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Kelley Armstrong. Subterranean (, $28 (200p) ISBN 978-1-59606-423-2

Armstrong’s latest Otherworld novella wraps a straightforward urban fantasy tale in Christmas paper. Clayton and Elena head off to spend their Christmas vacation at a Canadian chalet, wanting to get in a “normal” family holiday with their four-year-old twins before precocious Kate and Logan figure out that Mom and Dad are werewolves. When unpleasant news comes knocking, Clay and Elena must set aside their picture-postcard dreams to hunt for a possible rogue werewolf in the nearby woods. Tight, quick, and often touching, the story comes to a highly satisfying and emotional ending. Armstrong’s werewolves have a gritty depth created by encounters with modern-day confusions, bureaucracies, and banalities, and though the tale at times feels too short when compared to the full-size Otherworld novels, series fans will find it a tasty holiday treat. (Jan.)