In the last few years, the folks at Cemetery Dance Publications have been doing an amazing job bringing back to life long out of print Bentley Little titles. The incomparable horror master has returned with his latest, The Consultant, an exclusively published signed and limited edition and in trade hardcover from Cemetery Dance.
Little is often known as the master of black comedy and satirical horror, writing on and expanding on our everyday fears of such common real-life things such as gated communities (The Association), big box stores (The Store), postal carriers (The Mailman), places of education (The University), and insurance companies (The Policy).
In The Consultant, Little takes on our fears of going to work, the fear of those in higher positions and the general horrors of the workplace. More specifically, it is the story of a consulting firm that comes in with hopes to save a company but leaves with death and destruction in it’s wake.
After a business merger falls through for tech company CompWare, they are forced to hire a consulting firm ran single handedly by the sinister Mr. Patoff. Things seem somewhat normal, if not a tad uncomfortable at first, but that’s to be expected when a new boss comes in to help by changing a few work policies, monitoring work habits a little closer and guiding with a slightly more strict hand.
Then the cameras go up. Mr. Patoff follows employees to monitor bathroom routines, he shows up to the houses of managers at odd hours of the night and visits employee’s family at their places of work and daycares. Employees are locked in during lunch breaks and other extreme policies are enforced to “steam-line” more efficient work practices and ways to save the company from ruin.
As if the situation doesn’t sound terrifying enough, in classic Bentley Little fashion, things get worse. Co-workers turn on each other and those who defy Mr. Patoff end up dead.
In The Consultant, Bentley Little takes what could happen in the workplace to you, the reader and takes it to the truly terrifying extreme. Little fans will be pleased. It’s unsettling. It’s exciting. It’s worth your every hard earned penny.
Words: Jonathan Reitan