The Dark Servant by Matt Manochio

Retro Review


The Dark Servant by Matt Manochio
Horror Fiction, 290 Pages
"Santa's not the only one coming to town..."

It has tormented European children for centuries. Now America faces its wrath. Unsuspecting kids vanish as a blizzard crushes New Jersey. All that remains are signs of destruction-and bloody hoof prints stomped in the snow.

Seventeen-year-old Billy Schweitzer awakes on December 5 feeling depressed. Already feuding with his police chief father and golden boy older brother, Billy's devastated when his dream girl rejects him. When an unrelenting creature infiltrates his town, endangering his family and friends, Billy must overcome his own demons to understand why supposedly innocent high school students have been snatched, and how to rescue them from a famous saint's ruthless companion-that cannot be stopped.

My Thoughts

I know you know it:

“He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake “

Think that song’s a little creepy? Well, trust me, after reading The Dark Servant, those seemingly innocent lyrics will forevermore take on an ominous new meaning. Author Matt Manochio fills in all the blanks implied in those words up there.

Santa has an evil sidekick named Krampus. Krampus is not cuddly. Nor is he a kind, plump fool doling out gifts to “good” little brats. He’d much rather chain you up and lick the flesh from your face while you beg for mercy. No, you do not want Krampus coming after your bad self. So try your very best to be good kiddos.

The kiddos in this story weren’t very good to each other and thus Krampus comes a-calling.

“Besides the beast’s howls, the last bit Travis remembered before losing consciousness was the smell that started the nightmare: the odor of a malevolent force that invaded New Jersey twenty days before Christmas.”

Sorry. I tried to resist. The temptation was too great.

Once Krampus arrives in town, armed with his handy dandy giant backpack-crate, his steamy breath, torturous tongue and his list, teens quickly start to go missing. One of those teens is Billy’s older brother. Billy braves a treacherous snowstorm and risks his life to discover the truth behind the disappearances. What he discovers is unbelievable but he doesn’t let it discourage him. Along the way he grows up, finds love and becomes a better, braver, much more confident person ready to face off against the likes of Krampus.

Maybe Krampus isn’t so bad after all! I’m betting there are many towns that would benefit greatly from a Krampus visit. . . .

I very much enjoyed this story. It had a quick pace and teen kids who act like jerks but don’t get off easy. My only complaint was that I thought it got a little too “talky” in bits. You may think differently. Truly, though, the best thing about this story is its terrifying, unpredictable monster that had a snarky, dark sense of humor and was also a little bit of perv. I have to admit, I kind of adored him
. Otherwise, he was 100% amusing.

“I crave your beauty. The despairing feelings you imbue in others, your masterfully concealed wretchedness and your physical grace embody a perfect creature. If only the Master would permit me to take a bride…”

To sum this up (finally, you say), if you’re already sick of the Christmas shopping insanity and looking for a little holiday nastiness to better get you in the spirit, you’ll probably want to read this. I have no regrets and will probably do it again next November.

*I received this book to review for Horror After Dark. Thank you Samhain and Nikki!*


  1. Can you call a book like this a fun read? 'Cause it sounds like a fun read, if you know what I mean. :)

    1. Parts of it were really fun. I only wish there had been more of the Krampus humor :)

  2. I am not a big fan of Christmas stories. But maybe I would like this kind of Christmas tale :) Sounds like fun...all except the spoiler :(

    1. I'm not a big fan of Christmas stories either.They're usually too syrupy for me.

  3. Sounds good and creepy to me. I like to read stories featuring Krampus. Wicked cover too.

    1. This Krampus was a nicely sarcastic. Just the way I like him ;)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Listener by Robert R. McCammon Review

Stalking You Now by Jeff Strand Retro Review

Hanging Around the Blogs: News You May Have Missed (6)