THE BURN PALACE by Stephen Dobyns

Burn PalaceOh, yeah, baby.  Another novel by Stephen Dobyns.  He wrote The Church of Dead Girls.   And this one is definitely creepier and scarier, so for those of you into creepy and scary, here’s your book.

OK, it’s a clear cut mystery thriller, with just a touch of the paranormal thrown in.  And coyotes. And sheep.  And a mortuary.  And a crematorium, known by the irreverent ambulance drivers (who in addition to their emergency skills, do transport for the local undertaker), as the burn palace.

There is a whack job off his meds, who is turning into a wolf, and walks on all fours,  some frightened kids, and a fair amount of violence.

It is set in the small town of Brewster, Rhode Island, and as the narrator tells us,

When a terrible crime takes place in a small town, it’s a tragedy.  When a second takes place, it’s a curse.

We have a newborn baby, stolen out of the hospital nursery, with a large snake left in its place.   We have  a kid who can move marbles with his mind.  We have witches, we have esoteric and possibly satanic rituals deep in the woods, we have possibly genetically enhanced wild animals and we have suspected shape shifters.  After all

Ninety-two percent of our genome contains the basic genes for all vertebrates; the rest carry the differences between all vertebrates.  Half of one percent separates us from Neanderthals; three percent separate us from other mammals.  But within a chain of DNA are inactivated intragenic regions called introls whose purpose isn’t understood.  We also have disconnected genes that are to the DNA what the appendix is to the body — useful once but useful no longer.  Some believe that within them lie the secrets to alternate forms and to activate them might make shape-shifting possible.

And you will never guess what is behind all of this.

So get your ghoul on, and …. you know what?  You might want to leave the light on in the hallway if you are reading it in bed at night.  I’m not saying there’s any such things as shape shifters, but…..



2 comments on “THE BURN PALACE by Stephen Dobyns

  1. Mary Smith says:

    I’m a wimp – sounds way too scary for me.

    • Marti says:

      So am I, but it wasn’t all that bad. A lot of it is about what the collective mind is willing to believe when there is nothing concrete to lean on. When something cannot be understood, we immediately turn to the unlikely, such as Satanism and shape shifters. It was really a good book.

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