I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer
Published by Quirk Books on November 10, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Humorous, General, Thrillers, Supernatural
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
The Office meets Stephen King, dressed up in holiday tinsel, in this fun, festive, and frightening horror-comedy set during the horror publishing boom of the ’80s, by New York Times best-selling satirist Andrew Shaffer.
Out of work for months, Lussi Meyer is desperate to work anywhere in publishing. Prestigious Blackwood-Patterson isn’t the perfect fit, but a bizarre set of circumstances leads to her hire and a firm mandate: Lussi must find the next horror superstar to compete with Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Peter Straub. It’s the ’80s, after all, and horror is the hottest genre.
But as soon as she arrives, Lussi finds herself the target of her co-workers' mean-spirited pranks. The hazing reaches its peak during the company’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange, when Lussi receives a demonic-looking object that she recognizes but doesn't understand. Suddenly, her coworkers begin falling victim to a series of horrific accidents akin to a George Romero movie, and Lussi suspects that her gift is involved. With the help of her former author, the flamboyant Fabien Nightingale, Lussi must track down her anonymous Secret Santa and figure out the true meaning of the cursed object in her possession before it destroys the company—and her soul.
Secret Santa was a mixed bag. A run of bad luck has hit Lussi Myer. She’s behind in her share of the rent, she’s lost her beloved editor role in a publishing house and she needs to find something fast! As you delve into this kind of dark comedy horror you realise that a lot of things aren’t as they seem. She lands the position of Senior Editor in the prominent publishing house of Blackwood-Patterson. Well, of course there is the small matter of her interview going horrendously and the boss taking a heart attack right in front of her. When she arrives at the hospital to visit him, she overhears his son on the phone confirming that Mr Blackwood is dead. She ends up getting the role by basically playing on the financial concerns of Mr Blackwood junior.
Despite the terrible circumstances of her gaining employment at the firm, Lussi is incredibly happy. She can make plans to pay her half the rent and just be comfortable. Quickly the events that are taking place in Secret Santa are quite frankly odd. There’s comments that no-one ever leaves their job, but the secretary that had been there for what seems like an eternity left the day after Mr Blackwood’s death. There is a strange atmosphere between the already ordained employees and Lussi, they almost seem numb behind the eyes, and then of course, there is what occurs at the secret Santa exchange.
Lussi has been given a gift even though she had just started her role and hadn’t been given a name to buy for. It appears someone is pranking her. She was given the mysterious doll that was in Mr Blackwood’s office on the day of his heart attack. Lussi being fully aware of these dolls as her grandmother owned one, knows that they can be used to ward off evil spirits. Its an odd gift to receive but she accepts none the less. Still the odd behaviours and events continue. A missing Stollen cake, a broken shin on the intern and the heart attack of the boss.
Secret Santa was a solid read, but I think the authors brand of comedy was lost on me. I know where he was trying to take it, but he shot way past it in my opinion. The eighties references were pretty cool, and I did get “The Southern Book Clubs Guide To Slaying Vampires” but I enjoyed that one better. The book was relatively short but did take me a while to get through because I just couldn’t completely gel with it.
ABOUT ANDREW SHAFFER
Andrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery, the international bestselling parody Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, and numerous other humorous works of genre fiction from mystery to horror. He is a four-time Goodreads Choice Award nominee and a two-time finalist in the Humor category.
He has appeared as a guest on NPR, FOX News, and CBS, and has been published in McSweeney’s, Mental Floss, and The Daily Beast.
He is the owner and creative director of Order of St. Nick, the quirky greeting card company whose cards have been featured on The Colbert Report. He also is the co-publisher of 8th Circle Press and Dime House, imprints of 8th Circle Entertainment.
Shaffer attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and studied comedy writing at The Second City, Chicago’s famed improv school. An Iowa native, Shaffer lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, novelist Tiffany Reisz. He teaches and mentors writers in person and online at Lexington’s Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning and at Louisville Literary Arts.
His latest book, Secret Santa: A Horror for the Holidays Novel, is available now from Quirk Books and Blackstone Audio in bookstores everywhere. His next release, the full-length poetry collection Look Mom I’m a Poet (and So Is My Cat), will be released in June 2021 by Dime House.