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THE FAT MAN by Ken Harmon


A Tale of North Pole Noir

by Ken Harmon

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-525-95195-7
Publisher: Dutton

Santa and Christmas sabotaged by elves.

Gumdrop Coal, a 1,300-year-old elf, is the wise guy who convinced Santa to substitute coal for toys as Christmas gifts for naughty kids. As supervisor of the Kringle Town’s Coal Patrol, he kept the naughty list, delivered the coal and hoped it would prompt better behavior. When it didn’t, Gumdrop took more aggressive action, beating up on the parents like Raymond Hall Senior in hopes they would set a better example. Mightily displeased, Santa, at the nudging of Charles “Candy” Cane, fired Gumdrop and returned to making toys for everyone, a wearying task causing him to lose weight. Then Raymond Hall is found dead, shot with an air rifle; Candy gains power; and Gumdrop becomes an outlaw. Fleeing to Misfit Isle, where broken toys are banished, he finds rogue elves on the naughty list, uncovers a plot to unseat Santa and dashes off to encounter all the feisty members of the 12 Days of Christmas, determined to capture him. With the help of his friend Dingleberry and his galpal Rosebud, Gumdrop unearths even more skulduggery, including two more deaths, warring reindeer with sharpened antlers and rioting elves. With a bit of elf magic and chutzpah, he manages to restore order to Kringle Town, rescue Santa and settle down in the firm belief that everyone will eventually opt for good. Ho ho ho.

Ad man Harmon delivers a witty satire on the meaning of Christmas. If you don’t long to attend the Loading of the Sleigh Parade, you deserve coal in your stocking.