{Book Review} Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes: Mark Cassell

Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes: Mark Cassell

Reviewed By J.A. Sullivan

In Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes author Mark Cassell presents three short Christmas themed horror stories. With a mix of brutal violence, unique premises, and a splash of dark humour, this collection was very enjoyable.

As soon as I started reading the first story “Santa’s Elite,” I knew I was in for something vastly different than the typical Christmas horror offerings. Laurence is living in a rundown building and in a rundown marriage but being recruited into Santa’s elite squad of elves may just save his sanity. If you ever wondered how ‘Big Red’ keeps up with the world’s exploding population, you’ll see the importance of this special squad – just take care not to end up on the naughty list, or it could be the last thing you do.

Leaving fantasy behind, Cassell’s second entry “Away in a Mangler” is set in an ultra believable world where pretty things come at a sinister cost. Desperate for a new job Tanya applies as a clerk for a shop filled with beautiful glass sculptures. She’s delighted to be offered the position on the spot, but she can’t resist the temptation to investigate the only area of the store she’s been told to stay away from. Tension coats every page as Tanya’s disobedience earns her a meeting with a peculiar machine and an inside look at the source material for all that glass.

The last story “Ho Ho Hollow” was probably my favourite in this trio of terror. What begins as an ordinary Christmas Day takes a sharp turn into a shocking grisly scene when Rachel’s son returns from playing outside in a hollow behind their home. Once the initial carnage concludes a new horror grips Rachel as she realizes her daughter is still outside. I don’t want to spoil this one, but I will say that if you loved the liquid nitrogen scene from Terminator 2, you’ll definitely dig this story.

While some folks prefer to enjoy Christmas stories in December, I think Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes would make a great read any time you’re yearning for icy cold horror.

Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes

From the author of the Shadow Fabric mythos comes this 70-page Christmas chapbook featuring three stories.

While human population fast approaches eight billion, it’s up to Santa’s special branch to lessen his seasonal workload.

There’s a shop, selling unique gifts, whose proprietor has a horrifying secret or two he does not want shared.

Something out in the woods turns a family Christmas into a day of death and despair.

You can buy Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes from Amazon UK & Amazon US

J.A. Sullivan

J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.

As curator of “Scary’s Voices” on Kendall Reviews, an article series reviewing horror podcasts, Sullivan loves listening to all things spooky. If you have a horror podcast recommendation, let her know.

On top of contributing short stories to Kendall Reviews, her fiction has appeared in Don’t Open the Door (2019), It Came From The Darkness (2020), and she acted as an assistant editor for Black Dogs, Black Tales (2020). Other spooky tales and updates on her writing journey can be found on her blog.

You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan

Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com

Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

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