I’m a big fan of Bentley Little’s books. He writes an interesting and often thought-provoking variety of horror that uses black humor and the macabre to poke fun at major American institutions: universities, resorts, Walmart. I’ve read quite a few of his novels already, but for some strange reason I’ve never read one of his earliest and most famous books: The Mailman. It’s a mistake I’ve decided to remedy now.
The Mailman follows a schoolteacher named Doug and his family during one particularly gruesome summer break, during which their usual friendly and universally beloved mailman kills himself in his bathtub at home, and is replaced with a tall, creepy red-headed guy named John Smith, who brings not only the mail to residents of the small town of Willis, Arizona, but a sadistic variety of death and psychological torture that threatens to destroy them all.
I’m only maybe a third of the way through the book right now, but so far it’s been an excellent read. Bentley Little has a gift for taking normal everyday situations and turning them into something nightmarish and disturbing, while at the same time showing us how dependent we’ve all become on these modern institutions and how easily they can be corrupted. For anyone who hasn’t read Little yet, this one would be a great place to start.