The Return - Bentley Little

(No Series)

Springerville is famous for the legend of the Mongolian Monster. Of course nobody really believes it. It’s just a good campfire story, something to attract gullible tourists ­ until an excavation team unearths the figurine of a screaming woman, the jawbone of a deformed animal, and a child’s toy. How odd that they were buried together. Odd, too, is the foul odor lingering in the air, the strange noises at night, and the man’s face found hanging from a tree. Now the locals are locking their doors. Because after sundown, campfire stories can seem very, very real.

Usually I devour Littles’ work like a caveman would a prime rib steak. This time, though, something went wrong ­ I just couldn’t stay conjure up enough saliva to finish the meal all the way through. The plot itself was creative enough, creepy in ways (particularly the first 100 pages or so), but it just didn’t suck me into its’ magic.

Most of his novels do pull me in, excluding this one and The University. The gripes I had with the University are similar to what I had with this one, although different in a few ways too. The plot was a bit uneven, where the waters eventually muddled from all the unneeded clumps falling in.

Glen is the type of guy not sure what he wants out of life, a drifter. Melanie is an intelligent, endearing woman who suited the plot. Cameron was a sweet little boy; some of the more terrifying moments were told through his POV, especially the dog (brrrrr). Archeology professor Al Wittinghill suited his job descriptions. All characters worked well enough for what they were meant for.

Things didn’t necessarily happen slowly, I just couldn’t get wrapped up in the tangle. Things progressed but I didn’t feel much emotion from them progressing. The pacing was slightly uneven, as things would slow a bit, then speed up again, leaving me slightly confused.

Obviously I was disappointed by the Return; the story didn’t grab my interest, and I never invested emotional stake in any characters. I have heard praise for this novel while I sat and praised another novel written by Little that others didn’t seem to enjoy. He seems to have something for basically everybody; you may need to experiment a little to find your gold piece.

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