cover image Secret Santa

Secret Santa

Andrew Shaffer. Quirk, $15.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-68369-205-8

The latest black comedy from satirist Shaffer (Hope Never Dies) is a spirited holiday horror novel shot through with ’80s nostalgia. In 1986, horror fiction editor Lussi Meyer interviews for a position at the illustrious publishing house Blackwood-Patterson, a firm so highbrow that it’s about to shut down due to a lack of sales. Though the snobbish Mr. Blackwood scoffs at genre fiction, he hires Lussi and tasks her with finding a bestselling horror novel that will save Blackwood-Patterson from dissolution. As Lussi starts work, she becomes the victim of a series of office pranks, and at the company’s Christmas party she receives a mysterious Secret Santa present: a German doll that looks like the Devil. Soon thereafter, something begins picking off Lussi’s new coworkers, which Lussi suspects is connected to the doll. As the murders grow increasingly violent, Lussi tries to get rid of the doll once and for all—but it may take her and the company down with it. Writing with a biting, dry wit, Shaffer blends old school, B-movie gore and sharp send-ups of office politics and the publishing industry. Fans of classic slasher novels will revel in this blood-soaked romp. (Nov.)