Yule blessings, merry Christmas, happy holidays – basically, whatever flavour your late December may be, have a good one.
If you’re looking for something seasonal to read, then I humbly recommend the following mixed bag of offerings.
The Christmas Thingy
F. Paul Wilson
Eight-year-old Jessica Atkins wants a monster for Christmas. Not a big, mean monster; more of a friendly little one to play with when she comes home from school, and maybe scare away the mice who live in her big old London house.
But the old housekeeper, Mrs. Murgatroyd, warns her against wishing for a monster in this house. Exactly one hundred years ago the Christmas Thingy visited this very house and stole away with a load of Christmas presents.
As Mrs. Murgatroyd’s mum used to say: “Like a rose must bloom and a pig must squeal, a cow must moo and a thingy must steal. It simply must.”
Be careful what you wish for, Jessica…
The Christmas Thingy is a heartwarming story for children (and adults!) of all ages — and a delightful fantasy for every day of the year!
Bloody Christmas [Dublin Trilogy #1.5]
It’s Christmas Eve and DS Bunny McGarry is in the mood to celebrate – he’s back on active duty having successfully proven that throwing a senior officer off a building was an appropriate step to take in the course of an investigation. However, his festivities are interrupted when someone attempts to assassinate him while he’s trying to take a leak – is nothing sacred?
The thing is, the assassin isn’t all he initially appears, and Bunny soon finds himself in a race against time to trace a kidnapped child before the people who ordered the hit realise that he is considerably less dead than they had hoped.
Bunny is making a list but he’s only checking it once because time is of the essence and some people need a refresher in the meaning of Christmas.
Jack Daniels is about to learn that evil doesn’t mellow with age.
Last Christmas [Oddjobs #2.5]
Heide Goody & Iain Grant
Over the rooftops of the city at Christmas, Krampus is stealing children, but has he got the correct paperwork?
Rod and Nina from the secret government organisation responsible for managing incomprehensible horrors are called from the office party to intervene.
A short story in the Oddjobs universe that tries to answer the age-old question: what Christmas present do you get for the demon who has everything?
The Nightingale Before Christmas [Meg Langslow #18]
As the holidays draw near in Caerphilly, Mother volunteers to take part in in a big Christmas-themed decorator show house—each room of a temporarily untenanted house is decorated to the hilt by a different decorator for the public to tour. Of course, Mother insists that Meg pitch in with the organization, and she finds herself surrounded by flamboyant personalities with massive egos clashing and feeling their professional reputations are at stake. Then the rooms start to be sabotaged, and an unfortunate designer turns up dead—making Mother a prime suspect. Can Meg catch the real killer in time to save Mother the indignity of arrest?
The brilliantly funny and talented Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. Cozies make excellent stocking-stuffers, and The Nightingale Before Christmas is guaranteed to put the “ho ho hos” into the holidays for the legions of fans hungry for another Christmas book featuring Meg Langslow. Donna has won many awards for this very popular series, and continues to come up with new hilarious adventures for her endearing heroine. The novel is full of superb screwball comedy as well as Donna’s trademark crisp plotting, not to mention bushels of holiday cheer–it wouldn’t be the most wonderful time of the year without it.
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream
Edited by Christopher Golden
Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more.
That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children–Want and Ignorance–beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts.
Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.