Author: Alan Russell
Performed by Patrick Lawlor
Released on Audio March 2014 by Brilliance Audio
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.
This is the best kind of Christmas story and I don’t think it matters what time of year it’s read. The season works it’s magic on Nick without being overly slushy and the message is one of hope, as well as love, humour and loss, with a touch of romance. It’s very moving and what could be better for a Christmas tale.
I had thought Mr Russell must have done some research even before I read his account of events leading up to publication, but didn’t realise the extent and involvement of his research. An interesting story in itself.
Nick is at an all time low after a shooting incident and some bad press. I had to feel sorry for him especially as he is also suspended and missing his children.
Nick’s story is a sad one and then, as he’s roped in to a job he really doesn’t want by his old partner, who now runs a security team in a shopping mall, his life begins to change. He doesn’t realise it at first but this is the turning point to a better and happier life.
The cast of characters are real, people you might know already or meet, easy to relate to and like. A credible story with good character development, I really enjoyed it. All in all a very satisfactory and uplifting, although sad in one respect, ending.
I always look forward Patrick Lawlor’s narrations, good characterisations with just the right amount of emotion.