The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir By: Ken Harmon
Plot: 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!
Review: The first two thirds of this book were good bordering on great. I was wondering if Ken Harmon had any more books to read and was planning on looking into them immediately. Then I was side swiped with an overly sentimental and religious ending and it totally killed my buzz. The book was filled with all kinds of innuendo and language so I was surprised at where Harmon went with the ending. I wasn’t surprised at the inclusion of Christ in the story, he had everyone else associated with Christmas, I was surprised at the complete change in tone of the story. It went from very noir in language and feel to just another religious Christmas book.
That is a strange twist considering where is started. I was all on board to read this but it sounds like Harmon kind of jumped the shark. I don’t particulary care about a religious message one way or the other but it seems out of place with noir…
I agree. The whole first 2/3 were filled with innuendo and language you would expect in a Christmas noir so it was a real shock at the sudden change.
That’s a shame. Maybe he ‘found religion’ halfway through writing it. Sounded great until the ending. Merry Christmas to you x
I wondered if maybe his publisher wanted him to make that kind of ending. I didn’t check to see if it was a Christian press. Maybe he thought it would be easier to publish with that ending? Oh well. Merry Christmas to you too!