Book Reviews

{Review} The Dark Servant by Matt Manochio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

by Matt Manochio
Published by Samhain Publishing on November 14, 2014
Genres: Horror
Pages: 290
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon



“He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake “

Think that song’s a little creepy? Well, trust me, after reading The Dark Servant, those seemingly innocent lyrics will forevermore take on an ominous new meaning. Author Matt Manochio fills in all the blanks implied in those words up there.

Santa has an evil sidekick named Krampus. Krampus is not cuddly. Nor is he a kind, plump fool doling out gifts to “good” little brats. He’d much rather chain you up and lick the flesh from your face while you beg for mercy. No, you do not want Krampus coming after your bad self. So try your very best to be good kiddos.

The kiddos in this story weren’t very good to each other and thus Krampus comes a-calling.

“Besides the beast’s howls, the last bit Travis remembered before losing consciousness was the smell that started the nightmare: the odor of a malevolent force that invaded New Jersey twenty days before Christmas.”

Sorry. I tried to resist. The temptation was too great.

Once Krampus arrives in town, armed with his handy dandy giant backpack-crate, his steamy breath, torturous tongue and his list, teens quickly start to go missing. One of those teens is Billy’s older brother. Billy braves a treacherous snowstorm and risks his life to discover the truth behind the disappearances. What he discovers is unbelievable but he doesn’t let it discourage him. Along the way he grows up, finds love and becomes a better, braver, much more confident person ready to face off against the likes of Krampus.

Maybe Krampus isn’t so bad after all! I’m betting there are many towns that would benefit greatly from a Krampus visit. . . .

I very much enjoyed this story. It had a quick pace and teen kids who act like jerks but don’t get off easy. My only complaint was that I thought it got a little too “talky” in bits. You may think differently. Truly, though, the best thing about this story is its terrifying, unpredictable monster that had a snarky, dark sense of humor and was also a little bit of perv. I have to admit, I kind of adored him (except for one scene which I won’t spoil here). Otherwise, he was 100% amusing.

“I crave your beauty. The despairing feelings you imbue in others, your masterfully concealed wretchedness and your physical grace embody a perfect creature. If only the Master would permit me to take a bride…”

To sum this up (finally, you say), if you’re already sick of the Christmas shopping insanity and looking for a little holiday nastiness to better get you in the spirit, you’ll probably want to read this. I have no regrets and will probably do it again next November.

About Matt Manochio

I’ve been writing and editing professionally for my entire adult life. I spent most of that time in the newspaper business. Writing novels is what I enjoy doing the most, and I’m fortunate enough to have Samhain Publishing backing my debut, The Dark Servant. Those of you who enjoy Christmas, mayhem and demons will love it. When I’m not writing, I’m wrangling my toddler from mischief.


Scary books make everything so much better! I've been reading them since I was a wee, weird little thing and grew up with a steady diet of King, Koontz, Barker, and Brite and will read and watch just about anything with a hint of darkness.


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