The fat man: A tale of North Pole noir by Ken Harmon book review


A satire of traditional Christmas stories and noir, The Fat Man makes the perfect gift for the literary-minded.

A hardboiled elf is framed for murder in a North Pole world that plays reindeer games for keeps, and where favorite holiday characters live complex lives beyond December.

Fired from his longtime job as captain of the Coal Patrol, two-foot-three inch 1,300-year-old elf Gumdrop Coal is angry. He’s one of Santa’s original elves, inspired by the fat man’s vision to bring joy to children on that one special day each year. But somewhere along the way things went sour for Gumdrop. Maybe it was delivering one too many lumps of coal for the Naughty List. Maybe it’s the conspiracy against Christmas that he’s starting to sense down every chimney. Either way, North Pole disillusionment is nothing new: Some elves brood with a bottle of nog, trying to forget their own wish list. Some get better. Some get bitter. Gumdrop Coal wants revenge. Justice is the only thing he knows, and so he decides to give a serious wakeup call to parents who can’t keep their vile offspring from landing on the Naughty List. But when one parent winds up dead, his eye shot out with a Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model BB gun, Gumdrop Coal must learn who framed him and why. Along the way he’ll escape the life-sucking plants of the Mistletoe Forrest, battle the infamous Tannenbomb Giant, and survive a close encounter with twelve very angry drummers and their violent friends. The horrible truth lurking behind the gingerbread doors of Kringle Town could spell the end of Christmas-and of the fat man himself. Holly Jolly!

The book started off interestingly enough, but, quite quickly, it slowed and continued to drag all the way throughout.

I feel as if it tried so hard to be a ‘Noir’ novel that it became cliche, including the characters. Nothing seemed particularly surprising and fun to discover and it became obvious what was going to happen long before it did. and there was a constant summary of events which was irritating.

The only thing I found interesting and surprising was the murderer, but, to be honest, by that time I didn’t care and just wanted to finish the book. And the murderer always surprises me.

It’s a running joke that, when watching a murder mystery, if I attempt to guess the murderer no one chooses the same one as me because it’s DEFINITELY not them, so yeah…

They were a few plot elements at the start that could’ve been fun to explore, but the novel didn’t go in that direction. It never strayed off the path really.

The writing is easy to read, but not very imaginative, but that could be because I found the plot too obvious. Who knows? A book that I barely remember even though I just finished it.

To sum up, Forgettable, Ok writing, Cliche

Was it worth the read? No

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? No

Stars: 2/6


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