The Office meets Stephen King, dressed up in holiday tinsel, in this fun, festive, and frightening horror-comedy set during the horror publishing boom of the ’80s, by New York Times best-selling satirist Andrew Shaffer.
Out of work for months, Lussi Meyer is desperate to work anywhere in publishing. Prestigious Blackwood-Patterson isn’t the perfect fit, but a bizarre set of circumstances leads to her hire and a firm mandate: Lussi must find the next horror superstar to compete with Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Peter Straub. It’s the ’80s, after all, and horror is the hottest genre.
But as soon as she arrives, Lussi finds herself the target of her co-workers' mean-spirited pranks. The hazing reaches its peak during the company’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange, when Lussi receives a demonic-looking object that she recognizes but doesn't understand. Suddenly, her coworkers begin falling victim to a series of horrific accidents akin to a George Romero movie, and Lussi suspects that her gift is involved. With the help of her former author, the flamboyant Fabien Nightingale, Lussi must track down her anonymous Secret Santa and figure out the true meaning of the cursed object in her possession before it destroys the company—and her soul.
The latest black comedy from satirist Shaffer (Hope Never Dies) is a spirited holiday horror novel shot through with '80s nostalgia. In 1986, horror fiction editor Lussi Meyer interviews for a position at the illustrious publishing house Blackwood-Patterson, a firm so highbrow that it's about to shut down due to a lack of sales. Though the snobbish Mr. Blackwood scoffs at genre fiction, he hires Lussi and tasks her with finding a bestselling horror novel that will save Blackwood-Patterson from dissolution. As Lussi starts work, she becomes the victim of a series of office pranks, and at the company's Christmas party she receives a mysterious Secret Santa present: a German doll that looks like the Devil. Soon thereafter, something begins picking off Lussi's new coworkers, which Lussi suspects is connected to the doll. As the murders grow increasingly violent, Lussi tries to get rid of the doll once and for all but it may take her and the company down with it. Writing with a biting, dry wit, Shaffer blends old school, B-movie gore and sharp send-ups of office politics and the publishing industry. Fans of classic slasher novels will revel in this blood-soaked romp.