This is a collection of short stories, all with a Christmas connection (some more loosely than others). The authors featured include Victoria Selman, Kate Simants, Jo Furniss and Adam Southward. All the profits are being donated to abuse charities.
As with most short story collections I’ve read, there were some I preferred more than others. There was one in particular, I found difficult to get into and therefore found my attention drifting as I read it. This was Smithereens by Dominic Nolan. Perhaps if parts of it were easier to understand, I may have been able to get more immersed in the story. Having to use Google once or twice in a short story is okay on occasion, but any more than that and it gets jarring.
My favourite story of the book was An Unexpected Present by Phoebe Morgan. Without giving away details, her story was the ideal balance of ultimate revenge and dark humour, and it proved how much us women can multitask.
My other favourites were Especially at Christmas by Adam Southward and Fresh Meat by Elle Croft. Especially at Christmas brings a whole new meaning to having unwilling guests over for Christmas dinner, while Fresh Meat takes the idea of a crazy cat lady to new and dark places. The cat was the star of this story, in my opinion. I can guarantee you’ll never look at cat food in the same way again.
The book introduced me to several authors I wasn’t aware of before.
Overall, there are more high-quality stories in this collection than many of the short story collections I have read before. If you’re looking for an alternative Christmas read with blood, dark humour and twisted tales, this is the collection for you.
Afraid of the Christmas Lights is available to buy on 1st December
Amanda Steel is the co-host of Reading in Bed on Anchor, and the author of Ghost of Me, which was a top 10 finalist in the 2020 Author Elite Awards.