Christmas Askew

This Christmas why not curl up in front of the fire with your hot toddy and one of these great non-traditional holiday stories? They're good for a laugh, a tingle, a thrill or a scare. These aren't your father's warm, fuzzy, "I'll be home for Christmas" sentimental reads!

The Spy Who Came for Christmas

By David Morrell

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As holiday celebrations take place in Santa Fe, Agent Paul Kagan is on the run with a baby the Russian mafia wants to destroy and turns to a mother and her young son for help during a violent night where they all must work together to keep the child safe from harm.

 

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Visions of Sugar Plums

By Janet Evanovich

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"It's five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn't got a tree. She hasn't bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment.

And there's a strange man in her kitchen.

"Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. Strangers, weirdos, felons, creeps, and lunatics are always finding their way to her front door. But this guy is different. This guy is mysterious, sexy--and he has his own agenda. His name is Diesel and he is a man on a mission. And Diesel is unlike anyone Stephanie has ever met before in her life. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn't look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant?

"These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas "surprise" for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn't believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style."

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The Stupidest Angel: A Heart-warming Tale of Christmas Terror

By Christopher Moore

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"Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he's not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn't run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead. But hold on! There's an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It's none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say "Kris Kringle," he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen."

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The Good Remains

By Nani Power

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"...a slyly addictive story that introduces a beguiling cross section of characters in a small Virginia village, all of whom are destined to collide in an unusual confluence of events in the days leading up to Christmas. Dr. C. R. Ash, a neonatologist and chronic bachelor, is a man in the winter of his soul, and last in the line of an old Southern family. During a snowy prelude to a much-anticipated hospital Christmas party, C.R. crosses paths with a world of local characters, living and dead: Betty, his fire-fearing secretary and her cohort; Dr. Pendleton Compton, C.R.'s lascivious best friend who mends the hearts of babies; Kirsten, a candy striper who teeters between the worlds of childhood and child rearing; a clutch of death-obsessed teenagers; and two amateur caterers striving to create a Dickensian world of magic for the overworked and bedraggled hospital staff.

"In a town adrift with housing developments, strip malls, and Civil War history, this motley assemblage of characters are all impelled by their search to solve the ancient human riddles of love, loss, and desolation."

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Santa and Pete: A Novel of Christmas Present and Past

By Christopher Moore and Pamela Johnson

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A bus driver takes his grandson along on Saturdays as he travels a historical route around New York City. What comes out of these travels is a series of wonderful adventures that culminates on Christmas Eve, when the bus gets stuck in a snowstorm.

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Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For An Enlightened Yuletide Season

By James Finn Garner

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Stories include such gems as: "Twas the Night Before Solstice," "Frosty the Persun of Snow," and "Rudolph the Nasally Empowered Reindeer."

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A Christmas Grace

By Anne Perry

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With Christmas just around the corner, Thomas Pitt's sister-in-law, Emily Radley, is suddenly called from London to be with her dying aunt. Leaving her husband and two children behind, Emily makes the long journey to an all-but-forgotten town in the county of Connemara, on the western coast of Ireland. She soon discovers that a tragic legacy haunts the once close-knit community.

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Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop : 'tis the Season to be Deadly: Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem from 17 Masters of Suspense

By Otto Penzler, editor

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Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present.  Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume: Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying.

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Holmes for the Holidays

By Martin H. Greenberg and Jon L. Lellenberg and Carol-Lynn Waugh, editors

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A brilliant collection of fourteen original Holmes stories written by today's premier mystery writers. Each story features Holmes and Watson, festively solving the darkest of crimes in the brightest of seasons. Also try the sequel, More Holmes for the Holidays.

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Hogfather: A Novel of Discworld

By Terry Pratchett

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Who would want to harm Discworld's most beloved icon?
Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless -- and oddly familiar -- universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. And there's something shady going on involving an uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassins' Guild and certain representatives of Ankh-Morpork's rather extensive criminal element. Suddenly Discworld's entire myth system is unraveling at an alarming rate. Drastic measures must be taken, which is why Death himself is taking up the reins of the fat man's vacated sleigh . . . which, in turn, has Death's level-headed granddaughter, Susan, racing to unravel the nasty, humbuggian mess before the holiday season goes straight to hell and takes everyone along with it.

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