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"Candy Cain Kills" Book Review

Written by Zach Rosenberg

Published by Shortwave Publishing

candy cain kills brian mcauley poster large

Written by Brian McAuley
2023, 101 pages, Fiction
Released on November 14th, 2023


In Curse of the Reaper, Brian McAuley showed himself as a force to be reckoned within the slasher genre. Returning for Candy Cain Kills, McAuley enshrines himself as one of the masters. Taking his cues from such classics as Black Christmas or Dead End, the novella tells the story of Austin and Fiona, a pair of siblings dragged along by their parents on a forced bonding exercise.

Unfortunately, this trip happens to bring them to a remote cottage. But as is often the case in such stories, the cabin is the site of a very infamous massacre that gave rise to the tale of “Candy Cain.” A terrifying murderer who slaughtered her own family. Candy Cain is said to haunt the area and anyone who enters is fair game.

And given we’re in a horror story, there’s more than a gem of truth to urban legends. McCauley knows exactly how to build suspense in such a tale. Starting off with a gruesome kill that one could see as the first murder before the opening credits, he then proceeds to develop our main characters and establish the dynamic. Which ensures we fully get invested in caring about this family and what results.

The story is full of twists and turns. Our author delights in faking his audience out and having a good time keeping the readers guessing. The kills are spectacular, gruesomely written, but with an element of enjoyable camp. Candy Cain is a slasher villain for the ages; brutal and with elements of sadness and tragedy. But these only serve to make her all the more frightening.

Candy Cain Kills ensures it places us in the shoes of a family fighting to stay alive through a series of increasing nightmares that end with Candy Cain herself. It’s another great slasher from McAuley’s expert pen, and stabs as deftly as a sharpened candy cain…


Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.

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About The Author
Zach Rosenberg
Staff Reviewer - USA
Zach Rosenberg is a fantasy and horror writer living in Florida. He appreciates the ocean, wildlife and his love of literature was constantly nurtured growing up where he practically lived in the libraries, reading every horror and fantasy book he could get his hands on. His print debut short story "The Teeth Of the Deeps" is featured in the fifth short story collection from Dead Sea Press.
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