Jesse is a down-on-his-luck musician not looking forward to spending Christmas alone, being that his wife and young daughter have left him. But he wasn’t prepared to see Santa Claus flying across the sky, much less Santa being attacked by dark imps (Belsnickels). But proof falls on his neighbor’s car (a Belsnickel, quite dead from the fall) and on his little trailer – Santa’s sack. The sack turns out to be a mixed blessing, as it gives him the present his daughter wants and he was unable to afford, but also gains him the attention of both Saint Nick and Krampus the Yule God. Both send their servants to track down the sack, and Jesse adds some supernatural activities to his ever-growing list of problems, which includes a corrupt cop intent on marrying his wife and a local drug lord who demands his assistance. Jesse finds an ally of sorts with Krampus. I loved the research that found its way into the story, the old Norse tales, and the recap of Brom’s interest in Krampus in the Afterward.
13. Deep Storm by Lincoln Child, 370 pages, Thriller, 2007.
Dr. Peter Crane is summoned to a joint military/scientist deep-water venture masked by an oil rig. The crew of this underwater outpost is having a wide range of symptoms, and it is his job to discover their ailment while many of his efforts are blocked by secrets and security concerns. The cover story is that they are looking for Atlantis; the truth is much stranger. Unlike many Preston/Child collaborations, this singular effort hits the ground running and doesn’t have time to look back. Nicely done.