Book Review: Ghosts of Christmas Present

Tuesday 9 December 2014 by

Ghosts of Christmas Present, J.R. Rain, Christmas, Book

Ghosts of Christmas Present: A Dead Detective Short Story by J. R. Rain

This fun, festive themed short story collection from Curiosity Quills features three short stories and also the first chapters of two other books as teaser tasters.

First up was Ghosts of Christmas Present by J. R. Rain, a short story that follows on from the events in his novel The Dead Detective. I haven’t read the first novel but it didn’t matter as Ghosts of Christmas Present was strong enough to stand alone, giving you enough information to understand what was going on even if you didn’t have any previous knowledge of the characters.

I loved the main character – her undead-but-pregnant-with-a-live-baby status making her super interesting – and the fact that she existed half in the ‘real’ world and half in the land of the dead was really effective.

The story was sweet, it made me smile to myself as I read. A simple tale of a rubbish, lonely Christmas turning into something unexpected and a bit less rubbish was heart-warming and the sort of feel good that you want at this time of year.

Next up was Christmas In The Morgue by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr., a short story based in the world of his novel The Department Of Magic. Again, I came to this having not read the main novel and again, it didn’t matter.

I really enjoyed this story – it was a touch gruesome at times but often in an almost comical way and the variety of characters was brilliant.

The two children, Tinkerbell and Ariel (who is definitely NOT a girl!), are deliciously creepy right from the start and their characters only get better as the story goes on. I giggled out loud at a couple of points and the ending was both funny and quite a clever twist – not quite as fluffily Christmassy as the first story but still plenty festive enough.

The first chapters of The Dead Detective and The Department of Magic are featured at the end of the book and, along with the short stories, they really whet your appetite for the full size novels. The Dead Detective seems like a great twist on crime and ghost novels and The Department of Magic has a great supernatural twist going on in a small, presumably secret, government department.

Along with these there was another completely stand-alone festive short story by J. R. Rain called Zombie App.

A tale of two teens who head out to the city cemetery on a dark Christmas night because they are bored and want to try looking for ghosts using an app on their phones and inadvertently wake up all the residents, Zombie App was simple but amusing.

The only trouble was, it felt like it had been rushed. There was at least one incident where the author got the two main characters names the wrong way round, words were missed out and there was a whole lot of ‘I can list all of the latest technology in my story, look at me!’ moments. I’m not sure how many times it was mentioned that the two phones involves were an iPhone and a Galaxy Note 4 but it was enough that I still haven’t forgotten a couple of days on. It felt like the whole piece was sponsored by them and the Xbox One which spoiled it a little.

That aside, as a fun, Christmas zombie romp it was pretty good and I enjoyed reading it.

Over all Ghosts Of Christmas Present was an enjoyable supernatural Christmas read that entertained me whilst I ate my lunch for a couple of days and left me feeling a bit Christmassy – not something I usually get from ghosts and zombies!!

You can follow Carole on Twitter: @caroleheidi

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