Book Review: Christmas in the Empty Cabin and other Holiday Tales by E. Reyes

“Where the hell am I?” Jake said to himself. He was lying on a cold, hard floor. He opened his eyes and realized he was in a cave. The jagged rocks hung above him like a roomy casket.”- Christmas in the Empty Cabin
  • Rating: 3.5
  • Published in: November 2020
  • Read in: December 2020

Book Review: Christmas in the Empty Cabin and other Holiday Tales by E. Reyes

In this collection of 6 holiday-themed horror stories, a girl wakes up on Día de los Muertos to be greeted by some unexpected visitors. A man gives an unsettling account of a very twisted Thanksgiving. A boy becomes interested in a house and the girl who lives there, and she needs a favour from him. A man seeks solutions to the dilemmas of life for a working class family man. A man tries to get help for his injured friend in the woods during a blizzard, and a department store faces a terrifying threat from the season’s most sought after toy.

It’s Christmaaaaas (well, almost), so I’ve been digging into some holiday-themed horror to get myself into the festive spirit, and I’m off to a good start with Christmas in the Empty Cabin and other Holiday Tales by E. Reyes. I really enjoyed this collection of spooky short tales weaved with all of the wonderful winter imagery of the holiday season. I wish a couple of the stories were a little bit longer, such as Christmas Blues and Midnight Visitors, I feel like there could have been a lot to explore in both, but all in all this was a fun read.

My favourite of the collection was The House by the Woods, in which a young boy becomes intrigued by a girl who resides in a house he is particularly drawn to who, it turns out, needs his help with something. I really loved this story and it was both moving and frightening. I enjoy horror stories that lean towards the more sad, emotional side and this little story really packed a punch in that department.

My other favourite was the title story in which a man desperately seeks rescue for his friend in the middle of the woods during a blizzard. It was very much a thrilling race against the elements story with a slightly bizarre (but in a good way)ending. I particularly enjoyed the description of the settings in this story. Nature is a terrifying thing at times and it’s very, very real, which is what made this story scary for me.

The final story, A Scurry Furry Christmas, in which a department store is terrorised by the most popular toy of the holiday season really made me laugh out loud. This story highlighted the author’s talent for dark humour and endearing characters. It was probably the most fun and entertaining of the stories, with a big nod to pop culture. It was like the lovechild of the films Jingle All The Way and The Gremlins. I loved it and it was the perfect way to conclude a diverse, highly entertaining collection of stories.

I’ve never read anything by E. Reyes before, but this was a really fun read and I’m feeling a lot more festive after reading Christmas in the Empty Cabin and other Holiday Tales. I’m looking forward to checking out some of his other story collections.

Buy the book on Amazon.