Genre

Fantasy / Mystery / Comedy / Novella

Audience

Secular, Christian, Catholic, Teens, Adults

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2022

Themes

Christmas, Greed, Commercialism, friendship, memories, A Christmas Carol, redevelopment

 

Reviewed by

Corinna Turner

Private Investigator Vern, the only dragon in the Mundane world, is looking forward to Christmas with his new friend and business partner, Faerie nun Sr. Grace, despite the fact that an investment company is about to force them from their shared home. But when the CEO of the investment company is attacked by the Ghost of Christmas Past—and barely survives—guess who the police call in to solve the case? The race is on to figure out what is going on before the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Future can arrive and finish him off.

With a little more on the feel-good side than the comedy side compared to many Vern outings, this Christmas novella is short but full of heart, suitable for adult readers and teens as well.

Most of the themes are of interest to both secular and Christian readers. The novella takes a few, usually humorous, swipes at the over-commercialization of Christmas. The over-emphasis on commercialism in planning and redevelopment also forms a significant theme since the story revolves heavily around the scheduled demolition of one particular building in the neighborhood earmarked for redevelopment: an old and locally much-loved theatre. The value of a community resource and focus such as this is emphasized, though arguments for the need to sometimes move on are also presented.

The importance of supporting friends through difficult times is an ongoing theme throughout the novella, with not only Vern but also Police Chief Santry rallying around Sister Grace when she needs support. This only adds to the heart-warming nature of this Christmas story.

One aspect of this novel Catholic and other Christian readers may especially enjoy is the presentation of how different people can approach something from such different viewpoints that the good intentions of the other can be almost completely obscured. The character who provides the bridge and gives the reader a glimpse of the more overlooked good intentions was one of my favorite in the novel, since Fabian writes a genuinely sweet and innocent character who is still very engaging—not always the easiest thing to pull off. Unfortunately I cannot name this character without risking serious spoilers.

I found an element of the finale slightly anticlimactic but there was a very satisfying change of heart in one of the previously less likeable characters. (Again, serious spoilers would result if I named the character!)

Although Catholic readers are likely to particularly enjoy a series about a dragon who serves the Faerie Church, any Protestant or secular readers who are happy to read about a devout nun as one of the main characters would enjoy this book. In fact, the faith element in this Vern story is particularly minor and fully interwoven into the plot.

This book is great for adults and teens who enjoy comic fantasy with a hint of Catholicism and fancy a short, fun, heart-warming Christmas tale.

Murder in the Vatican by Ann Margaret Lewis

Sherlock Holmes teams up with Pope Leo XXIII to solve crimes in the Holy City.

Will Wilder and the Relic of Perilous Falls

Follow Will Wilder as he discovers a hidden world, fights demons and rescues a hidden treasure!

Dying for Compassion by Barbara Golder

This is the feisty lady-doc origin story I have been waiting for. Golder proves herself to be an excellent character writer in the mystery genre.

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

This is NOT another DaVinci Code, but it is so cleverly disguised as one it makes the perfect gift for your anti-Catholic friends and family.

Where to begin with Dorothy L. Sayers?

A Detective novelist who believes in conscience, and in the reality of redemption.

Anyone But Him by Theresa Linden

What if you woke up one day and didn’t recognize the person you were sleeping next to?

Roland West Loner by Theresa Linden

When his evil brothers lock Roland up in a dungeon he finds a locked box hiding a mysterious treasure.

How the Dragon Awards Could Uplift Catholic Fiction

If you don’t like current state of mainstream publishing and wish there were more widely available alternatives, this is your chance to help make that a reality.

Best of 2020

Yes some good things DID happen this year- Catholic creators have not let turmoil stop their mission.

Hidden: Don’t Fear the Unseen by Verity Lucia

Clare Thomson wasn’t sure she believed in angels and demons – until she could see them.

Coven (Book 7 of St. Tommy Series): By Declan Finn

St. Tommy fights the CPS and a group of pagans who have taken over a military base.

Death Cult by Declan Finn

St. Tommy continues his fight against the death cult, battling Voodoo priests and zombies along the way.

The Eternal Spring By, Phillip MacArthur

A fairy tale about faith, hope, and the destruction they protect us from.

Hussar by Declan Finn (St. Tommy NYPD Book 8)

It’s been a few years since St. Tommy saved the world. Now his son Jeremy and ward Lena have joined the fight.

The Poppy and The Rose by Ashlee Cowles

While abroad in England, Taylor discovers a mystery linking her to an heiress and passenger aboard The Titanic.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

A young slave girl in ancient Korea investigates a murder & meets real life Korean Catholic saints

Elfling by Corinna Turner

Serapia Ravena is on a mission to find and keep her father, but he has transgressed a boundary that no creature has the right to cross. Only the mercy of God can resolve this tension.

Crusader St. Tommy NYPD Book 5 By: Declan Finn

Detective Nolan embarks on a Crusade against demonic sex traffickers trying to raise a demon.

Hell Spawn by Declan Finn

What does it look like when an every-man saint battles a demon?

Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors by Katharine Campbell

This quirky, fairytale fantasy is a fun and amusing read with a serious moral backbone.