Zakk reviews “Twelfth Krampus Night” by Matt Manochio. 121 pages, published by Samhain Publishing Ltd. (Samhain Horror)
Overall score: 4/5
“Heinrich squinted and blanched at the running stitches that formed a gruesome and misshapen X on Gisela’s belly. Bloodstained straw poked from the occasional seam. Beate fingered a stalk tip near her friend’s navel.”
Dark servants clash!
Medieval maiden Beate, who’s grieving over the mysterious evisceration of her best friend, Gisela, must escape a Bavarian castle under siege by sadistic creatures.
Standing in her way—beyond towering walls and crossbow-toting guards—are Saint Nicholas’s demonic helper, Krampus, and Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag who prowls the countryside during First Night festivities to punish naughty teens.
Beate wants out. Krampus and Frau Perchta want in, determined to breach the castle to snag their prey. Beate has no idea why these monsters want her, but she must use her wits to save herself from horrors both human and inhuman—lest she wind up like Gisela. (Official Synopsis)
“The thing dropped its chain, but not its club, to let its massive barrel slip off its back. It used one hoof to push the barrel off the road while simultaneously stooping to retrieve the long chain. The hag and the beast assessed each other as they began circling clockwise, twenty feet separating them.”
I have a pretty limited knowledge base when it comes to Krampus lore, mainly consisting of images of the beast and the most basic of ideals. And nil when it comes to the lore of Frau Perchta, other than bellies stuffed with straw ringing a bell from my youth. So I walked into “Twelfth Krampus Night” a clean slate ready for some Holliday horror.
And I wasn’t disappointed with my second consecutive Matt Manochio read. Feisty and festive, “Twelfth Krampus Night” provides a delightful romp in the when-worlds-collide realm of fiction.
I dig Manochio’s writing. It’s quick and accessible, weaving a narrative that is easy to fall into. Imaginative set pieces equally colorful characters help bring his world to life. There are plenty of unsavory human types peppered throughout that ache to be taken care of, building an enjoyable root-for-the-monster vibe. Letting you, the reader know that you are headed for a good time.
After brief set-up solo scenes with Krampus and Frau Perchta, the two set their sights on each other with a perceived common target, and that’s when the real fun begins, when these two creatures butt heads.
There are a few twists here and there, nothing ludicrous, out of left field, they all fit in the realm of the story. Adding layers where you may not have been expecting layers. There is also plenty of carnage and bloodshed, which is always a good thing. “Twelfth Krampus Night” is a fine way to spend a cold, gloomy winter evening.
“Immorality sleeps wherever man lays a pillow.”
Zakk is a big dumb animal! – The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow
*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These are my unbiased feelings.
Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree. He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting.
He wrote about one of his passions, rock ‘n’ roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career. He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment.
His debut novel, The Dark Servant, was published with Samhain Horror in November of 2014. His second novel, Sentinels, was release November 2015, just prior to Twelfth Krampus Night in December 2015. He currently lives in New Jersey with his son.
Praise for Matt Manochio
“Twelfth Krampus Night is an enjoyable read and a strong horror story. Manochio is a very strong writer and his talent is evident in this novel. I easily slid into the world that Manochio creates and was fascinated by Frau Perchta and Krampus.”
“The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be–eerie, original and utterly engrossing!” — Wendy CorsiStaub, New York Times bestselling author
“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers–creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm!” — Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author
“Matt Manochio is a writer who’ll be thrilling us for many books to come.” — Jim DeFelice, New York Times bestselling author
“Matt Manochio has taken a very rare fairytale and turned it into a real page-turner. Matt has constructed a very real and believable force in Krampus and has given it a real journalistic twist, and he has gained a fan in me!” — David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author
“In The Dark Servant, Matt Manochio has taken the tantalizing roots of Middle Europe’s folklore and crafted a completely genuine modern American horror story. … I fell for this story right away. Matt Manochiois a natural born storyteller.” — Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author
“Could there be a dark side to Santa? And if so, what would he do to those kids who were naughty? Matt Manochio provides the nail-biting answer with The Dark Servant.” — John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author
“If you want some pure escapism on a quiet afternoon and you don’t mind a little–okay, maybe a lot–of blood, SENTINELS is exactly what you’re looking for. Manochio is a talented author with a bright future and someone who’s work I will follow with great interest.” –Shotgun Logic
“This is a macabre, dark tale with a timeless quality about it. An atmospheric landscape, complete with Bavarian castle; characters that could have stepped out from your worst nightmares. It kept me thoroughly and enjoyably entertained in a dark, scary way. Full marks!” –Cat Cavendish, Author of The Dark Avenging Angel
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