What makes Gary Fry special in the world of dark fiction writing is that he resides in Whitby and as any connoisseur of horror will inform you this is where Bram Stoker of Dracula fame resided when he wrote with some eloquence about the vampire Count Dracula.
Mr Fry has his own unique style and Fearful Festivities is a fun filled horror frolic regarding the somewhat obsessed human pastime of consumerism. There are elements of the “Faustian Bargain” ....making a contract with the devil in exchange for worldly gains and slight touches of Needful Things by Stephen King...Customers at a new shop in Castle Rock must perform “little deeds” in exchange for an object of their lifelong dreams and desires.
Three days before Christmas the residents of Hitherton are receiving by post and email a special invitation “An end to all woes: Tell us what you want Christmas is a time for Miracles” As each invitation is returned and the wishes of the residents are granted the true nature and horror of the evil contract that has been entered into soon becomes apparent as an “evil” violates their lives. “All these people had been specially selected, but not at random. An alien intelligence had zeroed in on the neediest, the loneliest, and those most susceptible to temptation. Their collective wants had created the invader, and now this monster intended to feed.”
The true message of what the author is attempting to convey is realised as the novel closes and a clear warning to those who view xmas festivities as rampant consumerism....
“I need a sense of neighbourliness and trust. I need to feel that the people I meet every day are looking out for me, and I need to give them the same reassurance. I need practical things like washing machines and fridges and a home to call my own, but I also need to put a limit on the number of things I can sensibly consume, lest they devour my spirit. I need love. I need family. I need a future brightened by hope, and I need a past I don’t wish only to forget. I need to work. I need to rest. I need to play. And lastly but by no means least, I need a balanced state of mind.”
So a very seasonal and enjoyable read from a great author with a timely warning.