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There are more scares in this anthology than there are kids in Krampus’s basket! Grant Butler begins with a poem that introduces the malicious Krampus, as well as the collection’s themes of despair and retribution. Gary Buller’s “The Present,” the longest tale, shows the effect of a mysterious gift on an ordinary, middle-class family. Buller turns up the tension quickly, and has a knack for disturbing imagery. The kitchen scene will stick with me for a long time! “Snowman Town,” by Chris Powers, presents a unique supernatural force that wreaks havoc on a quiet town. It’s a quick read that left me wanting more. I’m hoping for a sequel, or a novella-length expansion. The next story, “Santa’s Bag,” by Mark Slade, reads like “Gremlins” meets “Street Trash.” (Anyone remember that one, with the melting hobos?) S.E. Casey’s “Sugarplums and Other Carrion” was perhaps the most disturbing and pessimistic story in this dark collection. In the climactic scene, a line about “dead weight” (you’ll know it when you read it) made my stomach churn. That kind of visceral reaction is a testament to the quality of Casey’s writing. The anthology closes with William Marchese’s “The Plasticization of Christmas,” a manic, psychosexual story featuring a Santa Claus who would probably get along with Patrick Bateman. The tongue-in-cheek play on a “picture perfect” Christmas provides a much-needed (albeit nervous) chuckle. Read this one in one setting, while your family is distracted by Trivial Pursuit or a viewing of It’s A Wonderful Life.