The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns

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The story is mysterious and engaging, leaving us with a certain sense of fear regarding the supposed social order and the legitimacy of the institutions we trust most.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

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 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.
 

About Stephen Dobyns

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STEPHEN DOBYNS is the author of more than thirty novels and poetry collections, including The Church of Dead Girls, Cold Dog Soup, and Cemetery Nights. Among his many honors and awards are a Melville Cane Award, Pushcart Prizes, a National Poetry Series prize, and three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. His novels have been translated into twenty languages, and his poetry has appeared in the Best American Poems anthology. Dobyns teaches creative writing at Warren Wilson College and has taught at the University of Iowa and Sarah Lawrence College.
 
Published February 7, 2013 by Plume. 481 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Burn Palace
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jenny Hilborne on Feb 01 2013

The story is mysterious and engaging, leaving us with a certain sense of fear regarding the supposed social order and the legitimacy of the institutions we trust most.

Read Full Review of The Burn Palace | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Phil Dyess-Nugent on Mar 11 2013

Dobyns’ book is entirely readable, but it has the feel of a mechanical exercise, a literary writer skillfully trying to concoct a commercial hit from a proven formula.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
Reviewed by Stefan Beck on Apr 05 2013

If you read the The Burn Palace, be prepared to learn a harsh lesson about yourself. You may discover you just plain like gritty police procedurals, and lurid descriptions of savage violence, and jaw-dropping improbabilities...

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Times Dispatch

Good
Reviewed by Doug Childers on Feb 10 2013

This isn’t an empty-calorie slasher-flick-in-print. Dobyns has written an unhurried, old-fashioned novel, built out of well-rounded characters who find themselves in horrific, barely believable situations.

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Reader Rating for The Burn Palace
68%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 69 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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