The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns
Reviewed via NetGalley
I reviewed a complimentary copy of this in e-book format provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Back in 1997, I read “Church of Dead Girls” and discovered the special imagination of author Stephen Dobyns. A writer who peels away the layers of his characters while simultaneously balancing a vast cast, Mr. Dobyns writes literate horror in a tapestry with multiple plotlines and story threads. In this novel, the Rhode Island community of Brewster, once a peaceful, gossipy, quiet town, becomes a character in its own right, as fear and terror and hate and crime devolve it in a status probably similar to that of Salem during the witch-hunt hysteria.
The citizens of Brewster and the law enforcement officers called into to police the community must decide for themselves whether the ongoing events are human-based, or Supernatural in origin. Certainly they are odd enough to be Supernatural: a newborn abducted from the local community hospital’s neonatal nursery, and replaced with a corn snake stolen from a local boy; bonfires in the woods containing evidences of human bones; multiple deaths at the local convalescent care which statistically exceed the expected quantity; adolescent girls raped in Satanic rituals in order to harvest the newborns; and hate crimes against the local Wiccans. It isn’t long before the town descends into near mass hysteria, pitting neighbor against neighbor, all citizens suspicious of the police’s failure to solve the crimes and to protect the populace.
In the end, “The Burn Palace” will delight and engross the reader and linger in the mind long after the final page is turned.
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