The Burn Palace

The Burn Palace The sleepy community of Brewster Rhode Island is just like any other small American town It s a place where most of the population will likely die blocks from where they were born where gossip sprea

  • Title: The Burn Palace
  • Author: Stephen Dobyns
  • ISBN: 9780399160875
  • Page: 418
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The sleepy community of Brewster, Rhode Island, is just like any other small American town It s a place where most of the population will likely die blocks from where they were born where gossip spreads like wildfire, and the big entertainment on weekends is the inevitable fight at the local bar But recently, something out of the ordinary perhaps even supernatural has bThe sleepy community of Brewster, Rhode Island, is just like any other small American town It s a place where most of the population will likely die blocks from where they were born where gossip spreads like wildfire, and the big entertainment on weekends is the inevitable fight at the local bar But recently, something out of the ordinary perhaps even supernatural has been stirring in Brewster While packs of coyotes gather on back roads and the news spreads that a baby has been stolen from Memorial Hospital and replaced in its bassinet by a snake , a series of inexplicably violent acts begins to confound Detective Woody Potter and the local police and inspire terror in the hearts and minds of the locals.From award winning author Stephen Dobyns comes a sardonic yet chillingly suspenseful novel the literary equivalent of a Richard Russo small town tableau crossed with a Stephen King thriller The Burn Palace is a darkly funny, twisted portrait of chaos and paranoia, with an impressive host of richly rendered, larger than life characters and a thrilling plot that will keep readers guessing until the final pages.

    One thought on “The Burn Palace”

    1. Surely fear is the oldest emotion. Not love, not pride, not greed. The emotion urging you to run is older than the one telling you to embrace. ~The Burn PalaceLet's get the Negative Nelly rant out of the way first: I may have just taken too damn long to read this book (it was a hellish work week, and I couldn't seem to find the time needed to just attack the book and submerse myself in it the way it demands). It starts out really strong -- with a great premise -- but somewhere along the way, Dob [...]

    2. I feel like this book flew a bit under the radar for many readers. THE BURN PALACE is a suspenseful, fantastic "supernatural" thriller from the brilliant mind of Stephen Dobyns. Stephen King gave this a huge approval rating on the jacket blurb, and in this case, I have to agree. This was an excellent novel!

    3. After completing this I re-read the cover material. Dobyns is listed as teaching creative writing at Warren Wilson College. I wasn't familiar and tracked down WWC, and found among their downloadable audio lectures one given by Dobyns in 1990. The catalog says, "Stephen Dobyns argues that structure is both the means by which information is released and the information itself structure, whether in poetry or prose, represents the means by which formal elements (language, texture, pacing, and tone) [...]

    4. THE BURN PALACE is a book that any lover of mysteries/thrillers doesn’t want to miss. Several mysteries are going on at the same time, all in and around one small townWhat happened to a newborn baby kidnapped from a hospital?What is the significance of a snake in the baby’s place?Why was a man scalped and who did it?Why does the mother of the kidnapped baby hate him?Why does this small town suddenly have a problem with cougers prowling the area and attacking humans?Why are old people suddenl [...]

    5. I have completed The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns. First thoughts are that I liked it and I look forward to reading some of the older books by this author. The New England town of Brewster has been riddled with strange occurances such as a newborn baby being replaced by a snake in the hospital nursery. An insurance agent is found murdered and there is a heavy presence of highly aggressive coyote roaming the town. There are many suspenseful moments that cause the reader to wonder what is going o [...]

    6. Stephen King recommended. Book blurb says: "I've read some very good novels this year, but this one is the best of the best. In a real sense, I didn't read it at all, after the first five pages; I entered the small-town world Stephen Dobyns creates with such affection, horror, and fidelity. I can imagine Nataniel Hawthorne, Sherwood Anderson, and - yes- Grace Metalious rising to their feet in that special Writing Room of the Dead and giving Dobyns a standing ovation. Dobyns has always been good, [...]

    7. I had an advance copy of this novel for review purposes, and I must say I’m pleased to have been able to read it sooner than later. Because it was that good. I read it in December and posted a shorter review on my weblog. Here's the long version.The marketing copy for this novel calls it a horror novel. It is not exactly that. I see it more as a new direction in magical realism. If you have read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, you may remember that impossible things [...]

    8. Weird stuff happening in a small town, but everything comes together in the end in a believable conclusion (of sorts). That alone makes it worth the read.Also, this book has hints of Stephen King actually, it's more like a bouillon cube of Stephen King. It has Stephen King flavorings, but stewed in a more fortified crock pot (if that makes any sense). The familiar: sleepy small town, gossipy towns folk, gifted (read: not annoying) children, supernatural happenings, unusual deaths, mental illness [...]

    9. ***WARNING: Review contains some spoilers***I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Stephen Dobyns and the only reason I picked this book up is because I saw a stellar review about it from Stephen King, and I'm a huge King fan. So based on his recommendation of the book, I gave it a go.The book's not terrible, and I like the character building that Dobyns does. My biggest issue with the story, is that there are loose ends all over the place, and the author forces connections that don't logically exis [...]

    10. Is this a horror novel or not? No spoilers here; let’s just say that if you are looking for a horror show, you’ve got it; if you’re looking for a mystery, it’s here, and if you are in the mood for a small town character study, you’ve picked up the right book. The fact that Steven Dobyns can scratch the itch for several genres is a tribute to his writer’s skill and makes “Burn Palace” a satisfying experience.Since I go for the small town character angle, let’s talk about Brewste [...]

    11. A vast cast of strangeness shows it head in this tale. It starts with an interesting character Nurse Spandex, the name more or less quite befitting. Then a missing baby, a snake and coyotes, unlike the common breed, appear and attack citizens of the town. The story has a feel of eeriness, strangeness and elements of horror. As investigations into crimes that arise are carried out many interesting elements to the story get introduced. I enjoyed parts then there was other parts that left me not wa [...]

    12. An excellent novel which succeeds on numerous levels. It's part character study, part profile of life in a small town, and part horror story.It's by turns scary, funny, and sweet.By the time you finish it, you will feel as if you have lived in Brewster, Rhode Island, and know everyone there.

    13. So happy to have another Stephen Dobyns novel. Loved how all the pieces came together. Laughed out loud so often I may no longer be welcome in the laundromat where I was reading this.

    14. Extremely well done, for the genre. Great small town characters,a scary and creepy story, a hero whom you root for and who evolves,some laugh -out-loud comic relief moments, and a good takeaway on the power of rumor and hysteria to make ordinary folks behave like lunatics.The characters were so fully developed and likeable that I hope Dobyns writes a sequel.

    15. Either I really missed something, or the book didn't deliver on all its promises.I was excited to see this book advertised, so much so that I bought it in hardcover, which I rarely do. I haven't read Dobyns's Syracuse series, and his "Two Deaths of Señora Puccini" was dry, but "Boy in Water" was really good and "Church of Dead Girls" was amazing--it should be considered a classic of weird literature.Coming after those, "The Burn Palace" was surprisingly clumsy. It was like the debut novel of so [...]

    16. I finished this book in two days, literally staying up until ungodly hours of the night to do so. Upon finishing, I can say it was a messy, creepy, action-filled suspense-y thriller set in a small New England town. However, while reading this book, I couldn't stop grousing!The novel opens dramatically: 'Nurse Spandex', a thirty-something nurse known for modifying her scrubs to make them more flattering, has just left after a fling with a doctor while on duty. Returning to the nursery, she's horr [...]

    17. Stephen Dobyns is such a talented author. His depictions of small town, America are dead on.Something is terribly wrong in Brewster. The disappearance of a newborn starts off a chain of events that boggles the mind.Rumors of Satanist, weird parties out in the swampy woods and shapeshifters have law enforcement at a loss. Then there is Carl Krause. He is becoming a menace, actually growling at people.Then an insurance agent is murdered and scalped . A teenage girl reports a rape, then disappears. [...]

    18. The Burn Palace starts out with the disappearance of a newborn baby from the local hospital. In its place is left a snake. From there, things in the small town of Brewster, RI only go downhill. Attacking coyotes, witchcraft, murder, telekenisis, kidnappings. There's a little bit of almost everything in this book.What makes it unique is that The Burn Palace is half mystery, half horror story. It's got the police procedural side of things, and then the things that go bump in the night. It's a grea [...]

    19. Stephen King introduced me to this book by RAVING about it in Entertainment Weekly. As I started reading I quickly saw what he liked in it as it had many of his favorite themes: kids with possible powers, mysterious and gory deaths, links to the occult, damaged relationships and people, etc. Oh and, it's long and dense. The first few hundred pages I was engaged but (much like a long Stephen King novel) was periodically frustrated with the density of detail, much of it extraneous. But then, the m [...]

    20. Convoluted. Obfuscated. Innocuous. Verbose. Pointless. Sad. It was many years ago when I read the wonderful "Church of the Dead Girls" and "Boy in the Water", so maybe what I enjoy has changed or Mr. Dobyns style or writing has changed. Either way, I found this novel so damn tiresome and unnecessary.There are so many unnecessary aspects of this novel. To many characters, to many wasted pages of nonsensical claptrap leading nowhere, to many subplots. The list goes on and on. Personally, I would r [...]

    21. Dobyns seems to produce two lines of books: his mealticket, the Saratoga Springs mystery novels, and his one-offs, the odd and varied -- but not actually experimental -- novels like Cold Dog Soup and The Two Deaths of Senora Puccini.Burn Palace seems to combine the two approaches: a semi-supernatural police procedural which unexpectedly veers off into more cerebral territory. There were shades of The Wrestler's Cruel Study in many of the the occult digressions.It's not perfect, and I admit that [...]

    22. This is a really well done mystery. I really would rate this at four and a half stars if I could. Dobyns paints such a great picture of this little town literally going through hell. And fills it with a really cool cast of characters as well. But don't get to attached to anyone because Dobyns is not afraid of whacking his characters. Some authors seem willing to carry their characters through a nuclear explosion. With The Burn Palace Dobyns seems to take a perverse delight in removing characters [...]

    23. I picked out this book based on a recommendation by Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly- he said this was one of his fave 10 books of the year. I wasn't sure what to think starting to read this book, but once I was immersed within the town of Brewster, and all the characters, I found it quite enjoyable. This is fully a mystery of many proportions, but it's done in an entertaing, if not slightly gory, way. I havent' read anything like this in some time, and enjoyed it.

    24. It was exhausting to force my way through this book. Lots and LOTS of un-involving characters and overwhelming details and a bunch of scattered bits that don't connect to each other very well- perhaps like a dingy back room of cut-up body parts for sale! Or a Stephen King collection with the supernatural elements (mostly) torn out and the remains randomized. (Spoilers: I've had a tough week and I don't have an ear for poetry.)

    25. A good but slight and somewhat disappointing effort from Dobyns. The mystery, which begins with kidnapping of a baby, feels tired and rather lackluster despite the inclusion of Satanism and Wiccan in the story. The characters are engaging and the writing is top notch but the story pales in comparison to Dobyn's The Boy In The Water and Church Of Dead Girls. Not Dobyn's best effort but still has its moments.

    26. Stayed up far too late to finish this book and it just wasn't worth the lost sleep :( Felt the author was trying very hard to be the next Stephen King but fell woefully short. His writing could be good at times but it was far too rambling a narrative to follow clearly. There were too many characters and none were really fully developed. The storyline did scare me at some points but that may have been due to the lateness of the hours reading it - my mind starts to play tricks on me. LOL

    27. Why Stephen Dobyns is not more widely read is the mystery here. His novels subtly explore the human horrors of paranoia and distrust in small town settings. The characters are our next door neighbors. Church of The Dead Girls is a brilliant example of this, however Burn Palace is a close second. For mystery fans this book is a must.

    28. This book was full of well written surprises. I would call this a suspense/thriller. Not my typical read. But I could not put this down.

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