Once you begin reading these nine short stories, you will know that first line simply is not true. Steve Hockensmith loves Christmas, he loves writing about crime, and when he can combine the two, it's magic.
Sometimes when I see a book cover or a title, I just know that I'm going to love the book, and this is what happened to me with Naughty. The nine stories run the gamut of yuletide criminal activity, and you'll be hard pressed not to read the entire collection with a smile on your face.
"Fruitcake" is a grin-inducing tale about the love-crazed shenanigans of an old woman in a nursing home. A young woman hired as an elf in a shopping mall tells us how "I Killed Santa Claus." The guy in the office that we all love to hate has an interesting experience with his "Secret Santa." In "Humbug" we learn that Scrooge is dead. A gift wrapper in the mall decides to get even with a "Naughty" lecher. In perhaps the most touching of the tales, a little girl and her even younger brother find a gift in their mother's closet in "Hidden Gifts." There's a plot against Santa in "Red Christmas," and two dim-witted burglars attempt to rob a church on Christmas Eve in "Naiveté." The last tale, "Special Delivery," about a trucker trying to deliver a shipment of Cabbage Patch dolls in time for Christmas, struck a special chord with me, since I worked retail during that particular toy craze. Occasionally characters from one tale will appear in another, and you'll greet them with a smile and a "Hey, I know you!"
These stories are little marvels that induce smiles, laughs, tender feelings, personal memories-- everything that the holiday season is about. It's a bonus for all crime fiction fans that they also contain a little murder and mayhem. I urge you all to read these short stories, and-- when you do-- read every bit of them: acknowledgements, notes, dedications... every single solitary scrap. You see, Steve Hockensmith sprinkles joy and laughter throughout the entire collection, and I wouldn't want you to miss a single comma, dot, or dash.
Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime by Steve Hockensmith
CreateSpace © 2012
Paperback, 212 pages
Humor, Short Stories
Source: Downloaded as an eBook from Amazon.