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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Don't Be Home for Christmas by Richard Wickliffe is a modern suspense thriller following lead character Kyle Colbert, a Santa tie-wearing Manhattan executive who, as it turns out, is about to get the Christmas shock of a (potentially shortened) lifetime after he heads home to the suburbs. Imagine his surprise when his young son and daughter, still in the single digit ages of life, greet Daddy with the barrel of a Winchester and a butcher knife. From there it's a race to find out why everyone he loves—and everyone else he doesn't know at all—is trying to kill him, and figure out a way to stop it when even those he's meant to trust are bent on seeing him dead. The holidays, terrorism, and puffer fish poison abound as Kyle is forced to solve a mystery into whose explosive center he has been unknowingly thrust.
Don't Be Home for Christmas is a fast-paced, intelligent piece of fiction with all the action a reader expects in a thriller, and all of the wit we desperately crave but rarely seem to get. Richard Wickliffe writes in crisp, clean prose, executing a narrative that engages and dialogue that feels wholly authentic. There are moments of absolute hilarity, but the humor threads through the suspense in a way that doesn't compromise good suspense and drama for a forced laugh. I was drawn in by a really cool cover and the promise of a story that provided the antithesis to the Christmas spirit, and Wickliffe delivered with a book that will sit comfortably on the bookshelves of lovers of the thriller genre.