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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Secret Santa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    Thank Krampus for Christmas horror. I could just read any ol' books during December-just like I could watch any ol' movies too--but why would I do that when I can read and watch Christmas books and movies? There is absolutely nothing quite like sitting by the fire in the glow of the Christmas tree reading bloody, gory things with a holiday theme. SECRET SANTA is a horror-comedy set in the '80s. A mash-up of all the camp and fun of GREMLINS laced with office humor/drama. Lussi Meyer is an editor la Thank Krampus for Christmas horror. I could just read any ol' books during December-just like I could watch any ol' movies too--but why would I do that when I can read and watch Christmas books and movies? There is absolutely nothing quite like sitting by the fire in the glow of the Christmas tree reading bloody, gory things with a holiday theme. SECRET SANTA is a horror-comedy set in the '80s. A mash-up of all the camp and fun of GREMLINS laced with office humor/drama. Lussi Meyer is an editor laid off from one publisher and desperate to find employment with another publisher. Horror is the hottest genre and Lussi finds herself accepting a position with the impossible task of 'finding the next Stephen King'. Shaffer's writing is sharp and witty with a sense of humor that appeals to me. He perfectly captures the spirit of being the new girl in an office with a very tight inner-circle. As the title suggests, an office Christmas party, complete with a White Elephant gift exchange is the start of Lussi's horror journey. I think Shaffer strikes a delicate balance with the comedy and the horror, much like Quirk's star black comedy writer, Grady Hendrix. However, I wanted the volume turned up a hair more on the horror and dialed back on the slow-burning plot set-up. I enjoyed the German "Christmas Witch" folklore and all the '80s slasher 'one-by-one' kill scenes but it was more campy than scary. This is a character driven novel dripping with more sarcasm and wit than blood, but it's wildly entertaining and if you're like me and you LOVE Holiday Horror, this is as good as it gets.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    3.5 stars. This was a lot of fun! And I loved the author’s sense of humour. 80s horror is always gonna be a win for me — I just wish it was a little darker, perhaps?! Full review to come.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

    There’s a lot of big hair in this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    *Many thanks to Edelweiss, Quirk Books, and Andrew Shaffer for a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review!* Lussi Meyer has always been in publishing, and lives for horror. When she gets let go from her previous indie pub house (after it's acquired by the one of the Big Guys), she sets her sights on Blackwood-Patterson...the only game in town that might have her, determined to bring the 80's horror craze along with her and skyrocket the publishing house to fame along the way. Once she ge *Many thanks to Edelweiss, Quirk Books, and Andrew Shaffer for a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review!* Lussi Meyer has always been in publishing, and lives for horror. When she gets let go from her previous indie pub house (after it's acquired by the one of the Big Guys), she sets her sights on Blackwood-Patterson...the only game in town that might have her, determined to bring the 80's horror craze along with her and skyrocket the publishing house to fame along the way. Once she gets hired at Blackwood, however, she ends up with far more than she bargained for---a cadre of coworkers who don't take kindly to her and a strange package addressed to her at the Secret Santa gift exchange...that nobody wants to claim. Once the bodies start collecting, however, Lussi fears that the mysterious doll she received might be at the center of the nightmare. Can her friend and oh-so-fabulous author Fabien help her discover the demonic origins of the doll and its true intentions long enough for her to keep her coveted position....and keep the building, the company, and its inhabitants alive? I have always been a fan of campy, schlocky 80's-style horror, so when I heard about this Secret Santa gift exchange gone horrifically wrong...in the PUBLISHING world no less? I was completely sold. However, while the 80's references were certainly in your face at times (TEDDY RUXPIN! SHOULDER PADS!), there wasn't much camp to be found here for me, and I only recorded one snicker throughout the entire book. Something about this humor just didn't click. Granted, the comparisons to The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires might be warranted since I didn't particularly enjoy that book either. This should have been a quick read, but it wasn't for me. The one bright spot was all of the insights and jibes at the quirks of the publishing world: I found all of that snark and 'insider info' more interesting than the book itself. While this book didn't work for me, I do think it would have made a FANTASTIC Tales From the Crypt episode...maybe in another lifetime! 3.5 ⭐️

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Chaney

    Thank you Quirk Books for sending me a copy of Secret Santa in exchange for an honest review! My full thoughts can be seen in my CHRISTMAS HORROR recommendation video HERE. Christmas horror has been a favorite sub-genre of mine since I was a five-year-old watching The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time. That love only escalated when I saw the Tales from the Crypt episode called "And All Through The House" and the trashy horror masterpiece Silent Night, Deadly Night. I credit these film Thank you Quirk Books for sending me a copy of Secret Santa in exchange for an honest review! My full thoughts can be seen in my CHRISTMAS HORROR recommendation video HERE. Christmas horror has been a favorite sub-genre of mine since I was a five-year-old watching The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time. That love only escalated when I saw the Tales from the Crypt episode called "And All Through The House" and the trashy horror masterpiece Silent Night, Deadly Night. I credit these films for getting me hooked on Christmas horror, but I do have a big problem with it... There isn't nearly enough to read or watch. Fortunately, it seems Andrew Shaffer and the fine folks at Quirk Books knew I needed more Christmas horror in my life, and I needed it to be set in the '80s with lots of vintage horror references. They nailed it on the head with Secret Santa. This book IS me. It is quirky, spooky fun with a retro flare and a love of all things vintage horror. The terror is wrapped up nice and tight with total hilarity, leading me to not just laugh, but guffaw on several occasions. Therefore, I can easily recommend this to the chickens of the world who are still curious to try horror. Secret Santa is just spooky enough without scaring the baby bejesus out of you. But at the end of the day, Secret Santa is for the horror nerds out there who are well-versed in vintage horror! If this is you, you owe it to yourself to pick up Secret Santa before the arrival of next Christmas. A total 5 stars from me!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maximilian Birner

    This was a decent holiday read, but it could've used a rewrite in a lot of areas. I loved the setting of this old literary publishing company and our protagonist, but there wasn't enough intrigue or a creepy factor that could keep me interested. It's length probably should excuse it's very slow-paced first half, but I actually found myself enjoying that part the most while being introduced to the characters. There was a lot of something going on in the second half, and from there I thought it de This was a decent holiday read, but it could've used a rewrite in a lot of areas. I loved the setting of this old literary publishing company and our protagonist, but there wasn't enough intrigue or a creepy factor that could keep me interested. It's length probably should excuse it's very slow-paced first half, but I actually found myself enjoying that part the most while being introduced to the characters. There was a lot of something going on in the second half, and from there I thought it derailed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I was so excited to read this – I love books set in the publishing world, I love trash horror, and I love short novels. Perfect. Unfortunately, I didn't find this scary or horrific at all – it's clear that the author usually writes crime novels, as this felt a lot more like a crime novel with some schlocky horror elements (specifically: Nazi devil doll) tacked on. And I LIKE schlocky horror, but I think if you're going to use it, then it has to be a central part of the story – and it has to be a I was so excited to read this – I love books set in the publishing world, I love trash horror, and I love short novels. Perfect. Unfortunately, I didn't find this scary or horrific at all – it's clear that the author usually writes crime novels, as this felt a lot more like a crime novel with some schlocky horror elements (specifically: Nazi devil doll) tacked on. And I LIKE schlocky horror, but I think if you're going to use it, then it has to be a central part of the story – and it has to be actually scary. I hope that this is part of a series (like the Hammer Horror novellas) and there will be more by different authors. I love the setting of the 1980s horror novel boom, and I love the format – I just want my horror fiction to be actually scary.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kaycee Sterling

    I’m giving this book 5 stars because it was exactly what I needed! I really wanted a Christmas book but I’m not really into contemporary holiday books. I love creepy so what better than a holiday horror story! It was a quick read and surprisingly funny! If holiday horror sounds better than a holiday romance then I think you’ll love it too!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

    This is the very first book I've ever won from a Goodreads giveaway! Big thanks goes out to Goodreads as well as the author and publisher. This was a really fun book to read. It was also fairly cheesy but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I felt like there was some good humor at times too. I wouldn't really say it's super scary. There were some creepy parts and some gory parts too. I enjoyed all the 80s references. I respect that the author states Stephen King was a big influence. As long as y This is the very first book I've ever won from a Goodreads giveaway! Big thanks goes out to Goodreads as well as the author and publisher. This was a really fun book to read. It was also fairly cheesy but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I felt like there was some good humor at times too. I wouldn't really say it's super scary. There were some creepy parts and some gory parts too. I enjoyed all the 80s references. I respect that the author states Stephen King was a big influence. As long as you know not to take it too seriously, you should enjoy this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    Review to come

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    First off, can we all take a second to appreciate how fabulous and Gremlins like this cover is? Good, now that you’ve feasted your eyes, listen to me gush about this FANTASTIC Christmas horror. Now I’m not a huge fan of Christmas so I was hesitant to pick this book up despite seeing it all over #bookstagram but I’m so damn glad I did because I loved it SO much. This is the kind of Christmas story I can get behind where there’s mysterious creepy gifts and coworkers suddenly dying in weird, awful First off, can we all take a second to appreciate how fabulous and Gremlins like this cover is? Good, now that you’ve feasted your eyes, listen to me gush about this FANTASTIC Christmas horror. Now I’m not a huge fan of Christmas so I was hesitant to pick this book up despite seeing it all over #bookstagram but I’m so damn glad I did because I loved it SO much. This is the kind of Christmas story I can get behind where there’s mysterious creepy gifts and coworkers suddenly dying in weird, awful ways. I was just so sucked into this book and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I felt like I was a kid running down the stairs at the speed of light to see what Santa left me. And if what he left me is this book then I’m one happy horror loving nerd! The beginning was perfect, the middle was perfect, the end was perfect, THE WHOLE BOOK WAS PERFECT. It gave me Edgar Allan Poe vibes and Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix vibes all mixed together and it was such a perfect combination. I could gush on and on but I’ll stop here before I embarrass myself and just urge you to give yourself the gift of this book for Christmas!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    DNF at 40%. So far, the only real horror Secret Santa has to offer is the '80s nostalgia name-dropping ala Peter Clines and the cutesy-coy attempts at humor writing (ex. "Lussi's finely honed publishing instincts told her the basement was probably going to be downstairs."). Is anything spooky or frightening going to happen? I don't know, but I kind of doubt it at this point. And no, an attempted jump scare over a mouse in the basement doesn't fucking count. I'm out! DNF at 40%. So far, the only real horror Secret Santa has to offer is the '80s nostalgia name-dropping ala Peter Clines and the cutesy-coy attempts at humor writing (ex. "Lussi's finely honed publishing instincts told her the basement was probably going to be downstairs."). Is anything spooky or frightening going to happen? I don't know, but I kind of doubt it at this point. And no, an attempted jump scare over a mouse in the basement doesn't fucking count. I'm out!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I would not call this horror. It isn't, well, scary. There is nothing shocking or even thrilling about it. I think the book's problem, outside of the horror label (it is fantasy) is that it almost wants to be a parody but isn't. But it should be. I would not call this horror. It isn't, well, scary. There is nothing shocking or even thrilling about it. I think the book's problem, outside of the horror label (it is fantasy) is that it almost wants to be a parody but isn't. But it should be.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... Lussi Meyer is a genre-fiction editor who is let go from her job as an editor at the horror publishing house Broken Angel when they are bought out by a larger publishing company. Lussi has been turned down by every other publishing house to which she has applied for a job before she finally lands an interview at the renowned Literary fiction publishing house Blackwood-Patterson. Blackwood-Pat This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... Lussi Meyer is a genre-fiction editor who is let go from her job as an editor at the horror publishing house Broken Angel when they are bought out by a larger publishing company. Lussi has been turned down by every other publishing house to which she has applied for a job before she finally lands an interview at the renowned Literary fiction publishing house Blackwood-Patterson. Blackwood-Patterson wasn’t a publishing house that Lussi had ever remotely considered working for, but she has no other option and the interview is her last chance, the last roll of the dice if she is to stay in the publishing industry. If she fails to get the job then, with no savings left and rent to pay it will be back to waiting on tables for Lussi. Blackwood-Patterson is a distinguished publishing house with a long and storied history. They have a very elitist view, they don’t care about Lussi’s track record of editing multiple horror best sellers that featured and stayed for weeks on end on the ‘New York Times Best Sellers list’. To them ‘paperback‘ is a dirty world and horror, the genre that Lussi loves, specialises in and edits, like the rest of genre fiction, is seen as nothing more than popular drivel, less than and below the level of the literary fiction that they, themselves publish. Mr Blackwood has no interest in hiring Lussi, she isn’t right for the job or the right fir for Blackwood-Patterson and he already has the ideal candidate picked out and ready for the job. Lussi’s interview is simply going through the motions for the sake of appearances. Fate intervenes and a series of events ends with a subsequent job offer for Lussi to become the new senior editor at Blackwood-Patterson. There is, however a catch, it is the beginning of December and the job is only offered to Lussi on a temporary basis until the end of the fiscal year. As a company, Blackwood-Patterson is in bad shape, they are old-fashioned, snobbish, mired in the past and they haven’t moved with the times. The company hasn’t turned a profit in years, they are suffering from a lack of sales and it has been even longer since they had a ‘bestseller’ published. If they are to survive, they need to turn things around, they need money and they need a ‘hit’ book. To make the editorial position permanent Lussi is given a specific directive. It’s 1986, horror fiction has exploded, it is the biggest-selling genre and even though genre fiction goes against everything that the stuffy and snobbish publishing house stands for. Lussi is tasked with finding the next horror superstar, the next Stephen King, the next mega-selling book and she needs to sign them to Blackwood-Patterson to save the company. Lussi is an outsider, a pariah who, hailing from genre fiction comes from a different world to the rest of her peers at Blackwood-Patterson, she doesn’t fit in, office politics are at play, her colleagues aren’t very friendly towards, treating her with a lack of respect and shunning her. In the few weeks that she has been employed she has been the victim of mean-spirited office pranks and hazing as the new member of staff. A Secret Santa, started before Lussi arrived at the publishing house has been running. As a recent recruit, Lussi missed out in taking part, but along with all of the other employees who participated in the festivities a present has been mysteriously left for her beneath the tree. With a sense of bewilderment and dread as to what the gift might be and expecting another cruel prank and a laugh at her expense, at the office Christmas party Lussi reluctantly opens the gift and immediately recognises what is inside. The box contains a Percht, a German devil doll that, on the day of her interview was inside Mr Blackwood’s office. While Lussi knows what the gift is, she doesn’t understand why someone has given her the doll or what it means. Soon after, bizarre incidents start to plague not just Lussi, but the entirety of Blackwood-Patterson and her colleagues start falling victim to horrific accidents. Lussi begins to suspect that there is evil lurking within the walls of the Blackwood building and that it has something to do with the Percht doll that she received from the anonymous Secret Santa exchange. With the help of Fabien Nightingale, one of her former authors at Broken Angel she sets out to uncover the truth behind the doll and who gave it to her in the hope that it will stop what is happening at Blackwood-Patterson. There are a few scenes of a darker and more graphic nature in Secret Santa and while it is creepy, it isn’t overly scary or frightening, it’s not that type of horror. Instead, what you get is a short, snappy and fast-paced read that is part black comedy and part family-friendly horror (if you think of the classic film Gremlins then you would be on the right track). Secret Santa is set in a publishing house during the horror boom of the 1980s and features an eclectic mix of characters, a setting that is extremely atmospheric and a story that is splattered with wry nods and references that bring the decade to life. Simply, it is a highly entertaining dose of nostalgia-filled fun that exudes a dark charm and I loved everything about it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "Horror took you right to the precipice, where you could stare into the darkness without falling in. Without losing yourself. She enjoyed that feeling, giving death the finger." This was cheesy 80’s holiday horror at its finest! It’s no secret, like at all, that I don’t like Christmas. It’s one of the worst holidays in my opinion. But will I wish people a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and celebrate the holiday with friends and family? Yes, I’m not a complete dick. But I do love horror and by "Horror took you right to the precipice, where you could stare into the darkness without falling in. Without losing yourself. She enjoyed that feeling, giving death the finger." This was cheesy 80’s holiday horror at its finest! It’s no secret, like at all, that I don’t like Christmas. It’s one of the worst holidays in my opinion. But will I wish people a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and celebrate the holiday with friends and family? Yes, I’m not a complete dick. But I do love horror and by that I mean, I love everything horror. And that’s right dear readers, even Christmas Horror. The cover is what caught my attention with this book. It reminded me of Black Christmas mixed with Critters with a dash of Puppet Master. After that, I knew that I needed this book in my life and part of my collection. Andrew takes you right into the weird and the bizarre from the first page. There’s no leading up to anything with him, it’s like diving head first into an icy pond. And if you make it past the prologue and think that it was weird, wait until you get further in. It only gets better and weirder as the pages go on. I was hooked. Secret Santa was a fantastic read. It was full of dark humor and a bizarre little critter who you can’t help but root for. This short read was bizarre, funny, and pure holiday gold. I love when authors don’t hold back on anything and write exactly what they want to. I really hope Andrew continues to write for the horror genre because I need more books like this one!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    crίѕтίŋα•●♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥●•

    3.5 Santa stars ⭐️ “Delusions are as contagious as viruses. They can replicate in populations in a similar manner.” - Fabien Nightingale -—- “All the best people are crazy” - Lussi Meyer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lizy

    Note: I received this book through Netgalley, so special thanks both to Netgalley and to Quirk Books. My full review is here. Lussi's the newest hire at Blackwood, a mysterious and half-defunct publishing house that she's tasked with saving within the first month of getting hired. Blackwood is a creepy place in a bad neighborhood. Lights regularly flicker, iron bars cover every window, and Lussi's coworkers are, well... strange. Then a mysterious secret Santa gifts Lussi a creepy Perchta doll, and Note: I received this book through Netgalley, so special thanks both to Netgalley and to Quirk Books. My full review is here. Lussi's the newest hire at Blackwood, a mysterious and half-defunct publishing house that she's tasked with saving within the first month of getting hired. Blackwood is a creepy place in a bad neighborhood. Lights regularly flicker, iron bars cover every window, and Lussi's coworkers are, well... strange. Then a mysterious secret Santa gifts Lussi a creepy Perchta doll, and the bodies start dropping. This is a gloriously done classic horror comedy perfect for fans of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, or for fully-grown Goosebumps fans looking for something more up to speed. I can't recommend this enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bob Lingle

    For fans of 80's campy horror films and novels, Andrew Shaffer's Secret Santa should be your holiday read. This light-hearted, but frightful novel will be a great binge read, while your family binge drinks around the yule log. For fans of 80's campy horror films and novels, Andrew Shaffer's Secret Santa should be your holiday read. This light-hearted, but frightful novel will be a great binge read, while your family binge drinks around the yule log.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Lussi Meyer is down on her luck, her and her friends have all been let go from their big publishing company right before the holidays. When Lussi sees an opportunity to work at Blackwood-Patterson she jumps at the offer, but not before the boss, Xaiver Blackwood, turns her down that he dies in her arms. His son now heir to the Blackwood-Patterson company hires Lussi without previous knowledge that his father turned her down. But the circumstances surrounding his fathers death and how it ties ba Lussi Meyer is down on her luck, her and her friends have all been let go from their big publishing company right before the holidays. When Lussi sees an opportunity to work at Blackwood-Patterson she jumps at the offer, but not before the boss, Xaiver Blackwood, turns her down that he dies in her arms. His son now heir to the Blackwood-Patterson company hires Lussi without previous knowledge that his father turned her down. But the circumstances surrounding his fathers death and how it ties back to Lussi is just the beginning. Anyone who follows my reviews, or me in general, knows that I am a HUGE horror fan. Any horror novel out there and I have probably heard of it and have tried reading it at some point. What I do know about Andrew Shaffer author of Secret Santa is that this is his first stab at writing horror. It definitely has the potential it was a fun book to get into. There was just something missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It did feel more like a mystery novel above all else so maybe that is why it felt off in general but the concept was fun. The book was in no way boring and the characters were well done. I found this to be a perfect holiday read, any other time I probably wouldn't pick it up to be honest. I think it is worth the shot if you want to take it. No pressure. Happy reading!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex | | findingmontauk1

    What a fun, quick horror story centered around a Secret Santa gift exchange! Full review to come!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matt (TeamRedmon)

    Quite a fun and quick read. Full review to come.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Andrew Shaffer's 'Secret Santa' is positively riddled with the type of dark humor I've come to expect from Quirk Books. This was a fast and hilarious read that perhaps I enjoyed more than most because I work in publishing and now I want to buy a copy for all of my colleagues. No doubt, the 1980s witnessed a surge of readers hungry for horror fiction. In this dizzying world full of Stephen King wannabes, we meet ambitious genre editor, Lussi Meyer. Recently out of work, Lussi prepares for an inte Andrew Shaffer's 'Secret Santa' is positively riddled with the type of dark humor I've come to expect from Quirk Books. This was a fast and hilarious read that perhaps I enjoyed more than most because I work in publishing and now I want to buy a copy for all of my colleagues. No doubt, the 1980s witnessed a surge of readers hungry for horror fiction. In this dizzying world full of Stephen King wannabes, we meet ambitious genre editor, Lussi Meyer. Recently out of work, Lussi prepares for an interview with the prestigious publishing house - Blackwood Publishing. She is hired by the skin of her teeth, and in rapid order, Lussi finds herself at the center of one bad happening after another. She thinks it's all part of some elaborate "new hire" hazing, but Shaffer has something far more sinister in store for his main character. By the end, I was cackling with evil laughter. Based on the publicity copy, I was expecting more atmosphere for 'Secret Santa' that was perhaps reminiscent of Ira Levin's Sliver (if you like fiction about publishing and horror, I highly recommend it). However, I was quickly reminded that Shaffer doesn't really do extra work on atmosphere, and instead, relies on his readers to fill in those details. To that end, this is a character driven narrative that showcases Shaffer's sarcasm and wit at every turn. 'Secret Santa' reads like a love letter to 80s B-list horror at the height of its glory. Astute readers will enjoy subtle reference to films like Chucky and Gremlins. You'll revel in the glimpses into life in Reaganomics New York complete with gutter punks, Wall Street wolves, and fading remnants of the city's post-war glamour. Throw in a dose of Satanic Panic, smoke filled conference rooms, the sticky fog of AquaNet, a can of New Coke (with rum), and get on the 'Secret Santa' sleigh. Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bill Riggs

    Quick, fun, short Horror/Humor/Holiday read. Set in the 1980’s and chock-full of that decade’s horror nostalgia. When Lussi Meyer interviews for a publishing position she never dreamed she would be tasked with finding the next Stephen King and battling an ancient evil in order to save the company and herself.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    I mean... It was short? Even though I'm someone who hates both Christmas and comedy, I was expecting more of, well, both of those. The book wasn't funny. It wasn't campy or particularly gory or any of the fun stuff. For a book this short, it was rather slow, with a lackluster cast and some seriously missed opportunities. The plot was one of convenience rather than cohesion or real progression. Plus... Nothing was gained? But this isn't a one-star review. I loved the nods to horror culture and the I mean... It was short? Even though I'm someone who hates both Christmas and comedy, I was expecting more of, well, both of those. The book wasn't funny. It wasn't campy or particularly gory or any of the fun stuff. For a book this short, it was rather slow, with a lackluster cast and some seriously missed opportunities. The plot was one of convenience rather than cohesion or real progression. Plus... Nothing was gained? But this isn't a one-star review. I loved the nods to horror culture and the literary world. The frequent tides of vampire popularity (made even better by the way they come back at the end). The last reference to Vampire Academy in particular was gold; just because it was so incongruous. I also love that Lussi didn't immediately jump to any conclusions, even as she goes "hmm X, Y, and Z are very strange" and as the casualties start to build. I just feel like we didn't get enough depth. {Thank you Quirk Books and Edelweiss+ for the review copy; all thoughts are my own}

  25. 4 out of 5

    Verri.nice

    Cute and easy holiday pick but wasn't scary or funny. I dont know if ill pick up another Andrew Shaffer book. It was 3 stars just barely but the epilogue made me roll my eyes so far back into my head I nearly went blind. So I had to knock it down. Cute and easy holiday pick but wasn't scary or funny. I dont know if ill pick up another Andrew Shaffer book. It was 3 stars just barely but the epilogue made me roll my eyes so far back into my head I nearly went blind. So I had to knock it down.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ross Jeffery

    This was a fun little book. I really enjoyed the glance behind the veil of publishing and it is both astute and pretty accurate from my understanding, although this book is set in the 80’s it doesn’t look like a lot has changed in both the publishing world and the way these major publishing houses view horror. There were a great many things that for me were used as a tool for nostalgia - they worked but being used quite a lot became quite repetitive. But saying that I did enjoy reminiscing about This was a fun little book. I really enjoyed the glance behind the veil of publishing and it is both astute and pretty accurate from my understanding, although this book is set in the 80’s it doesn’t look like a lot has changed in both the publishing world and the way these major publishing houses view horror. There were a great many things that for me were used as a tool for nostalgia - they worked but being used quite a lot became quite repetitive. But saying that I did enjoy reminiscing about them, but maybe a few too many. Lussi Meyer is out of work and out of luck and so she attempts to get employed at her last choice publisher, and luckily for her a vacancy just opened but not by your usual means. There seems to be something guiding her way into this new publishing venture, something that’s got her back, something that will protect her at the expense of others. I really enjoyed the whole history behind her secret Santa present, the history of her gift was well worked out and grounded the story in some semblance of time and again had me thinking about the things I’d heard about this too through my own research into something I was writing (Nazi’s and the occult). There is a real supernatural vibe about this book, it’s horror and it’s dealt with well but I actually didn’t find it scary, many of the scenes we’ve seen hundreds of times before (was this the point - some sort of social commentary on the horror genre) but alas, I still want to be horrified when I read horror. The creepiness of the piece worked really well (the story developed well at the start) in my opinion, but there was a part in the book where some form of intervention happens and it felt so out of place, so forced that it did jump me out of the story - just because you can doesn’t mean you should and this came about two thirds of the way through and it annoyed me, for me it rubbished all the great work and building of tension that went before it and made it somewhat comedic in its approach. I know I know, comedy and horror work well, but when the horror is one type a slowly burning descent into the macabre this ‘intervention’ with plastic masks and all just bumped me out of the deftly crafted unease that was before it. And I tried to get back into the flow but it kinda spoiled for me where this books key was, that we were unsure of the dangers, kept in the dark, slowly discovering our protagonists worst fears - was she imagining it or was it really happening - a tightrope walk were we hold our breath. I enjoyed the Christmas vibe, and reading a seasonal book did get me excited for the season! If you’re after a fun read, and not one that takes itself too seriously then check out Secret Santa - thank you to Quirk Books for sending me a copy for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda (spooky.octopus.reads) Turner

    If you look up "Percht" and peruse the images, you will find a whole host of demon-like Krampus creatures that will have you keeping the fire hot and peering out of your windows into the cold December darkness. I know this, because I did exactly this. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book were the hints of German folklore...and that creepy doll...so, naturally I wanted to know more about the gift that Lussi was given. Lussi has been out of work for months, and she has just landed a (no If you look up "Percht" and peruse the images, you will find a whole host of demon-like Krampus creatures that will have you keeping the fire hot and peering out of your windows into the cold December darkness. I know this, because I did exactly this. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book were the hints of German folklore...and that creepy doll...so, naturally I wanted to know more about the gift that Lussi was given. Lussi has been out of work for months, and she has just landed a (not so) perfect job at Blackwood-Patterson. She is given the seemingly impossible task of finding the next Stephen King in order to save the company (and keep her job). Her new coworkers are a tight-knit, clique type group that doesn't allow her to just waltz in and assimilate; instead, they make Lussi the target of a few mean girl pranks. When the company hosts it's annual Christmas party, along with a Secret Santa gift exchange, Lussi is surprised to see a gift for her under the tree. The gift turns out to be more of a nightmare, and the horrors of Blackwood-Patterson escalate from there. The 80s vibes, campiness, and horror-humor really did it or me in this book. It was witty and funny, and had me giggling out loud a few times. Lussi is a character that we can all like and support, and she drives the story perfectly. The horror sprinkled throughout could have been poured on a little heavier for me, but if you're looking for a good dark holiday/wintery read, this is certainly one to put on your radar! **Thank you @quirkbooks for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.**

  28. 4 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “Horror took you right to the precipice, where you could stare into the darkness without falling in.” Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer is the fun holiday horror story about Lussi Meyer, a genre fiction editor who is in need of a new job fast and finds herself at an interview with the infamous Blackwood-Patterson. A publishing house she didn’t expect to end up at, Lussi finds herself working for this distinguished publishing company and goes through all the motions of working at a new office. Team t “Horror took you right to the precipice, where you could stare into the darkness without falling in.” Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer is the fun holiday horror story about Lussi Meyer, a genre fiction editor who is in need of a new job fast and finds herself at an interview with the infamous Blackwood-Patterson. A publishing house she didn’t expect to end up at, Lussi finds herself working for this distinguished publishing company and goes through all the motions of working at a new office. Team to meet, building to discover and unlucky for her something dark and unnerving that seems to be taunting her. Can Lussi ride it out or will she cave and leave? This book has been compared to The Office and The Shining. What this book does is it brings together 80s nostalgia through a funny B-movie style plot which becomes a mystery to be solved. The story is written during the height of horror in the 80s and the reader will come across several nods to horror books and movies. One thing is for certain there are many hilarious bits in this story. The dark humour is in the best and some of the most inappropriate places. The frightful moments will make the reader cringe as Lussi investigates the strange things going on in the building. Overall this was a fun holiday horror read, easy to devour, characters you will both love and hate, office politics with dark humour, mischief at play and ironically ideal to give to someone as a secret santa gift. Huge congrats to Andre Shaffer on it’s publication and thanks to @quirkbooks for sending me a copy of the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    ClaireJ

    This was such a fun book to read! It gave me all the 80s vibes. Please note that before you start reading this book, ensure that you take it with a pinch of salt. It is very far fetched as you would expect in this genre. It is pretty much a homage to the 80’s horror boom with some added wit. I found it so refreshing to read a Christmas book as unique as this instead of your usual romcom type stories. It is a character driven narrative and is a very quick read at just over 200 pages long and I di This was such a fun book to read! It gave me all the 80s vibes. Please note that before you start reading this book, ensure that you take it with a pinch of salt. It is very far fetched as you would expect in this genre. It is pretty much a homage to the 80’s horror boom with some added wit. I found it so refreshing to read a Christmas book as unique as this instead of your usual romcom type stories. It is a character driven narrative and is a very quick read at just over 200 pages long and I did feel that it was enough for this story. It concluded brilliantly which is something lately I have been missing in books. All you horror fans who desperately want a tongue in cheek Christmas holiday read that will appeal to you, then this is the book for you. Even if you are not a horror fan but would like something a bit different to read during the festive season, try this book. It is very retro and nostalgic with an eerie atmosphere.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway and I'm glad I did! This is a very entertaining horror-comedy novel and I could certainly see it made into one of those 80s scary movies that I loved as a teen. It's a quick read and I really liked the humor. Lussi made me chuckle more than once! If I could have my druthers I would have liked more horror and the ending seemed a bit rushed. But overall, a great read and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of horror who also appreciates a good sens I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway and I'm glad I did! This is a very entertaining horror-comedy novel and I could certainly see it made into one of those 80s scary movies that I loved as a teen. It's a quick read and I really liked the humor. Lussi made me chuckle more than once! If I could have my druthers I would have liked more horror and the ending seemed a bit rushed. But overall, a great read and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of horror who also appreciates a good sense of humor.

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