From award-winning author Richard Barre come seven compelling short stories, four of them brand new.
Each story is accompanied by a foreword from one of today’s best authors: J.L. Abramo, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Michael Koryta, Brad Parks, and Gary Phillips.
Praise for CHRISTMAS STORIES …
“Shorter but much weightier is ‘The Star’ by Richard Barre, in which an African-American youngster in 1953 Los Angeles receives an unusual Christmas present from an Eastern European neighbor, a silent-screen veteran whose severe demeanor masks subtle powers. Combining the period feel of a vintage Ed McBain tale with the eerie aura of a “Twilight Zone” episode, “The Star” glows in memory long after the last page is turned.” — Wall Street Journal
“Although known as a writer of outstanding detective novels, Richard Barre has written a suspense story of extraordinary poignancy that will keep readers at the edge of their seats as they also need to dry their eyes.” — Otto Penzler, Mysterious Press
“This story reminds me of Poe in many ways. A house with an aura, a cloak of the seemingly sinister underworld. A man of intrigue and mystery. A young person full of curiosity and hope. There is a spooky polish rubbed over all of this, onto every surface until it shines. Barre knows what he is doing and this story shows it. Edgar would be proud because it ripples with the muscle of less being more.” — Michael Connelly, Author of The Fifth Witness and The Drop
“No one has done [redemption] better in any form than Rod Serling. I loved that show — Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone — where week after week, Serling offered up stylish, heart-breaking examinations of traveling salesmen, bookish nerds, retirement-home foundlings, and other lost souls staring down the barrels of their own lost lives. Bethany is such a story. Richard Barre shows the same depth and humanity that illuminated Serling’s work by reminding us — as we question ourselves in bleak moments — of the questions we often forget to ask: Are the switches flipped by chance or design? Are we being given a curse or a gift?” — Robert Crais, Author of The Watchman and Taken
“Richard Barre’s fine ‘Wind on the River’ is another accomplished period piece, taking place in the American West in December 1879. A hawk-eyed, close-mouthed stranger rides onto the rough Dakota Territory homestead of Laney Van Rennslaer and her invalid husband and pays for lodging in their barn. Soon a band of Pinkerton agents arrives in pursuit of the stranger, claiming that he is a wanted outlaw and known killer. Laney, though, has a better opinion of the stranger and chooses to hide his presence from the posse. The consequences of that choice are revealed in “Wind on the River” (the third in an eclectic annual series of seasonal tales by Mr. Barre). This well-wrought, atmospheric and eventful story carries the emotional heft of a novel 10 times its length. Its unexpected message of selfless sacrifice (“a gift is only a gift when you accept it”) proves neatly in keeping with the holiday’s original meaning.” — Wall Street Journal
“Wow. Richard Barre has long been one of my favorite private-eye writers, but Wind on the River demonstrates what an incredible talent he is. Does it show his diversity? Yes, of course. His gift for language and storytelling? Sure. But more than that, Richard Barre’s ability to move us in ways both subtle and powerful — that’s what raises this story into the realm of greatness. Greatness. I don’t use that word often. But as with “Wow,” it works here.” — Harlan Coben, author of Live Wire and Shelter
“The sheer beauty and strength of Barre’s writing gives a glow of redemption that is extremely rare in any kind of fiction.” — Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune