“Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood… I, Krampus, Lord of Yule, son of Hel, bloodline of the great Loki, swear to cut your lying tongue from your mouth, your thieving hands from your wrists, and your jolly head from your neck.”
– Krampus by Brom
Krampus, the latest illustrated release from Brom (The Plucker, The Child Thief, et. al.), is nothing short of a black-hearted, instant holiday cult classic. A fusion of folklore and mythology, horror, and fantasy, those who experience this brilliant novel will never look at Santa Claus – or Christmas – the same way again.
It all starts in rural West Virginia early on Christmas morning. Jesse Walker, a 26-year old loser living in a rundown trailer park, is sitting in his truck with a bottle of whiskey contemplating suicide. A failed musician, Walker’s lack of confidence – and drive – has lead to him losing his beloved wife Linda and his five-year old daughter Abigail. He has literally got nothing left.
Chaos ensues and Walker, who is on parole, escapes to his trailer as police begin arriving at the scene. When he discovers that Santa’s sack has crashed through his roof and landed in his bedroom, his life changes forever.
The sack is magical – but it won’t give Walker what he wants the most: to get his wife and daughter back. In fact, it gets him entangled in a millennia-long conflict between gods that could very well kill all of them.
The destinies of Jesse Walker and Krampus become intertwined as Walker tries to save his wife and daughter from a crooked cop and Krampus plots his revenge on Santa Claus.
Powered by methamphetamine and mistletoe and featuring Norse deities and hillbilly crime lords, this bloody, breakneck paced novel explores some deep themes, namely the power of belief. Walker’s story, for example, is ultimately a heartwarming one as he finally begins to understand and utilize that power…
“Christmas is an abomination. A perversion! Yule is the true spirit of Mother Earth. Yule is the rebirth of the seasons. Without Yuletide, Mother Earth cannot heal herself… will wither and die. That is why it is so important that I reawaken the spirit within mankind. Help them to believe again…”
I absolutely loved this novel – and having Brom’s stunning illustrations complement every chapter made the experience unforgettable. Horror and fantasy fans alike will cherish this read – and I’ll say it again – this is destined to become a holiday cult classic.
Mark my words: next year, you’ll be telling your kids that they better be good because Krampus is coming to town.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.