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When Christmas Comes

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Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroi Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in Afghanistan—how could a beloved son of this tight-knit burgh commit such a grisly deed? As a community of military families a few miles down the road from an Army base, no one in Sweet Haven wants to investigate a war hero like Blake, not even the top brass at the police department. In steps Cameron Winter, a rugged and lonesome English professor haunted by the ghosts of his own Christmas past, whose former lover asks him to prove Blake innocent. The Sweet Haven murder reverberates in his mind, echoing a horrific yuletide memory from his youth, and Winter knows there are darker powers at play here than a simple domestic dispute. If he can solve this small-town mystery, just maybe he can find peace from his inner demons as well. The thirty-sixth novel by two-time Edgar Award winner Andrew Klavan, When Christmas Comes is a seasonal tale of tradition, family, and murder; its chilling twists are best experienced curled up beside a burning Yule log.


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Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroi Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in Afghanistan—how could a beloved son of this tight-knit burgh commit such a grisly deed? As a community of military families a few miles down the road from an Army base, no one in Sweet Haven wants to investigate a war hero like Blake, not even the top brass at the police department. In steps Cameron Winter, a rugged and lonesome English professor haunted by the ghosts of his own Christmas past, whose former lover asks him to prove Blake innocent. The Sweet Haven murder reverberates in his mind, echoing a horrific yuletide memory from his youth, and Winter knows there are darker powers at play here than a simple domestic dispute. If he can solve this small-town mystery, just maybe he can find peace from his inner demons as well. The thirty-sixth novel by two-time Edgar Award winner Andrew Klavan, When Christmas Comes is a seasonal tale of tradition, family, and murder; its chilling twists are best experienced curled up beside a burning Yule log.

30 review for When Christmas Comes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joey Vichio

    This is the first book I’ve ever returned to my store. What a wild 1 hour and 30 minutes that was. I love my Christmas horror. I love ghost stories by the fire on a snowy night, I love that there has always been a history of scary Christmas traditions and tales since the very concept of the holiday being celebrated. The story started off fine enough with the plot line of a small town murder, but the more I read, the more I picked up on a vague and subtle vibe within the first few pages. It star This is the first book I’ve ever returned to my store. What a wild 1 hour and 30 minutes that was. I love my Christmas horror. I love ghost stories by the fire on a snowy night, I love that there has always been a history of scary Christmas traditions and tales since the very concept of the holiday being celebrated. The story started off fine enough with the plot line of a small town murder, but the more I read, the more I picked up on a vague and subtle vibe within the first few pages. It started off just on the tip of my tongue, like when I’d lick that colorful crepe paper in art class when I was like 7 and I’d be shocked by how sour it was every time. that vibe, ladies and gentleman, was the sneaking suspicion that this novel was written by a straight, white man who thinks he knows how to write a story from an impartial point of view while painting his picture, subtly inserting his own ideals in a way that is barely unnoticeable. but oh god is he wrong. But I persisted. I persisted because again, I love my spooky Christmas. And if there is one thing this book succeeds at in its opening chapters, it’s spooky Christmas. But good lord does it also succeed in being the most insufferable He-man Woman Haters Club novel to be written. Like, we get it. Every woman in this book wants to fuck our main character. Fine. Whatever. But how many times is he going to describe every beautiful woman he meets as looking young, in an “almost high school, innocent way?” Bro. Gag. But I persisted,friends. I was craving that sweet, sweet cold, wintery night imagery with sparkling lights and blood soaked snow. And then we find around page 40 that our accused murderer’s sister May had come out as loving a woman, and it completely tore his family apart. He rolled his eyes at the news, chalking his sister’s sexuality up to just “being a scrappy trouble maker.” Cute. But his parents could not bare the news so they ditched it to Florida. Florida. Sigh. Oh oh, but don’t worry. May is mentioned again as “so covered in piercings and tattoos that she looked almost primitive, escaped from the Amazon rainforest.” Gotta fuckin’ love it. For now on, whenever a book only mentions someone’s sexuality to needlessly progress a plot line forward in a negative way, I’m offering it up for a banned books list to the Library associations of the world, or to some other organization that I didn’t just make up. And yes, that is a form of censorship. Suck it. But dammit all to hell, I persisted! Where are my scary Christmas scenes ??? Perhaps Travis’s sexism and homophobia and some serious thin layers of racism are written in as a direct result of him being an antagonist! In fact, I absolutely have to hold out to the end to see if Travis is actually a main antagonist or not. Because if the homophobic, racist man accused of murder ends up being innocent??? Why folks, I might just lose my god damn mind, won’t I ? Also, weird political agenda aside within these pages, I just quite simply don’t get it?? Is Cameron Winters psychic ?? Is that what’s going on here? If it was, I wish it would just be stated as such. Alright folks, page 80 really goes for the plot twist of the century so again, I persist. And god do I wish I hadn’t. Because good ol’ lesbian faithful, sister May, is back and I’m not joking when I say this character is the walking caricature of every single god fearing republican’s worst liberal nightmare. Here we get to see Cameron’s reaction to her and the first thing he notices are the various political signs on her front lawn. And then he notices her piercings and tattoos, because Cameron doesn’t take a liking to them either and because these two elements seem to be the only defining trait of this woman. Oh yes, and that she’s a lesbian. Oh yes! And that she hates men. Yupp. Of course she does. Because if you’re not a mother or an elegant therapist who is horny for her patient, or a teenage crush from Christmases long ago , or a sexy lawyer who you used to fuck when you taught her English class, or an angelic, beautiful school Liberian who was brutally murdered, then of course you are a sensitive Libby Lesbian who **hates** all men. Kill me. I wish I was the one who was murdered by Travis Blake. But see, Cameron Winters isn’t LIKE other guys. He actually somehow musters the strength and courage to enjoy May’s presence. He can see past all of her piercings and political agenda and lifestyle because goddamnit, he’s just so smart. Cameron Winters is -such- a smart guy and his brain doesn’t work like others. And by god, if May the lesbian can’t show Cameron the same empathy that he so graciously is giving to her, well that’s just fine. Because Cameron is the bigger man and May is just a stupid one-dimensional liberal. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about because she only takes bits and pieces of things she has heard from other miserable liberals. She’s just, she’s just, you know, REGURGITATING WORDS OUT THAT SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW BECAUSE SHE IS JUST A SAD, STUPID LITTLE LESBIAN WOMAN WITH TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS AND CAMERON IS BIG EDUCATED MUSCLE MAN WHO EVERYONE WANTS TO FUCK EXCEPT FOR MAY BECAUSE SHE IS A LESSSSSBIIIAAAAAANNN Christ. But I Persisted. And alas, Travis was innocent. You see, Travis graciously pretended to murder Jennifer, the love of his life, because Jennifer wasn’t actually Jennifer. She was a kidnapped and escaped abductee as a child, and she fled to the small Christmas town only to be found out later on in life. So she and Travis devised this elaborate plan in which he fake-murders her so that she can escape or something, I have no fucking clue. But the message here folks, is that even if you are racist and homophobic, at least you’re not a murderer right? Racist and homophobic people can still be good people, right? Right? Was Cameron Winters a psychic or was he just really super duper smart? I have no clue. I need a fuckin cigarette and I don’t even smoke.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    3.5 stars rounded up to 4. This was my first introduction to Andrew Klavan as an author (I remember my dad listening to him on the radio years ago), and while it has a Christmas-y cover and title, it's not exactly a happy, cheery, Hallmark Christmas-type read. That being said, I enjoyed it much more than I expected! In summary, a relatively unknown, but much loved school librarian in a small town is murdered; and her boyfriend, a local boy and ex-Army ranger, confesses. It seems like an open-and 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. This was my first introduction to Andrew Klavan as an author (I remember my dad listening to him on the radio years ago), and while it has a Christmas-y cover and title, it's not exactly a happy, cheery, Hallmark Christmas-type read. That being said, I enjoyed it much more than I expected! In summary, a relatively unknown, but much loved school librarian in a small town is murdered; and her boyfriend, a local boy and ex-Army ranger, confesses. It seems like an open-and-shut case, but the defense attorney doesn't think so. She calls in an old friend - an English professor with hidden talents - to investigate. He also has more than a few skeletons in his own closet that haunt him and tend to blur his judgment. The investigation takes more than a few twists and turns, as secrets come to light that change the narrative completely. What I loved about the book was that it was a super fast read (good thing, as I'm falling a bit behind on my reading challenge!), and there were several twists that I was not expecting - including the ending. What I didn't love though was that it didn't exactly give me the warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling that the cover suggests. It was set during Christmas and there were some references to Christmases past, but the story was dark and melancholy. Overall, still an enjoyable read - just not the type that inspires you to make Christmas cookies and decorate the tree!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott Nickels

    I find Andrew Klavan a most interesting writer. Klavan crosses over into different genres and his plots are unconventional. “When Christmas Comes” I found I could not put down (once I got around to finally beginning the first chapter.). I found “When Christmas Comes” to be a mix of a Lee Child Jack Reacher commingled with a British cozy mystery. The story takes place in Sweet Haven, an idyllic lakeside town that almost seems to good to be true…and, perhaps, it is. Travis Blake has confessed to a I find Andrew Klavan a most interesting writer. Klavan crosses over into different genres and his plots are unconventional. “When Christmas Comes” I found I could not put down (once I got around to finally beginning the first chapter.). I found “When Christmas Comes” to be a mix of a Lee Child Jack Reacher commingled with a British cozy mystery. The story takes place in Sweet Haven, an idyllic lakeside town that almost seems to good to be true…and, perhaps, it is. Travis Blake has confessed to a brutal murder of his girlfriend, and now Cameron Winter agrees to investigate the “why.” Enjoy reading this story and a big “thanks “ to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read an advanced readers copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Wiltshire

    This is a read in one day book, not only because it's relatively short, but because I can't put it down--don't want to. This is almost a perfect novel. It's so cleverly plotted that at times you're in a story about the story which is told by another story. Set at Christmas, obviously, there's a heartrending nostalgia about the 'perfect' Christmas, the childhood Christmas, and yet this is a very mature exploration of human nature and memory. In some ways, this is like a teacher of creative writin This is a read in one day book, not only because it's relatively short, but because I can't put it down--don't want to. This is almost a perfect novel. It's so cleverly plotted that at times you're in a story about the story which is told by another story. Set at Christmas, obviously, there's a heartrending nostalgia about the 'perfect' Christmas, the childhood Christmas, and yet this is a very mature exploration of human nature and memory. In some ways, this is like a teacher of creative writing demonstrating how to write the perfect novel by actually doing it, which of course if they could they wouldn't need to be teaching writing. The characters are developed through what they say and do, not exposition. The plot is like a fishing hook you've been caught on: why does an ex-Army Ranger confess to a terrible murder, the murder of the woman he loved? Hooked. The writing is beautiful. I'm actually in this town with the pretty coloured lights reflecting on the snow. I'm at 85%. I'll update when finished, which unfortunately will be tonight. Finished. My faith in human nature has been restored a bit by this book. I cannot recommend this too highly. Unequivocal five stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henry

    I enjoy reading Christmas stories this time of year. This is not your typical "cookies and hot chocolate in Happy Town" type of Christmas mystery (although I must admit that I enjoy those). It is dark and even somewhat disturbing, but so is much of Dickens' Christmas Carol, and much like that great work, it is a story about the true meaning of Christmas; importantly it is extremely well written. I loved it. This is the first book I have read by Andrew Klavan but it will not be the last. I enjoy reading Christmas stories this time of year. This is not your typical "cookies and hot chocolate in Happy Town" type of Christmas mystery (although I must admit that I enjoy those). It is dark and even somewhat disturbing, but so is much of Dickens' Christmas Carol, and much like that great work, it is a story about the true meaning of Christmas; importantly it is extremely well written. I loved it. This is the first book I have read by Andrew Klavan but it will not be the last.

  6. 4 out of 5

    LenaRibka

    4,5 stars It was not what I expected at all, the story took me by surprise, and a beauty and a magic melancholy of the writing enchanted me from the fist page. If you are looking for a cosy holiday mystery then it is probably not for you. Otherwise, I didn't look for a light read on purpose myself though I assumed that this book would be the one. I was wrong. But I am glad I came across this unusual story and that I discovered Andrew Klavan through it, because it won't be my last book by the auth 4,5 stars It was not what I expected at all, the story took me by surprise, and a beauty and a magic melancholy of the writing enchanted me from the fist page. If you are looking for a cosy holiday mystery then it is probably not for you. Otherwise, I didn't look for a light read on purpose myself though I assumed that this book would be the one. I was wrong. But I am glad I came across this unusual story and that I discovered Andrew Klavan through it, because it won't be my last book by the author, it is for sure.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Justine Olawsky

    The thing about Andrew Klavan is that he can write as hardboiled as any fast-talking, whiskey-swilling word jockey, hunched over his Royal, punching keys furiously between drags from an ever-present cigarette. And then the bastard turns around and writes so movingly with such deep tenderness that you feel sucker-punched by the tears that are suddenly rolling down your cheeks. Flippin' Klavan. I thoroughly enjoyed this Yuletide offering: a fast-paced mystery-thriller with those deep notes of pain The thing about Andrew Klavan is that he can write as hardboiled as any fast-talking, whiskey-swilling word jockey, hunched over his Royal, punching keys furiously between drags from an ever-present cigarette. And then the bastard turns around and writes so movingly with such deep tenderness that you feel sucker-punched by the tears that are suddenly rolling down your cheeks. Flippin' Klavan. I thoroughly enjoyed this Yuletide offering: a fast-paced mystery-thriller with those deep notes of pain and joy that always seem to be interwoven in Klavan's plots. This particular novel seems to be more on the thoughtful, melancholy end of things - unusually, for time spent in a Klavan Creation, I did not laugh even once during my reading. But the undercurrent of joy is always present, which, of course, is appropriate for a work set in the Christmas season. Local war hero Travis Blake is on the cusp of being sentenced for the confessed murder of his girlfriend, beloved school librarian Jennifer Dean, in the idyllic military town of Sweet Haven. But something is not adding up for his attorney, Victoria Grossburger, so she contacts her ex-lover, Cam Winter, an English professor with a very particular set of skills, and asks him to prove Travis is innocent. As Winter pursues vaporous leads and phantom suspects in his investigation, the mysteries unfold one right into the other - like Russian nesting dolls. No one is quite what he or she seems - both in the real-world crime he is unraveling and in his own haunted memories that shape his loneliness and weary his soul. The result is a tightly-plotted, twisty thriller with nostalgic charm and redemptive themes. A Christmas banquet to be sure. To be paired with long nights, log fires, wool socks, and hot buttered rum.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This is my first Andrew Klavan book although I do listen to his show sometimes and I’ve seen Don’t Say a Word. SBG.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shonda Nelson

    Wow! I could not put this book down! I ended up reading the entire thing in one night. I have read other books by Klavan, but this book was different. It's hard to really say why, because I've enjoyed every book of his that I've read. It was a mystery/private detective themed book, minus a lot of the unnecessary profanity and unnecessary, random sex scenes. The main character, Cameron Winter, is interesting and has a fascinating back story. The other characters are well developed and the story ha Wow! I could not put this book down! I ended up reading the entire thing in one night. I have read other books by Klavan, but this book was different. It's hard to really say why, because I've enjoyed every book of his that I've read. It was a mystery/private detective themed book, minus a lot of the unnecessary profanity and unnecessary, random sex scenes. The main character, Cameron Winter, is interesting and has a fascinating back story. The other characters are well developed and the story has a nice flow to it. Overall, in my opinion, this is Klavan's best book, to date. This book could easily be turned into a series, and I really hope there will be another book featuring Cameron Winter. I highly recommend this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aline

    I feel like I'm the only one that disliked this one... Oh not, wait, there are 6 of us! Anyway, excuse the rant that is coming, but I regret losing my - precious - time reading this book Really, not to be mean or anything, but I don't see how such a "Christmas mystery" can reach 4.36 stars here. Did the author paid people for them to write enthusiastic reviews? Did the people who read this one never ever read any other crime/mystery novel? Because, let me tell you this: when you've read P.D. James I feel like I'm the only one that disliked this one... Oh not, wait, there are 6 of us! Anyway, excuse the rant that is coming, but I regret losing my - precious - time reading this book Really, not to be mean or anything, but I don't see how such a "Christmas mystery" can reach 4.36 stars here. Did the author paid people for them to write enthusiastic reviews? Did the people who read this one never ever read any other crime/mystery novel? Because, let me tell you this: when you've read P.D. James, Colin Dexter, Ann Cleeves, Anne Perry, Patricia Wentworth, etc. for years, you are surelly to be disappointed when you finish this novel(la). This short mystery is so predictable it becomes boring. And the interludes in which Winter is undergoing therapy are so weird and not in phase with the other events of the book. I mean, who cares about the unrequited love he felt for a girl two years older than him when he was 7? Who cares that, as an adult, he still isn't over his "dear Charlotte"? What does it have to do with the murder he is "investigating"? And what a strange investigation, too. Winter apparently has a sort of mediumnic gift that allows him to understand and solve crimes better than the police. Apart from that, we know nothing about him. He's an English teacher, but this seems to be a cover for something else, except we don't know what that something is. Is he a ex-military? A secret agent? A private investigator? Who knows, except the author... Winter may be the main character, but the author doesn't care enough about him to give him some sort of depth. The only available descriptions we get for him are physical (OMG, he's so strong and handsome) and second-hand, through female characters gushing about him, including his therapist --> is that deontological? No, it's not but this book is already so unbelievable and sloppy, why not add a bit to it? And of course, this cliché of a "hero" (sort of James Bondish, but darker, more mysterious and less interesting) wasn't enough, there are the female characters. And especially Jennifer Dean and Victoria. Victoria was Winter student and they had an affair, of course (what's the point of writing a clichéd story if you don't add a teacher-student affair into the mix?) . When? Where? If the English teaching job of Winter is a cover-up for something else, how did he find the time to have an affair while working undercover and going through his real job (as a secret agent or whatever)? This is not explained. Because, as I wrote above, the author doesn't give a damn about writing a coherent story that the readers can follow: we are thrown in the middle of a middle-aged man's life without knowing anything about him and his past. Victoria is a cliché too: a bright and cheerful woman who's oozing "high school vibes" (whatever that means) but who married a soldier and suffers from that situation. And of course, at the end of the book, she's not cheerful anymore and Winter is not interested in her anymore (because she's lost her high school vibes, you see). Jennifer Dean is russian and so sweet and angelic that anyone who meets her are totally mesmerized, in love, and wouldn't dare to touch one of her hairs. Then why the hell did a Russian mafia member kidnapped her and forced her to marry his son? Why did not one search for her back in her homeland after her kidnapping? And the same Jennifer, who was clever enough to escape her mafia husband was totally at the mercy of the U.S. Marshal who abused her. Why? If she could get away from the mafia and denounce one of them, how come she couldn't complain about the Marshal anywhere? Was murder really the only solution? Incoherences and sloppy characters descriptions were too much for me. Add to that the predictability of the plot, and you'll get why I totally didn't enjoy this story. As a result, I really don't get the hype that this books gets here on Goodreads, and all the people gushing about how great this novel was. But then, to each his own...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Lambregts

    I had only read 'Don't Say a Word' from Andrew Klavan about 18 years ago and after that I never read any of his books. This one is published recently and I decided to pick it up for a challenge. What can I say, it just isn't my cup of tea. The writing is mediocre at best, too simplistic and repetative, the story is ok-ish, but not mindblowing and overall I just didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped. I wanted to give it 3 stars in the end, but can't give it more than 2. I had only read 'Don't Say a Word' from Andrew Klavan about 18 years ago and after that I never read any of his books. This one is published recently and I decided to pick it up for a challenge. What can I say, it just isn't my cup of tea. The writing is mediocre at best, too simplistic and repetative, the story is ok-ish, but not mindblowing and overall I just didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped. I wanted to give it 3 stars in the end, but can't give it more than 2.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    "In heaven, the great God will judge me, but here on earth I must leave it to you." This time of the year, I'm craving any and everything that puts me in the holiday spirit. Christmas was a much more subdued affair last year due to the ongoing pandemic, but this year (thanks in large part to vaccinations) I'm making up for the lost time. The house is fully decorated, I've made Christmas cookies, cocktails, and I've finished with all of my holiday shopping. As I settle into the season and try to e "In heaven, the great God will judge me, but here on earth I must leave it to you." This time of the year, I'm craving any and everything that puts me in the holiday spirit. Christmas was a much more subdued affair last year due to the ongoing pandemic, but this year (thanks in large part to vaccinations) I'm making up for the lost time. The house is fully decorated, I've made Christmas cookies, cocktails, and I've finished with all of my holiday shopping. As I settle into the season and try to embrace the spirit of this time as much as possible, I've been drawn to reading books that do the same. Enter Andrew Klavan's novella When Christmas Comes, a holiday-themed mystery that seemed like just the book to bring the festivities into my reading. The setup is simple enough. A local teacher has been murdered and her boyfriend has confessed to the crime. The only problem is that no one wants to believe that he is the culprit. You see, he is a decorated soldier who the entire town has embraced as a hero, a symbol of the best things to come out of the city. Moreso, the couple seemed to have had the perfect relationship. Something simply isn't adding up. The town's authorities seem hesitant to investigate the crime, especially when all the evidence points to someone they revere. It is up to Cameron Winter, an English professor of all things, to step in and ensure that justice is served. As he takes on the unenviable task of investigating a war hero, he must also face the demons of his past. Some of the best Christmas stories have seeped in the things that haunt us. From Krampus to Dicken's ghosts, connecting with the spirit of the holiday often requires us to face the things that we fear. Klavan draws on this literary tradition by haunting his own characters. Each person we encounter in the short work is grappling with the implications of their pasts while working to embrace a brighter future. The mystery at the center of the narrative helps to drive the plot through each of the character beats, never letting the pace slow. The writing is at times a bit saccharine, a characteristic that I'd normally scoff at. Here, amongst the idyllic setting and Christmas theme, it gets a pass. When Christmas Comes concludes with an emotional swell that delivers on each of the moments that precede it while promising more for the characters even beyond the final page.

  13. 4 out of 5

    WeLoveBigBooksAndWeCannotLie

    Mark your calendars for November 2! That is the release date for Andrew Klavan’s new book When Christmas Comes. @penzlerpub sent us an advanced reader’s copy of this book and given that it’s a murder mystery set during Christmas….well, you know I was eager to move this one to the top of my tbr! Jennifer Dean was a beloved librarian in the idyllic small town of Sweet Haven. The community is shocked when her boyfriend Blake confesses to murdering her in a jealous rage. However, something isn’t sitt Mark your calendars for November 2! That is the release date for Andrew Klavan’s new book When Christmas Comes. @penzlerpub sent us an advanced reader’s copy of this book and given that it’s a murder mystery set during Christmas….well, you know I was eager to move this one to the top of my tbr! Jennifer Dean was a beloved librarian in the idyllic small town of Sweet Haven. The community is shocked when her boyfriend Blake confesses to murdering her in a jealous rage. However, something isn’t sitting right with his lawyer and she feels like she is missing something big. This causes her to call on Cameron Winter, an ex student and ex lover. Cameron has an uncanny ability to figure out the truth. Especially when it involves criminals. She asks him to prove Blake’s innocence, despite his confession. Cameron has his own dark and seedy past and he soon navigates his way to the truth but finds out that his own life may be in danger the closer he gets to finding out what really happened. Make sure you visit our Amazon Storefront to get your own copy of this Christmas murder mystery! Link in bio. 🌺🧜🏻‍♀️

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terzah

    It's that time of year, the time when I put holds on any and all things Christmas that look like promising vehicles for getting me into the spirit. This one had going for it that the pages turned easily and reading some of the more ridiculous passages aloud to my husband gave us both a laugh. But lord, how many cliches can you work into one story? Detective with a mysterious past? Check. "There was even a rumor you were selected from the Navy SEALs training and recruited to be a spy. Is that true It's that time of year, the time when I put holds on any and all things Christmas that look like promising vehicles for getting me into the spirit. This one had going for it that the pages turned easily and reading some of the more ridiculous passages aloud to my husband gave us both a laugh. But lord, how many cliches can you work into one story? Detective with a mysterious past? Check. "There was even a rumor you were selected from the Navy SEALs training and recruited to be a spy. Is that true?" "I'm an English professor," Winter said. (At least that "said" wasn't qualified with either the adverb "evasively" or a description like "avoiding her eyes.") Same detective with bad luck in love? Check check. "For the last time, he let himself imagine the pressure of her cheek against his cheek, and he felt that rush of loneliness again, not for the last time." Beautiful and mysterious murder victim with a dramatic past? Oh yeah. ("She had been kidnapped from her school in Kiev at the age of sixteen....") Charming Christmas village with some Gothic undertones? Yep. (Too much to quote here.) Russian mafia? Yep. (Ditto on too much to quote.) An East German Stasi informant? Yes, even that. No Nazis, though, unless I misread something. Like Cameron Winter, our hero who didn't really do anything in the end other than keep his mouth shut, I needed a whiskey when I was done with this one. If you are looking for some easy fun, go for it. But P.D. James it ain't.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Johnston

    This story was full of atmospheric melancholy with a brooding hero. The mystery mirrors events within Cameron Winter’s own life and is told both through past reminisces to his therapist and his investigative efforts to figure out why a local military hero and widowed father confessed to coldly murdering his girlfriend, the new but beloved school librarian. While the mystery takes place at Christmas, for a while it just seems like a beautifully atmospheric setting, but the theme truly stands out This story was full of atmospheric melancholy with a brooding hero. The mystery mirrors events within Cameron Winter’s own life and is told both through past reminisces to his therapist and his investigative efforts to figure out why a local military hero and widowed father confessed to coldly murdering his girlfriend, the new but beloved school librarian. While the mystery takes place at Christmas, for a while it just seems like a beautifully atmospheric setting, but the theme truly stands out as it all comes full circle. I loved that I figured out the true meaning of the story just as Winter did. Recommended to readers that enjoy atmospheric mysteries.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark DeRoncey

    first Andrew Klavan book. Great read. Really enjoyed the story and the character. I look forward to trying other books by this author .

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Professor Cameron Winter is finally trying to tell a therapist about the lost love of his life, the cause, he thinks, of his melancholy, when he's called upon to help with the defense of a man who admits to murdering the love of his life, Jennifer Dean, his girlfriend and the beloved school librarian in the idyllic town of Sweet Haven. As he investigates, trying to find mitigating circumstances, his peculiar ability to think himself into situations kicks in, and he realizes that everyone has bee Professor Cameron Winter is finally trying to tell a therapist about the lost love of his life, the cause, he thinks, of his melancholy, when he's called upon to help with the defense of a man who admits to murdering the love of his life, Jennifer Dean, his girlfriend and the beloved school librarian in the idyllic town of Sweet Haven. As he investigates, trying to find mitigating circumstances, his peculiar ability to think himself into situations kicks in, and he realizes that everyone has been looking at the crime the wrong way around. The reviews led to me believe that this was an extremely charming book; maybe it is for some. Don't get me wrong--it wasn't bad, but I remained uncharmed by all the gorgeously charismatic characters with which it's populated.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike Flinn

    I don’t know what to think of the book. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but this may be the first book I’ve read where the final outcome is in no way affected by the main character and his sleuthing. It’s an intriguing story with an interesting concept, but the story is rather slow moving and it never picks up. This is the first Klavan book I’ve read, but from reviews of his other books I expected it to be slow moving at the start then pick up towards the end. This one never did. With that said, I don’t know what to think of the book. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but this may be the first book I’ve read where the final outcome is in no way affected by the main character and his sleuthing. It’s an intriguing story with an interesting concept, but the story is rather slow moving and it never picks up. This is the first Klavan book I’ve read, but from reviews of his other books I expected it to be slow moving at the start then pick up towards the end. This one never did. With that said, the development that the main character went through made it worth reading. While it’s advertised as a murder mystery, the real meat of the book comes with the main character slowly finding himself as he searches for answers about the murder. It’s 250 pages, but a very quick read. The conservative ideals of Klavan are apparent through his descriptions of the town, the people, and with the final few pages of the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather (tales.of.a.bookbound.mom)

    It’s hard to find books in the thriller or mystery genre that are set during Christmas so I was excited when my husband gave this book to me for Christmas. It was a pretty good mystery that I couldn’t predict or figure out. The story unfolds at a good pace for a 250-page book. The writing style is great and the story is easy to follow so I rolled through this book in one day. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a non-cutesy mystery set during Christmas.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter Monn

    Really really sad and dark.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    DNF. I grabbed this from a little free library, thinking it might be a cozy, Christmas-themed mystery. It was none of those things. It read like someone's NaNoWriMo first draft. Just so bad. DNF. I grabbed this from a little free library, thinking it might be a cozy, Christmas-themed mystery. It was none of those things. It read like someone's NaNoWriMo first draft. Just so bad.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This book is several stories within one story, with our main character gradually learning about himself during sessions with his therapist while solving a murder. As he examines his personal history, he gains insights into what has occurred in a small town. It kept me engaged, being well-written with interesting characters. However some aspects I found implausible, though part of writing fiction for the author is the freedom to create as he/she pleases. Christmas is not generally prominent in th This book is several stories within one story, with our main character gradually learning about himself during sessions with his therapist while solving a murder. As he examines his personal history, he gains insights into what has occurred in a small town. It kept me engaged, being well-written with interesting characters. However some aspects I found implausible, though part of writing fiction for the author is the freedom to create as he/she pleases. Christmas is not generally prominent in the story, only part of the time frame though the book ends with a hopeful thought.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

    DNFF (Did Not Fucking Finish).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    When a former love interest of our college professor requests his help in an investigation of her client he can’t resist saying yes. Known to have an innate ability to see details others miss, Cameron Winter is someone to have on the case. He’s not without his own demons which I felt gave him compassion despite the melancholy that seems to envelop him. But melancholy does seem to insert itself into the holidays for many people, doesn’t it? At any rate, Cameron has good reason to feel that way. I When a former love interest of our college professor requests his help in an investigation of her client he can’t resist saying yes. Known to have an innate ability to see details others miss, Cameron Winter is someone to have on the case. He’s not without his own demons which I felt gave him compassion despite the melancholy that seems to envelop him. But melancholy does seem to insert itself into the holidays for many people, doesn’t it? At any rate, Cameron has good reason to feel that way. It wasn’t all melancholy. There were a couple of times when I appropriately laughed out loud. Depending on how you read short mysteries this one could probably be read in an afternoon but I took my time and read a chapter or two a day. It’s quite descriptive and the setting is cinematic – I think that Klavan should write the screenplay and maybe direct it. That’s how detailed it read for me. I enjoy a Hallmark-esque novel at this time of year but When Christmas Comes was an entertaining departure. Thanks to Mysterious Press for sending the ARC. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this author. 3.5 rounded up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ray Palen

    I have been a fan and reader of Andrew Klavan’s writing from the start. Klavan, who may be more popular now for his conservative podcast than for his terrific novels, puts his imprint on the holiday season with a great mystery with the Yuletide title, WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES. The interesting thing is that the Christmas holiday does not play a huge role in the novel other than acting as the backdrop for a devastating murder case that is set in a small and extremely close-knit town. The prologue of WH I have been a fan and reader of Andrew Klavan’s writing from the start. Klavan, who may be more popular now for his conservative podcast than for his terrific novels, puts his imprint on the holiday season with a great mystery with the Yuletide title, WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES. The interesting thing is that the Christmas holiday does not play a huge role in the novel other than acting as the backdrop for a devastating murder case that is set in a small and extremely close-knit town. The prologue of WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES takes us beneath the snow, beside the lake in Sweet Haven --- an idyllic town that is soon indelibly tarnished by the sin of a horrifically violent act. It reminded me of David Lynch’s film “Blue Velvet” that is set in a white-picket fence, virginal town about to be forever scandalized by the dark underbelly about to rear its’ ugly head. Sweet Haven in winter time has been called ‘A Christmas card from a simpler time.’ Being such a close-knit town there are bound to be certain families that stand out as leaders of the community. One of those families are the Blake’s who have produced three generations of Army Rangers that includes Travis Blake, a Silver Star winning hero of the Afghan crisis. This is why the terrible act so impacts the very core of Sweet Haven when their favorite son Travis viciously murders, dismembers, and dumps the body of his girlfriend Jennifer Dean somewhere in the town’s lake. As Travis Blake awaits trial, his attorney Victoria Nowak runs into her old lover Cameron Winter and asks a huge favor of him. Cameron is a lonely English teacher who seems permanently distracted and is filled with the ghosts of a past that may have never happened. You can imagine Cameron’s surprise when Victoria, right after telling him she was representing Travis Blake, ask’s Cameron to help get evidence to find him innocent. She remembers that he has always had a knack for figuring out crimes. More so, he helps people find those responsible for acts of evil. Cameron will need to look evil in the face if he is to find Travis Blake to be innocent of the crime, he will most likely be convicted of. What Andrew Klavan gives us throughout the novel is an almost dreamlike past that appears to belong to Cameron even though much of it may be unreliable. One particular story from the past involves a young Cameron being pushed off on the family of his German housekeeper to spend the holidays one year. He recalls the patriarch of the family, Albert, telling a haunting story about interacting with the ghost of a deceased woman named Adelina Weber. The resolution of that tale will definitely give you chills. As Cameron begins digging into the life of Travis Blake, he learns that a veteran who has seen what Travis did cannot ever truly come home again. Could the PTSD that he probably suffers from be behind the alleged murder he committed? He finds that Travis was nearly broken by both the war and certain misfortunes in his past until he met Jennifer Dean. Once the extremely shrewd and sentient Cameron gets rolling, he quickly comes up against a startling fact --- there is no one named Jennifer Dean and there never was. In that case, who was the alleged victim of Travis Blake’s savage attack? Therein is where the mystery lies, and I will not spoil it here. What makes WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES so memorable a read for me is that Cameron, by taking on the mystery of Jennifer Dean he also opens up the door to his own past and secrets he has repressed and kept from himself for decades. It is an ideal mystery novel for the winter season and one you will not soon forget. Reviewed by Ray Palen for Book Reporter

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    The ending was surprising, as heartwarming as can be when the central plot is a murder. I don't read a lot of mysteries so this was new to me. On the pro side, Winters (detective protagonist) was as much an enigma as the central mystery. While that mystery gets wrapped up, Winters stays mysterious enough that I'd be interested to read more stories with him to learn more. There was an odd way of doing flashbacks here where they just slid into them seamlessly and Winters seemed to fill in the detai The ending was surprising, as heartwarming as can be when the central plot is a murder. I don't read a lot of mysteries so this was new to me. On the pro side, Winters (detective protagonist) was as much an enigma as the central mystery. While that mystery gets wrapped up, Winters stays mysterious enough that I'd be interested to read more stories with him to learn more. There was an odd way of doing flashbacks here where they just slid into them seamlessly and Winters seemed to fill in the details. Like the flashback to when Blake met Jennifer, it's based on the principal telling Winters a second hand story of how Blake and Jennifer met but there's a lot of detail there that I think Winters just imagined. I guess that set me up to think there would be some level of unreliable narrator involved but it turned out to be just the way of storytelling. Didn't bother me none though, unreliable narrator's annoy me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    IvyInThePages

    Rating: 3.5 leaves out of 5 Characters: 2.5/5 Cover: 5/5 Story: 3/5 Writing: 3.5/5 Genre: Crime/Mystery Type: Audiobook Worth?: Meh Do I recommend this book to anyone? No. I honestly didn't get the point of this story at all. They call it a mystery, and it is, but I had no desire to get to know the who and what and why. The main character is unremarkably dull. I get no point of his psychiatrist. I should have listened to my gut when I read Stephen King endorsed the author. Rating: 3.5 leaves out of 5 Characters: 2.5/5 Cover: 5/5 Story: 3/5 Writing: 3.5/5 Genre: Crime/Mystery Type: Audiobook Worth?: Meh Do I recommend this book to anyone? No. I honestly didn't get the point of this story at all. They call it a mystery, and it is, but I had no desire to get to know the who and what and why. The main character is unremarkably dull. I get no point of his psychiatrist. I should have listened to my gut when I read Stephen King endorsed the author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    2,5 stars Not a very Christmassy Christmas novel.. If you're looking for a cozy mystery then this is not your book. The main thing I didn't like was that there was nothing left to guess. The story wasn't exciting, there was a weak storyline and I didn't get surprised even once throughout this book. The story just played out and didn't leave anything to guess over, the part that actually makes it fun to read mystery/thriller genres. I do want to point out that it was an easy and quick read, so it w 2,5 stars Not a very Christmassy Christmas novel.. If you're looking for a cozy mystery then this is not your book. The main thing I didn't like was that there was nothing left to guess. The story wasn't exciting, there was a weak storyline and I didn't get surprised even once throughout this book. The story just played out and didn't leave anything to guess over, the part that actually makes it fun to read mystery/thriller genres. I do want to point out that it was an easy and quick read, so it wasn't entirely terrible, just not my cup of tea.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarina Mullen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I do not normally read straight mystery novels but this is more like a novella. It can easily be read in a day or less if you have the time. While I knew there was a small twist and thought I had fully figured it out ahead of time, in typical Klavan fashion, never underestimate him to add just a bit more to the twist. I am looking forward to more books in this series as I would love to get to know Winters in more depth.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandon H.

    "We reveal ourselves in the stories we tell." A lonely, private detective finds himself reminiscing of Christmas past and longing for his first love while he investigates a murder that doesn't add up. A slow burn read with a bit of a sentimental, holiday feel. But not too mushy and an unpredictable ending. If you're into detective stories, it's a decent book to read over the holiday season. "We reveal ourselves in the stories we tell." A lonely, private detective finds himself reminiscing of Christmas past and longing for his first love while he investigates a murder that doesn't add up. A slow burn read with a bit of a sentimental, holiday feel. But not too mushy and an unpredictable ending. If you're into detective stories, it's a decent book to read over the holiday season.

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