review as the book was so boring that I had to put it down. The plot was lame, the build up made no sense and nothing was simply coming together.
Dec 28, 2012 Lurlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you've never read Bentley Little before, don't let this one be your introduction to his writing. I've never given one of his books less than 3 stars before, but this one missed the mark somehow for me. Definitely not one of his best.
Nov 26, 2009 Atomicmass1969 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror novel fans, Stephen King fans
I was never a fan of horror type books, but this was the first book I read from Bentley Little and loved it. I've since read 2 others of his and hoping to get through all his books in order. I can't really compare him to other authors of the genre, but I have truly enjoyed his books.
Kelly Liggio
I wanted to like this, and in a "weird incident of the chapter" way I did. But I kept making jokes about stephen king lamp monsters reading this book. Bentley has a good way of making every day incidents really messed up and creepy, but he's relying on shock factor too much with this.
Jill Coleman
The story kept me engaged throughout. This was one of the better Little books. The ending was a bit too abupt and left some questions unanswered. Some parts a little over the top in the gross dept. for my taste but overall a good read.
Dec 08, 2011 Teresa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really?? I just lost valuable reading time.
Sep 11, 2007 Amber rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Little writes some really odd things. This was low on the odd, high on the history and extra high on the boring. Blah.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • To Wake the Dead
  • Stranger
  • Ghost Walk
  • Midnight's Lair
  • Darkfall
  • Joyride
  • The Bone Factory
  • The Backwoods
Bentley Little is an American author of numerous horror novels. He was discovered by Dean Koontz.

Little was born one month after his mother attended the world premiere of Psycho. He published his first novel, The Revelation, with St. Martin's Press in 1990. After reading it, Stephen King became a vocal fan of Little's work, and Little won the Bram Stoker Award for "Best First Novel" in 1990. He mo
More about Bentley Little...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »