- Author: Bentley Little
- Artist: Elderlemon Design
- Page Count: 480
- Pub. Date: October 13, 2015 (hardcover); June 2, 2020 (trade paperback)
- ISBN: 978-1-58767-500-3 (hardcover); 978-1-58767-656-7 (trade paperback)
- Status: Trade Paperback In-Stock!
"Little understands the ominous undertones of companyspeak like initiatives, streamlining, and, most of all, termination... This is ink-black dark comedy at its chortling, devious best. Bosses who get the joke should be handing this out with the Christmas bonuses."
— Booklist (starred review)
The Consultant: A New Novel
by Bentley Little
About the Book:
CompWare is in serious trouble after a promised merger falls through, so they do what other businesses have done to bolster their public image: they hire a consulting firm to review and streamline their business practices.
But there's something strange about the firm they hire—more specifically, the quirky gentleman who arrives to supervise the project: Mr. Patoff, tall and thin and wearing a bow tie, and with an odd smile that never quite reaches his eyes.
In his first interactions, the consultant asks a few inappropriate questions, and generally seems a nuisance. Over time, Patoff gains more power, to the point where he seems to be running the whole company. He enacts arbitrary and invasive changes to office protocol. He places cameras all over the building, making workers paranoid; he calls employees at all hours of the night, visits some of their homes and menaces their families.
People who defy the consultant get fired… or worse.
The employees of CompWare soon realize they're not just fighting for their jobs: they're fighting for their lives.
The Consultant is a biting workplace satire, with the horrific touches only Bentley Little could provide.
Why aren't more horror novels set in the workplace? Surely few things strike fear into the heart more than the squeak of the boss' shoes rounding the credenza, a memo about an emergency sales meeting, or an accidental reply-all e-mail. Craig Horne didn't think software firm CompWare's downtick in business warranted the hiring of the consulting firm BFG Associates, but now it seems they're stuck with them. Or him, to be precise: Regus Patoff, a bone-thin, flat-topped, bow tie–clad Mephistopheles whose initial thousands of e-mails and hundreds of meetings only hint at what's to come. As he did in The Mailman and The Influence, Little wrings his premise for every drop of blood and sweat. PowerPoint presentations—with gory crime-scene photos. Mandatory blood drives—conducted with rusty knives. Staff weight-loss programs—with naked weigh-ins. Training sessions—on proper toilet-papering technique. Little understands the ominous undertones of companyspeak like initiatives, streamlining, and, most of all, termination. As suicides and “accidents” mount, it becomes clear that BFG intends to radically restructure (another eerie euphemism) CompWare, even if it means infiltrating employees' personal lives, as Craig learns when Patoff begins consulting at both his wife's job and son's school. This is ink-black dark comedy at its chortling, devious best. Bosses who get the joke should be handing this out with the Christmas bonuses.
— Booklist, Daniel Kraus (starred review)
Bentley Little was born in Arizona a month after his mother attended the world premiere of Psycho. He received his BA in Communications and MA in English and Comparative Literature at California State University Fullerton. His Master's thesis was the novel The Revelation, which was later published and won the Bram Stoker Award in 1991. Since then, he has written many more novels and his work has been translated into seven different languages. Several of his novels have been optioned for film. His work has appeared in many issues of Cemetery Dance magazine, including Cemetery Dance #64, which was the Bentley Little Special Issue and featured an original interview with him and two of his brand new short stories.
Published in three states:
• Trade Hardcover Edition with full color dust jacket ($25)
• Hardcover Limited Edition of 750 signed and hand-numbered copies bound in full-cloth and Smyth sewn ($50)
• Deluxe Hardcover Lettered Edition of 52 signed and hand-lettered copies bound in leather, Smyth sewn with a satin ribbon page marker, raised hubs on the spine, custom gilded page edges dipped by hand, and featuring full color illustrated endpapers ($250)