The Horror Zine Review

Walking Alone

by Bentley Little

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance Pubns; World's First Edition Hardcover edition (July 13, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587676176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587676178

walking alone little

Walking Alone by Bentley Little

Review by Jeani Rector

I first discovered Bentley Little twenty years ago when I read THE ASSOCIATION. I was immediately drawn to Little’s ability to take an ordinary person and thrust him into an extraordinary situation. This made that novel even more frightening, more real, because I said to myself, “This could happen to me.

Since then, I have read many of Little’s novels and even published a few of his short stories myself in anthologies from The Horror Zine. Each time I read his works, I am always amazed at the vivid imagination he possesses, including taking me to creepy corners of his mind and inserting inventiveness of the extremely horrific kind. Bentley Little absolutely thinks “outside the box,” making his work original and fresh every time, year after exciting year. His work is timeless. In fact, Stephen King calls Bentley Little “The horror poet laureate.” And I agree.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that Bentley Little has a new collection out titled WALKING ALONE. This is a collection of Little’s short stories that have been previously unpublished throughout the decades he’s been scaring people.

Although I loved the entire collection, I don’t have room to review each story, so instead I will talk about my favorites.

The very first story in the collection is indeed one of my favorites. Titled “Milk Ranch Point” and written in 1984, this story begins with a stranger riding into town on a great gray stallion back in the wild west days. The townspeople welcome this stranger but warn him that he must not ride “up north.” Of course, the stranger has other ideas. And when he does go “up north,” he finds things so creepy that it even made me keep the light on at night, and I don’t scare easily. This story is deliciously disturbing.

Another of my favorites is “Last Rodeo on the Circuit” (1986). Everyone feels afraid when they have car trouble, but how about in the middle of the near-empty Arizona desert? The couple believes that their biggest problem is being price-gouged for fixing the car at a lonely gas station. Until…they find a zoo of cages in the back lot. And when they can’t pay for repairs with cash, the station owner has other plans for them.

Then there is the story where the title alone is enough to grab your attention: “The Piano Player Has No Fingers” (1996).Mart’s a demon. This is part ghost story, part revenge story. Add those parts together and you have one wild ride.

“Jorgensen’s Fence” (2016) brings me right back to the idea of an ordinary person thrust into an extraordinary situation that could happen to me or you. A neighbor installs a nice fence that other neighbors admire. Until Rich finds out what materials Jorgensen used for the fence. And he has a mind to report it, except there is that little matter of his wife…

I love stories told from a child’s perspective, because their fear is not jaded, but fresh and real. “The Smell of Overripe Loquats” (2016) begins with Johnny not wanting to visit his deeply religious aunt who lives in East Los Angles in a rundown community. When he does visit, he discovers neighborhood kids who meet in an old, abandoned house. They conjure up a god who gives gifts. Or is it a god? This story reminds of “The Exorcist” in the vein that Catholicism deals with both good and evil. It’s the existence of demons and Satan that brings the bone-chilling fear. I found that bone-chilling fear in this story.

I wish I could tell you about all the stories in WALKING ALONE. They are all awesome in a way that only Bentley Little can create. He possesses a brilliant mind and we are lucky that he decided to share that brilliance with all of us over the decades. No one creates monsters as well as he does.

For those of you, like me, who have been reading Bentley Little’s works over the years, rejoice like I do that he has a new collection. For those who haven’t been reading Bentley Little (under what rock do you hide?), WALKING ALONE would be a great place to get started. This is an excellent collection that I highly recommend.









You can buy the book HERE

About the author

bentley little

Photo by Wendy Li

Bentley Little was born in Arizona. He received a BA in Communications and an MA in English and Comparative Literature from California State University. He currently lives in Fullerton, California with his wife and son. He also writes under the pseudonym “Phillip Emmons.”

Little has stated on several occasions that he considers himself a horror novelist, and that he writes in the horror genre, not the "suspense" or "dark fantasy" genres. He is an unabashed supporter of horror fiction. Stephen King has described Little as "The horror poet laureate."

About the reviewer

Jeani Rector

While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead.  She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters.  It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?

Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Blood Moon Rising, Hellfire Crossroads, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others.