The Bookworm Sez
Look for something different? ‘Krampus’ offers holiday horror

“Krampus the Yule Lord” by Brom; c.2012, Harper Voyager; $27.99 / $29.99 Canada; 368 pages
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Ho, ho, ho-hum.

It’s almost Christmas, but you’re kinda wishing Christmas was over already. There’s too much faux-merry, too many bring-a-gift-to-pass parties, and enough fake-cheer to make your teeth ache. You’re tired of crowds and incessant jingly-belled music.

Seriously, if you hear that one Christmas song one more time….

You’d like to skip Christmas altogether and there’s one person who wishes you would. In the new book “Krampus the Yule Lord” by Brom, you’ll meet him.

Jesse Burwell Walker had been drinking, it was true. But he wasn’t hallucinating-drunk at 2 a.m. that West Virginia Christmas morning.

For real, he saw some dude in a red suit, running for his life

Terri Schlichenmeyer
from six gray-skinned, glowing-eyed creatures that jumped like deer and chased the red-suited guy to a sled yoked to reindeer. The sled flew up, the red-suited dude fighting the whole time until whomp! One of the devil-things fell right through Jesse’s trailer.

After the ambulance came and carted the gray-skinned thing away, Jesse went to see if his trailer had been damaged. There wasn’t much in there – it was supposed to be temporary anyway – but he found a red velvet bag.

The bag, which must’ve also fallen from the sled, seemed to billow and breathe. Its inside was black-as-black and Jesse could smell something dark in it. Still, he dared to reach into the bag and when he pulled out the exact toy he’d wanted to give his daughter, he knew he held something important.

Krampus’ Belsnickels were late.

He could be patient a little longer, though. He’d already waited 500 years to be released from the cave in which Santa Claus had imprisoned him, and after the Belsnickels returned with the velvet bag, Krampus would finally be free to get his revenge. But they came empty-handed, and he sent them back with a command they were powerless to refuse: bring the bag.

So they did, and they brought Jesse with them.

Held tight in the cave by devil-things, Jesse was more angry than frightened. He’d faced worse: Dillard, the crooked cop; the General, who practically ran Boone County. Heck, his wife’s leaving him was worse than these demons.

But when Krampus and the Belsnickels told Jesse that he was coming with them to kill Santa Claus, Jesse knew he had to escape…

Looking for a traditional warm-fuzzy for your holiday enjoyment? Ho, ho, no, this book is about as far from that as you can get.

Nope, “Krampus the Yule Lord” is dark and sometimes scary, with a few moments of humor and a hint of holiday hope. Author Brom loosely based his story on mythology and old European folklore, then placed it in an area known for “its long history of colorful characters.” That lends authenticity to the vile Yuletide magic of this anti-Christmas Christmas novel.

You’d better not shout. You’d better not cry, although this novel may make you want to do both. If you’re eager for something very different beneath the tree, “Krampus the Yule Lord” wraps up plenty of ho-ho-holiday horror.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.