So I finally got around to reading Krampus by Gerald Brom and was so into it I read it all in one go. Totally worth it.
So Krampus is yet another delightfully twisted and macabre tale from Brom, a fresh and dark tale of Christmas time involving everyone’s favourite Santa Claus and the spirit of Yule, Krampus. It also involves a down on his luck songwriter struggling through harsh times and suddenly thrown into a world of gods, mysticism and magic. Everything seems to be spiralling out of control for our hero Jesse, the local crime lord and corrupt police chief are both out for his blood after a drug run gone bad and now he suddenly finds himself amongst the Belsnickels, Krampus’s servants. What most puzzles him though is why Santa Claus is trying to kill Krampus and his Belsnickels. However Jesse soon realizes that the servants of the Yule spirit are more than mere monsters, that they mostly serve him willingly and once had lives of their own before joining Krampus in his bid to slay Santa and return the magic of Yule to the land. Meanwhile Jesse must find a way to rescue his estranged wife and daughter from the hands of the corrupt police chief and avoid being caught in the crossfire of a centuries old feud.
This book lures you in then grips you by the collar before dragging you along a path full of twists, turns and spiralling madness before bringing you to a thrilling climax and finally slowly lowering you exhausted to the floor. Brom uses every power in his literary arsenal to keep you guessing and keep you hooked through every page until you are left staring at the book in wonderment. Truly the spirit of Yule springs from the pages as though the mischievous Krampus sought to pull you into his world too.
Well worth the time of anyone and a new favourite of mine.
“The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as, on Christmas eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be….”
As mentioned previously on this Tumblr blog, Christmas Eve was originally the time to tell scary stories; it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th Century that Halloween became the spooky season. And, thanks to Tim Burton’s classic animated muscial, The Nightmare Before Christmas, the ties between the two holidays are seemingly tighter than ever with one bleeding into the other: one day the stores are decked out in orange and black, the next it’s all red and green. It goes to prove just because Halloween is over, it doesn’t mean your horror reading has to end.
The two most popular ghost stories in English literature both have a Christmas setting. Henry James’s The Turn of The Screw, whose opening lines are quoted above, and Charles Dickens’ immortal A Christmas Carol, which every living person has either read, heard, or seen an adaptation, although some quite bowlderized. Famous Scrooge’s include Alastair Sim, George C. Scott, Albert Finney, Michael Caine, Fred Flintstone, and Daffy Duck. New this season from Penguin Classics, The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol, in which the devil steals away the moon in order to wreck havoc on the village of Dikanka and seduce the beautiful Oksana, but he must do battle with the local blacksmith Vakula, his chief rival for her affections. A classic of Slavic literature, the story is still read aloud to children on Christmas Eve throughout Russia and Ukraine. Another Yuletide beastie can be found in the aritist Brom’s novel, Krampus: The Yule Lord. Set in Appalachia, it is a twisted fairytale about a failed West Virginia songwriter who gets ensnared on Christmas Eve in an eternal war between Saint Nick and his dark enemy Krampus, aka Black Peter, an ancient trickster demon. And in NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, the evil Charles Talent Manx uses his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith to abduct children to Christmasland, where nothing bad happens.