Onyx, Sept 2004, 6.99, 400 pp.
Located in the heart of the Arizona desert, The Reata Hotel offers cheap rates to its customers in the summertime when it can't attract any rich vacationers. Lowell Thurman, who wants to avoid his school reunion, agrees to let his wife Rachel and their three sons (Owen, Curtis and their youngest Ryan) stay at the resort for five days of luxurious pampering. When they first glimpse the resort it looks like a rich man's paradise with luxeries very few could afford.
At the end of their first day at the hotel complex, all the Thurmans share the feeling that something evil permeates the place. The Thurman teens see a dead body at the bottom of the pool that turns into a dark spot once they leave the area. Rachel sees a face of evil in the sky; while Lowell swimming alone in pool feels hands clutching his body. There is a deserted ruin of another resort at the end of a trail and as the Reata starts to deteriorate, the ruins turn into a new version of The Resort. Guests are now trapped.
There are very few horror writers who can write as consistently well as Bentley Little. His writing is on a par with the greats such as Stephen King, Clive Barker and Peter Straub but he has a unique voice and a way of turning ordinary circumstances into a person's worst nightmare.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner