Reviewed by Kevin Kennedy
Christmas Horror Volume 2
Written by: Massie, O’Neill, Tem, Strand, Nolan, Chizmar
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Pages: 121 pages
I had received this book in one of the Dark Chapter Press grab bags. For any of you unfamiliar with these, they are like goodie bags for horror loving adults. You get a lucky dip of trade paperbacks and signed limited editions and one Kindle book for a reduced price. I purchased it just before Christmas and received the first edition of their Christmas anthology as my ebook, which I read right away and really enjoyed, but by the time I received the physical books it was January and I didn’t fancy reading Christmas themed horror any more. At the end of February however, the UK was hit with the Beast from the East storm, that caused me to have my second snow day as an adult. It seemed like a perfect day to get some reading done, once I had discovered that I couldn’t get to work and with everything outside being white, coupled with the fact that I had been reading submissions to the Christmas anthology that I am putting together, I decided that this book would be the perfect way to pass some time.
Christmas at the Pattersons by Elizabeth Massie
I’ve never read Elizabeth’s work before. I enjoyed this one but I didn’t love it. It’s an interesting little story line but I found myself bored at points, even though it’s a short.
Little Warriors by Gene O’Neill
Another author I have never read. I really enjoyed this little story. It’s a typical set up of a family in a snowed in cabin that gets broken into by burglars, but from their on the story takes a pretty different spin, from similar plots I’ve seen before. Some nice action and a little Gaelic mysticism. While I liked the storyline I found the language used between the characters a little emotionless.
I Saw Santa by Steve Rasnic Tem
I’ve never heard of this author before but he wrote my favourite story in the book. It’s a bizarro tale about a little boy who sees Santa Claus, but he isn’t as we all know him. It was both fun and really dark.
December Birthday by Jeff Strand
Strand is one of my favourite authors so I had high hopes for this story. As always with Strand you need to be able to suspend belief for a period of time as his stories are normally mental, as is this one. The story takes us through ten years of a man’s life who’s birthday happens to fall in December, and the struggles that people with December birthdays have. Strands work always has an element of humour and I think anyone who has a December birthday will have a giggle at this one.
A Note from Santa by William F. Nolan
This story is one page long. I do like a bit of flash fiction to be fair, and this was fun but just don’t expect a full short story. This is a few hundred words at most.
Silent Night by Richard Chizmar
I enjoy Chizmar’s work so I was looking forward to this one. I have read a lot of his short stories, and more recently, Gwendy’s Button Box, which was great. This was another great story and while I wouldn’t really say it was horror it had dark themes.
Overall this was an enjoyable, quick read. I would have liked it to be a little longer if I’m honest with a little more variety as it’s really only five short stories and a tiny flash piece. A good book but could have been better.