Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Last Noel-Heather Graham

The Last Noel
Heather Graham
Mira, Nov 2007, $16.95
ISBN: 9780778325253

On Christmas Eve, Skyler and David O'Boyle, their youngest child sixteen years old son Jamie, their twenty-two years old twins Kat and Frazier, and their Uncle Paddy come together for the holiday. The six have a good time teasing one another and arguing as they imbibe with good cheer.

That night a blizzard isolates the O’Boyle party in their cozy home. However, much more than snow arrives when three desperate thugs (Quintin Lark, Scooter Blane and, Craig Devon) who just killed an octogenarian shopkeeper Lionel Hudson hold the O’Boyle family hostage. Only Kat escapes, but she is stunned as Craig is her college boyfriend. As the nor’easter gets worse, Quintin and Scooter act increasingly psychotic and obviously are no strangers to violence. Fearing for her family, Kat prays for a Christmas miracle that her text message makes it to the police and that they can arrive in a timely manner when road conditions are treacherous and visibility is zero.

Heather Graham provides a powerful suspense thriller that uses dark humor to somewhat lesson the overwhelming tension of the strong house invasion plot. Readers will realize how in an instant the Yuletide bantering changes into a fear for their lives as the criminals make no pretension of how dangerous they are (mindful of the classic movie The Petrified Forest). THE LAST NOEL is a tremendous drama with a neat late twist as the chances of the O’Boyle clan surviving is extremely slight at the same time the pastoral snow keeps falling.

Harriet Klausner