1-27 - Book Review_ The RESORTBentley Little
Signet
2004

The Reata is an exclusive spa isolated in the Arizona desert–a perfect getaway from the city for people like Lowell Thurman and his family booked for a relaxing five-day retreat. But what unfolds is anything but tranquil: unnerving encounters with strange employees, wild parties in empty rooms, something unspeakable in the pool. Then, one by one, guest begin disappearing. The Thurmans are afraid because out in the middle of nowhere, with no escape and no one to hear them scream, they’re left with only one terrifying choice: unlock the dark secrets of the Reata themselves before the real carnage begins.

My enjoyment of the works of Bentley Little have been well-documented, so I don’t think I need to bore you with yet another opening paragraph of how much I enjoy the works of Bentley Little (SPOILERS: A whole bunch). Saying that, I understand that there will be several moments where I would have to stop reading, shake my head and say to myself, “Self, that ain’t right.”

The Resort happens to hit all of the classic “that ain’t right” notes. This isn’t so much a haunted house type horror movie, as the titular resort in question just seems to be the chosen apex for the supernatural shenanigans that are going on.

The story revolves around a middle-aged husband and father who, in a grab to avoid going to his impending high school reunion, decides to take the entire family on holiday…er, vacation (sorry, I have this nasty habit of using British coloquialisms at times) at a rather posh remote hotel resort in the Arizona desert. And the place is gorgeous, what with the desert scenery, the swimming pool, the golf course, the theater and excercise room, not to mention the five-star restaurant. And such luxurious rooms. Totally a better idea than some kind of soul-rushing reunion with former classmates, right? But, since this is a Bentley Little story, things start going wrong the moment they all settle into their sweet suites: first the car breaks down. Then, because they had to be relocated to a different room than what was booked, the supposedly empty room that’s being renovated next door sounds like there’s all sorts of parties going on nightly there. Then the employees of the hotel start acting rather…badly, while the manager seems to be loosing his mind. Then, the hotel starts to rapidly lose its luster, literally, while the residents themselves start joining in on the insanity, which includes a rousing game of Bloodthirsty Gladiators. The answer behind all of this madness is rather mind-bending. And the resolution ends things in your standard Bentley Little style. Meaning, if you’re a fan of the happy ending, you’re going to be so very disappointed, here.

Yeah, reading this made my skin crawl. Very effective usage of the visceral hardcore horror devices. It lulls you into a false sense of security with its rather normal opening setup, but then hits you with the standard salvo of gleefully twisted and warped supernatural happenings that will stick itself into your brains long after you’ve finished all 400 pages of this mass-marketed paperback. The weird thing is, The Resort isn’t even the most extreme example in Bentley Little’s output.

Advertisements