Short Take: “Santa Took Them,” William Malmborg

Pros: Fun, frenetic, crazy
Cons: Small holes
Rating: 4 out of 5

William Malmborg’s Santa Took Them is a fun and frenetic serial killer thriller. Years ago, most of the members of a family were killed, and the number one suspect was Michelle, a young woman who was found with the bodies. “Santa Took Them” was written in blood on the walls. Now Michelle has been released from the psychiatric facility where she was kept, and has returned to town to stay with her uncle–who, of course, turns up dead. Michelle’s doctor, Samantha, decides to check in on her. Unlike most of the rest of the town, she believes Michelle never committed the first murders.


Want a quick, fun, trippy serial killer tale? Give this one a try. It isn’t perfect. There are bits and pieces of things that are never adequately explained. But on the whole it’s just a fun way to spend the afternoon. There’s Santa, there are killings, there are near-deaths and there are daring escapes. There’s a plethora of characters, some of whom think Michelle’s doctor Samantha might even be carrying out the murders, or at least helping Michelle to do so. There are some pretty messed up teens that make the whole thing even more complicated, and long-held prejudices trip people up.

Santa Took Them isn’t high art, but it isn’t meant to be. It’s an entertaining thrill ride with plenty of screams and twists of plot.

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