St. Nick by Alan Russell
It’s not looking like a very merry Christmas for San Diego cop Nick Pappas. Suspended from his job, alienated from his family, and persecuted by the press, he’s sorely tempted to turn his gun on himself. Except for his first name, he couldn’t possibly have less in common with jolly old St. Nicholas. But when a local mall decides it needs a secret Santa to help collar some vicious muggers preying on its holiday shoppers, Nick’s persuaded to red-suit up so as to take the naughty punks down and avert a ho-ho homicide. For a chance to bust bad guys, Nick’s willing to deal with crying kids, pushy parents, and a chronically cheerful “elf” sidekick. But the biggest challenge for this cop-turned-Claus is one that would confound even the real Kris Kringle: making a pair of next-to-impossible Christmas wishes come true for two children in need…before it’s too late.
My Review: This book was not what I expected. I expected, from the book description, that this would be about a suspended cop that took on some freelance Santa-ing security to help pay the bills. What I got was an emotional ride through loss and redemption. I was impressed. Everyone should read it. Everyone except muggers. It will make muggers sad. Come on you knew he caught the bad guys in the end. That isn’t the important part of the story. It’s extra and if you’ve read the story that far and catching the muggers is your only concern; well then, you’re soulless.
This story is about Nick waking up every morning and looking at the gun on his kitchen table while he drinks his coffee. It’s a story about a Santa’s elf who turned all of the hurt and pain of a life changing event into the promise of a joyous season for all. I will never forget that elf. It’s also about two very different children who end up having a very important person in common, one who enriches their lives while they both change his forever. I will carry these characters with me forever.
I love this book. It’s not the kind of book you will ever forget. It’s strong, heartfelt and reminds you that Christmas is a time when anything is possible. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a Christmas story. This story transcends seasons. And just think, you can have Christmas again. And it’s March. Who wouldn’t want that?