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Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime Paperback – May 12, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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About the Author

Steve Hockensmith is the author of the New York Times bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. He is also the author of several non-New York Times bestsellers, including the Nero Award finalist The Crack in the Lens, the Edgar, Shamus, Dilys and Anthony Award finalist Holmes on the Range, the Audie Award finalist Dreadfully Ever After and the not-nominated-for-anything-but still-quite-entertaining Dear Mr. Holmes and Blarney: 12 Tales of Lies, Crime & Mystery. You can learn more about him, his books and his ego at www.stevehockensmith.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477421858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477421857
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,077,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jonathan A. Turner VINE VOICE on November 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
How many people do you know who can write a funny copyright page? If you answered "none," you need to read more Steve Hockensmith.

_Naughty_ is a consistent, very good short-story collection. Several of the stories are share characters, but other than that the only similarities among them are thematic. Namely: irony, black humor, tight construction, quick pacing, and (of course) Christmas.

Most of the pieces here could be described more as "crime stories" than as "mysteries" per se. They're reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, with maybe a little Elmore Leonard--the biter is bit, the wicked (who are not exactly Napoleons of Crime) are hoist by their own petards, the dialog is snappy, and the protagonists are caught up in events rather against their will. The exception is "Humbug," a little gem that (rather like Jasper Fforde's _The Fourth Bear_) takes the rigorous logic of the traditional detective story into places where it was never supposed to poke its nose. Every story is well-crafted; I only wish there were more of them, or that more authors took the same care with their writing.

If you like Steve Hockensmith's _Holmes on the Range_ series, you'll like _Naughty_. (Though there are no Big Red/Old Red stories in here ... hint, hint, Mr. Hockensmith.) If you haven't encountered Hockensmith ere now, this isn't a bad place to start. And if you just like Christmas stories ... well, remember that the season isn't all tinsel and jollity. Christmas comes for bad little boys, too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a nice collection of previously published short stories. I liked most of the stories and could have done without 1 or 2. It is like buying and album (what's that? say the young ones!) and finding that there are a few songs you do not want to hear. Still, the price was right. $2.99 can't be beat, although I read that the price is going up $1. I still would have bought it. Hockensmith has an interesting way with words. I like it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First Line (from Introduction): Reading this collection, you might get the impression that I don't like Christmas.

Once you begin reading these nine short stories, you will know that first line simply is not true. Steve Hockensmith loves Christmas, he loves writing about crime, and when he can combine the two, it's magic.

Sometimes when I see a book cover or a title, I just know that I'm going to love the book, and this is what happened to me with Naughty. The nine stories run the gamut of yuletide criminal activity, and you'll be hard pressed not to read the entire collection with a smile on your face.

"Fruitcake" is a grin-inducing tale about the love-crazed shenanigans of an old woman in a nursing home. A young woman hired as an elf in a shopping mall tells us how "I Killed Santa Claus." The guy in the office that we all love to hate has an interesting experience with his "Secret Santa." In "Humbug" we learn that Scrooge is dead. A gift wrapper in the mall decides to get even with a "Naughty" lecher. In perhaps the most touching of the tales, a little girl and her even younger brother find a gift in their mother's closet in "Hidden Gifts." There's a plot against Santa in "Red Christmas," and two dim-witted burglars attempt to rob a church on Christmas Eve in "Naiveté." The last tale, "Special Delivery," about a trucker trying to deliver a shipment of Cabbage Patch dolls in time for Christmas, struck a special chord with me, since I worked retail during that particular toy craze. Occasionally characters from one tale will appear in another, and you'll greet them with a smile and a "Hey, I know you!
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This is a collection of nine previous published short stories centered around crime at Christmas. There's fruitcake as a murder weapon, a mall elf who thinks Santa is up to something bad, and two kids who get more than they bargained for when they snoop for presents. One story even travels to the North Pole as an elf turns up murdered wrapped in a present.

All of these stories are fun if somewhat predictable. Having said that, a couple of them caught me off guard completely. Even if I saw the ending coming, the final line was always enough to get a grin or chuckle out of me. Three of the stories are inner connected, but they are published in the proper order, so that's not an issue at all.

If you are looking for some mystery to spice up your Christmas, this is the book to get. You'll enjoy every story along the way.
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As the title suggests, the nine stories in Naughty all have a Christmas theme and involve a crime of some sort, and they are all also laced with a wicked sense of humor. And though a few characters - and a fruitcake - make appearances in more than one story, each stands on its own.

I enjoyed the entire collection from start to finish, but a few of the stories particularly stood out to me:

"Fruitcake" finds septuagenarian widow Ethel Queenan stalking the Always Sunny Trailer Park looking for a replacement for her dearly departed husband. Given that widows outnumber the widowers by about 5-to-1, competition is fierce. Ethel is therefore upset, murderously so, when virtual spring chicken (just sixty-five!) Connie Sandrelli swoops in and steals Ethel's latest target out from under her. Evil plots involving fruitcake (recipe included) ensue.

"I Killed Santa Claus" is my second favorite of the collection. Poor Hannah Fox comes home for the final Christmas break of her college career only to find her mother has signed her up for elf duty at the mall's annual Santa's Workshop display. At first Hannah merely finds her co-workers annoying: fellow elf Arlo, the perpetual stoner; the mall's Santa, who goes by "Big Buck" and has a very un-Santa Southern drawl; and Kev Kane, Big Buck's miniature, elf sidekick. However, she soon begins to suspect Big Buck and Kev are up to no good and sets a trap for them...leading to some rather unexpected consequences.

"Special Delivery" is the tale of a Christmas that almost wasn't for the children of one small town. It's Christmas Eve in 1983 when long haul trucker Bass get a call that his services are urgently needed for an overnight run.
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