Date Published: November 2, 2023
Publisher: Deadbolt Books
After a tragedy strikes the Barnes family, Sarah's husband Tom begins acting strangely. It starts with wild mood-shifts and accusations at their thirteen-year-old daughter, but quickly escalates to the attempted murder of an off-season mall Santa. From what Sarah can tell, Tom's only motive seems to lie behind a mysterious hatred for Christmas that burns year-round. What's worse, Tom's only defense lies in a long-forgotten book he wrote detailing a traumatic event in his childhood that seems too far-fetched to be believed. His entire case revolves around the notion of talking Christmas trees, a living army of toys, and worst of all, a monster masquerading as Mrs. Claus.
Now, Sarah must go on a journey into her husband's past to learn if Tom is in the midst of a psychotic breakdown, if he's a danger to his family, or if he really is being hunted by the malevolent holiday horror that destroyed his childhood.
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About the Author
JON COHN IS A WRITER and professional board game designer based out of San Diego, California. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @joncohnauthor.
He would also love to give you free stuff like stories, audiobooks, and games by signing up for his mailing list at www.joncohnauthor.com.
Excerpt from "Everything is Temporary"
“I saw the sign out front…” Tim suddenly realized it might be
considered weird for a kid to randomly be wandering around some old lady’s
backyard. “It said to come in.”
“And you’re just in time.” The old woman’s words were filled with cheer.
“I just made a fresh batch of cookies, and I have some hot chocolate on the
stove. Would you like a snack?”
Tim’s stomach rumbled. After his trip to the principal this
morning, he had been too nervous to eat most of his lunch, worrying what Larry
would do to him come 2:30. “I’d love some. My name’s Tim.”
“Well, Tim, it’s an absolute pleasure to make your acquaintance.
You can call me Mrs. Claus.”
“Your backyard is beautiful,” Tim said, carefully navigating the
winding stone walkway leading to the house.
“That’s very nice of you to say. In case you haven’t noticed,
Christmas holds a very special place in my heart.”
“Come on inside. I’ll show you all the real decorations.”
Tim knew better than to talk to strangers, never mind wander into
their homes. But she was just an old lady. What was the worst she could do?
Besides, this wasn’t like some weirdo in a white van, offering candy. This was
an establishment. There was a sign. Surely, it wouldn’t exist if the
neighborhood didn’t know it was safe.
If the backyard had been a winter wonderland, the inside of the
house was something straight out of Higbee’s Department Store window. In the
corner of the living room sat a large green Christmas tree decorated with
string lights and ornaments. The base was fully obscured by at least two dozen
gold-wrapped presents. More tinsel and string lights glimmered across the room,
leading up a banister to the second floor, and each door had a wreath hanging
from it. A choo-choo sound forced Tim’s eyes upward, where a train set chugged
along a track suspended from the ceiling, running in a weaving pattern through
the room. Each car of the train was loaded with red-coated nutcracker soldiers,
all standing at perfect attention.
Pressed against the wall nearest the tree was a glass-covered
cabinet hosting hundreds of ceramic Hummel figurines: nativity scenes; elves
making toys; people dressed in winter clothes, exchanging gifts. Leading the
pack was a cheery-looking Santa Claus with a sack slung over his back.
“I’ll just be in the other room, preparing those cookies. Feel
free to take a minute to look at all the decorations.” Mrs. Claus wandered off
into the kitchen.
Tim leaned in to get a better look at the figures, then jumped
back in surprise when the ceramic Santa suddenly moved his hand up to his hat,
adjusted it, then winked. Tim wanted to scream, but the best he could manage
was a gasping cough. He leaped backward, but his feet tripped over themselves.
Tim was falling, his head ready to meet the floor, when something bushy caught
him in midair. It was a branch of the Christmas tree.
“Don’t be afraid,” a voice from inside the tree said. The branch
lifted him back onto his trembling feet, then released him. As soon as Tim
looked at the tree in the corner, all the string lights went out, save for two
acorn-shaped bulbs making up eyes and a pair of strings that looked like a
“Merry Christmas, Tim!” the tree said. As it spoke, the lights
insinuating its lips lit up and went dark in perfect harmony so it mimicked
movement. Tim had no idea how it was able to produce its voice, but it spoke
with a slight British accent and sounded like the Santa from Miracle on 34th