Insidious page turner - starts slow, but pulls you in - a patient and disturbed killer, a secret from the past, a community unprepared. A dark and building mystery - good for a stormy night.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ -NetGalley ARC
After choir practice for midnight mass, college sophomore Rose Grandon takes a short-cut through Harbor Park. Grabbed from behind, she is violently assaulted, beaten and left for dead. The last thing she hears is a tenor voice singing Silent Night.
Several hours later, the police find Rose lying in a ditch. Badly beaten — but alive. As she recovers in hospital, Rose is told she’s pregnant. She has a terrible choice to make. She decides to keep the baby. Nine months later, she gives birth to a beautiful baby girl. She names her Mary. Rose lives quietly in her small Connecticut hometown raising her daughter — the one good thing to come out of her horrible ordeal. She begins to get her old self back, but her evil attacker has never been caught. He strikes twice a year. Once on Christmas Eve, once on Christmas Day and until he’s behind bars, Rose and her baby can never be safe.
But now he’s found out he has a daughter. And that changes everything . . .
I struggled with what to rate this. At one point I was going to give it 3 stars and at another point 5 stars. I decided to split the difference and give it four stars. 🌟
Why I thought it was worthy of 5 stars:
This story takes place over the course of 12 years. December 24, 2008 - December 24, 2020. Each year except for three, the serial killer strikes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day making Rose relive her traumatic experience. Throughout the story different male characters are introduced, making you wonder if they are the killer inserting themselves into Roses life because of her decision to keep her daughter. The story reads smoothly keeping you on the edge of your seat, especially when her child starts showing signs of psycho tendencies.
Why I thought it was worthy of 3 stars:
A few parts of the story weren’t well researched. My two biggest pet peeves were:
1. Calling the river under the Dunn Memorial Bridge in Albany, NY the Jackson River. It’s the Hudson River.
2. The chapter about the birth and adoption process. When you’ve made the decision to give your child up for adoption and you’re working with Catholic Charities they do not put you on the maternity floor. You’re put on another floor away from other new parents and babies, the reason being if you’ve made the choice to give your child up for adoption it would be traumatic to be around them. They don’t let you see the baby, let alone nurse the baby. And the baby is not given directly to adoptive parents. The child is put in a Catholic Charities foster home because you have 30 days to change your mind. It would be equally traumatic for adoptive parents to be given a child only to have it taken away a few days or weeks later. I ended up not taking these into consideration because unless you know these things, they’re not going to affect your reading of the book. With that said I recommend this book, especially if you like serial killer thrillers.
Thank you to NetGalley and Joffe Publishing for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.
*** TRIGGER WARNINGS***
RAPE , VIOLENCE TOWARDS WOMEN
Rose is a college sophomore with her whole life ahead of her. She decides to take a shortcut on her way home from choir practice through a dark park on Christmas Eve. She is approached from behind, bag put over her head, severely beaten, raped and left for dead.
She’s found hours later clinging to life.
While recovering in the hospital she speaks with police and informs them that the last thing she heard before going black was a man’s beautiful tennor voice singing ,Silent night. She learns there was another attack on Christmas Day.
She is also told she is pregnant. She decides to keep the baby and nine months later gives birth to a beautiful baby girl she names Mary. The only good thing to come out of her awful ordeal.
Her attacker was never caught and Rose lives in fear as these attacks continue to happen over the years. One on Christmas Eve and one on Christmas Day. So, “Twice on Christmas.”
The attacker himself, while watching the news has just learned he has a daughter. Rose and Mary may never be safe.
Id like to extend my gratitude to NetGalley , Joffee books and McGarvey Black for my free copy of this awesome story. I was sucked right in from the first page and was engaged the whole read. Easy 4.5 out of 5. I highly recommend this book.
This is my honest and unbiased review.
***GO GET YOURSELF A COPY.**
You won’t be sorry. Great story.
A great psychological thriller, an unputdownable book, tense, twisty and an edge of your seat read. If you like a good thrilling read than this is the book for you.
It is entertaining, Christmassy, thrilling and has some great twists and turns. Rose is attacked on her way home and left for dead. She recovers only to find she is now pregnant. So trying to live her life won't be easy and with the killer (and father of her child) still at large what will become of them both. This is a book that is so different from others but in some ways a bit predictable. but it is still interesting and entertaining and I enjoyed reading it.
Thank you NetGalley and Joffe Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rose Grandon excitedly looks forward to her choir solo in the midnight mass on Christmas eve. As she walks home from the final practice to get ready for the event she is savagely attacked and left for dead. Rose suffered many broken bones as well as having PTSD from her attack and then finds out she is pregnant from this horrid monster. In the end Rose keeps her beautiful baby but not without many problems along the way.
Year after year the local detectives along with the FBI check in with Rose to see if she remembers anything new at all because every Christmas more women have been brutally assaulted or murdered and the authorities have never come up with any potential suspects so Rose has to relive her horror from that night, always living in fear that her attacker will come back for her again.
Maybe Rose is right to be fearful because when she finally lets down her guard, her life again and her child's will never be the same.
Merry Christmas 🎄Rose!!🌹
This was a very entertaining holiday mystery/thriller that I'm so glad to have read. Initially, I thought this was going to be a cozy mystery but to my delight it was definitely not warm and cozy but dark and twisted! I loved some of the red herrings and twists which some readers found predictable but I was kept guessing since there would be a few different suspects to pick from and I loved the twists with her daughter unsure how things would turn out in the first end. Sometimes the story moved somewhat slowly but with the terrific writing by "McGarvey Black" it made the characters have more realism which kept me invested in all the details. The last twenty-five percent of the book was very exciting and thrilling and was definitely worth the wait!
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a really good dark Christmas thriller or just a great mystery for any time of year. I will definitely look forward to reading more books from this talented author!
I want to thank the publisher "Joffe Books" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this digital copy and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!
I have given a rating of 4 DISTURBING HOLIDAY 🌟🌟🌟🌟 STARS!!
After choir practice, college sophomore Rose takes a shortcut through Harbor Park. Grabbed from behind, she is violently beaten and left for dead. The last thing she hears is a tenor voice singing Silent Night. As she recovers in hospital, Rose is told she’s pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Rose lives quietly raising her daughter, but her evil attacker has never been caught. He strikes twice a year. Once on Christmas Eve, once on Christmas Day. But now he’s found out he has a daughter. And that changes everything.
TWICE ON CHRISTMAS started strong with the search to find Rose and the life-changing attack that would forever alter her future. From the get, I felt connected to Rose and her supportive family. I admired her strength and maternal instinct towards her daughter, Mary. Unfortunately, midway through, the narrative lost steam, and it gradually became predictable.
On top of that, the detectives were ridiculous. They were too busy lolly-gagging instead of looking for this Christmas nightmare murderer. It became insensitive to the victims regarding how little they did to catch the culprit. And as for the twist, meh, I called it early on. The premise of TWICE ON CHRISTMAS had all the potential in the world. Sadly, it fell flat for me. As much as I love a festive Christmas thriller, I wouldn’t recommend this one if you’re looking for any shock value.
Taking a short cut home after Choir practice time, Rose is brutality attacked and left for dead. The last thing she hears is her attacker singing silent night. While recovering, Rose discovers she is pregnant and makes the decision to keep the baby. Her attacker has never been caught, and every year at Christmas, Rose has to live through her ordeal again and again.
This is a fast paced Thriller and was definitely creepy and disturbing in parts and had me gripped and needing to finish. For me it was obvious from early how it was going to go but I don't think that spoilt the enjoyment and there were a few curveball moments that has me thinking I might be wrong along the way. Would definitely recommend you be looking for more from this author.
Thank you to Netgalley, Joffe Books, and McGarvey Black for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Sadly this book wasn't what I thought it was and I ended up not finishing it at 25 percent, it starts off strong with a assault on christmas eve and then it changes into something else....almost a character study of a SA surviver.
So this author has other books out? Just where have I been!
This was so very good! In my opinion. I read this within two days even though I stayed up to early hours to finish it!
The Christmas serial killer. Not just any old serial killer! Not your typical one either or a “police catch me quick” killer. This had me on my toes especially reading it on New years Eve and Christmas Day, it could have been me! Bit eerie in the dark reading this but worth the chills.
I’ve got to test another of his books out, Cus this was good
Christmas isn't Christmas without a serial killer running around. This book really had me hooked from the start, however I reached a point where I could literally not stop reading because I had to know what happened next. I felt that the yearly updates and some interactions just seemed to weigh this book down and made it a bit repetitive in parts. The ending though was one of the best I have read in some time. The book leaves you guessing as to what will happen next. I really enjoyed this one and liked having a little extra darkness to my holiday. Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley.
Twice on Christmas
Nothing says Christmas like a serial killer who rapes and murders his victims while singing silent night, right?
This is the first Christmas thriller I’ve ever read and wow it is a genre I want to read more of! I loved the whole set up for this book, the characters were interesting and when I tell you I was suspicious of every man in this book I’m not exaggerating. I had an uneasy throughout the entirety of the novel and the short snappy chapters kept me absolutely hooked. I did guess the ending of the book but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment I had throughout the reading experience - I actually really enjoyed playing detective alongside the FBI.
Thank you to the author, the publisher and @netgalley for the epub in exchange for an honest review! Merry Christmas 🔪🎄
A serial killer who strikes twice on Christmas...first on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas day. I have found that Christmas thrillers are few and far between so any time I find them, I scoop them up. This book was fun because not only did it have the thriller element, it also had a lot of Christmas feels. The story spans several years and Christmas is an important time for each year. There were tons of suspects and red herrings and I was wrong about my assumptions. This was a very fun Christmas story that I definitely recommend.
I received this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A Christmas thriller with tons of potential but it just fell a little flat for me. I expected there to be so much more to the story, especially with the daughter, but it stalled. The story was a bit unrealistic and extremely drawn out. I did appreciate that there were plenty of suspects, but it was pretty obvious and predictable.
Thank you to NetGalley and Joffe Books for this eARC.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this one! I saved this one for December to get me in the Christmas mood (A thriller for Christmas mood who am i?) But i really did enjoy this one! It was very dark which I loved, it was sad in the right places but kept me hooked! Who doesnt love a book about a serial killer!
Christmas is usually associated with happiness. But when a serial killer is on the loose, things go from jovial to scary real fast.
After reading my fair share of holiday romances, I thought it would be fun to switch it up and read a Christmas thriller. McGarvey Black’s Twice on Christmas was one of the most unsettling books I read in 2023. While I was not expecting this book to be a light read, I was deeply affected by the repeated violent attacks, rapes, murders, and PTSD episodes mentioned.
With that said, Black did a terrific job of getting me to invest in Rose’s life. So much so that I couldn’t accept the Kringle Killer was someone she knew intimately. However, it was my inability to pinpoint the murderer that made me stick with the story. I am so glad I did. I was shocked when I finally discovered his identity!
Special thanks to Netgalley, McGarvey Black, and Joffee Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest feedback.
I don't read psychological thrillers all that often, some can be really hokey and not much of a plot. Not so with this one, it took my breath away.
A young boy, innocent, still barely holding onto his belief in Santa, is hoping Santa will bring him a few gifts this year because he knows his mother won't. There's never a tree or any trimmings to make the holidays special. Neglected and unwanted, he knows his mother would rather be sleeping off her drunken fits than even putting food on the table. He is filled with rage and knows what he must do, and he will when he gets older.
Rose is a shy, church going girl, excelling at school, she doesn't have many friends. A Christmas eve service has her excited to be with a few friends from church as the youth groups plans that evening's events. Living close to church she slips out early to wrap a few presents and plans it as she walks home in the dark that evening. Her route takes her past a dark and deserted park. Frantic, her parents call the police when she is hours late getting home. An evening search finds her badly beaten and sexually assaulted; the hospital staff not sure if she'll survive. After months of physical therapy, she's physically able to recover in body but she will never be the same. Finding herself pregnant from the attack she decides at the last minute to keep the baby and lives with her parents who give their full support to her choices and help with her child. Deciding to move to her own place when her child is a school age, she enrolls her child in a local school and meets the new teacher, her child's new teacher a male. Her daughter and this teacher form a special bond, she is a challenging student but likes her teacher and they just click. When the teacher needs to talk to Rose about her daughter Mary's behavior, he also makes an impression on the mother. This is the start of a special friendship that turns into a romance between Rose and David, the teacher. He was the nicest man, always so understanding of Mary, the daughter and they both fell for his charm and kindness. After the wedding they settle into his house. Rose is kept updated on the Christmas Eve killer every year by the police. He only strikes on Christmas and twice on Christmas Eve. Very few of his victims survive as he strikes along the East Coast of the United States. Rose doesn't feel safe because whoever did this to her is still out there. Tucked away in her house with her daughter and new husband she feels as safe as she can possible be with the decorations up and the spirit of Christmas, she should have no worries, right?
A shocking, twist of a story that lulls you into feeling safe and then strikes when you least expect it. Excellent!
Pub Date 12 Oct 2023
I was given a complimentary copy of this book.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Great story, short chapters, and I couldn't put it down! The twist was a little predictable but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Perfect Christmas read
Twice on Christmas puts a new twist on a serial killer thriller. This book will grab you from the beginning and you won't be able to put it down. I finished the book in one day and kept trying to figure out who the killer was. After choir practice, Rose Brandon, a college sophomore begins the walk home. It's dark and cold, but she knows if she cuts through the park it will save her a lot of time. It's Christmas Eve and Rose has a lot to do before coming back to the church to sing for midnight mass. Rose decides to cut through the park to save time. She hears twigs breaking as someone behind her is stepping on them. She picks up her pace, but it's not enough. Before she knows what's happening, the person behind her has put a burlap bag over her head and is hitting her head hard. He's also strangling Rose and Rose is having trouble breathing. As she is losing consciousness, Rose hears the most beautiful voice singing Silent Night.
When Rose isn't home at the normal time, her mother and father grow concerned. They assume she is chatting with friends and just slow getting back. When it gets to be a couple hours past the time Rose should've been home, they call the police. Rose's father goes out and drives the route that she would've walked from the church to their house. Her mother calls the church and Rose's friends that were with her at choir practice. No one has seen her since they all left the church at 7. As Rose's father comes back with no sighting of her, the police arrive.
A search party is dispatched with neighbors, church goers, and friends, Rose's body is found down in a ditch. She's badly beaten and has serious injuries, but she is somehow alive.
Rose has surgeries to repair her broken bones and gets all of her cuts and lacerations stitched up. It's going to take awhile for Rose to recover physically and the mental recovery will take even longer. When Rose is recovering in the hospital the doctor informs her that she is pregnant. Her attacker raped her and it's his child. Rose decides to have the baby and put it up for adoption. No one understands why she wants to put herself through this, but everyone is supportive. Nine months later, Rose gives birth to a baby girl. She decides to name the baby Mary and she knows that she can't give the baby up. Rose decides to keep Mary and loving her is the best thing for Rose's recovery. Rose moves in permanently with her parents as they have plenty of room. They have converted one of the rooms into a nursery for Mary and they are happy to have their daughter and granddaughter with them.
The man who attacked Rose keeps it up each year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The woman he attacks on Christmas Eve usually survives, but the woman he attacks on Christmas Day normally dies. He doesn't kill at any other time of year, so it's almost impossible to catch him. He also attacks/kills in different states along the east coast each time. The two women are always attacked in the same state and it seems as if he's heading south each year. Who would attack and kill women only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Why would someone choose to do it on only those days? What does the man do the rest of the year? How does he keep it together? When the attacker finds out that Rose had his baby he's a man on a mission. What will he do? He is drawn to his daughter and wants to be near her. How will he accomplish this? Is Rose safe? Is Mary safe? Rose never saw his face, she only heard him sing. How will she know who to trust?
This is a fantastic book with several possibilities of men who could be him. It will keep you reading well into the night and up early to start again. McGarvey Black does a phenomenal job of adding more and more suspense as you read. I rate Twice on Christmas 5 stars with my highest recommendation. I'd like to thank NetGalley and Joffe Books for an advanced copy of Twice on Christmas in exchange for a fair review. #TwiceOnChristmas
The concept was interesting, and the author tried steering 5e reader in several directions of suspicion which I felt was very contrived. It was too long, and too much repetitive in the discussion of the case year after year. Seemed unrealistic.
This was a real page turner! Just like all of the other books that I have read by this author, this was a book with a gripping story and real twists.
I found myself dreading the chapters which were set in December - waiting with bated breath to see who had been attacked that year.
The trauma that Rose went through, and the emotions and distress that she still felt all those years later were well-written and really came across to the reader.
A great book!