REVIEW: Tuffy Claus by Linda Mooney
It’s another night on the job for Deputy Sheriff Barbara Mero, giving chase to a suspect in a stolen vehicle. But when someone beats her to the perp, she’s not sure whether to step in or not. Before she can stop him, a sledgehammer-wielding bearded biker on a red Harley delivers his own punishment, but with his parting words, Babs isn’t so sure he’s another bad guy.
After further investigation, Babs knows this vigilante “Santa” meant well, but there’s no proof he was even there. And after a few more run-ins with the red-cloaked badass, she’s torn between duty and justice, but in her heart she knows he’s the real deal.
You see, there’s a side of the story of Santa that doesn’t get told, and that’s where Dominik comes in. Being the twin to Kris, Dom’s job isn’t near as merry, though still necessary, answering the letters from the kids who want more than just toys. Those who want a better, safer life, food, and shelter. Basic needs a kid shouldn’t have to wish for on Christmas. Although he’s accepted his own lot in life, Dominik still has one regret. It’s a lonely life.
There’s another side to jolly old Saint Nick, and he ain’t a saint.
TW – domestic violence
Dear Ms. Mooney,
By this point, I know to expect some fantasy, some paranormal, something different when I pick up one of your books. This time it’s a Badass dude riding a red Harley and delivering justice for kids who have written to Santa pleading for food, or for their dad not to hit them or mommy anymore, or to save their father from his heroin addiction. You know – the usual stuff that some unfortunate kids wish for in place of an Xbox, or doll, or bike.
Deputy Babs Mero is stunned when the perp she’s trailed (based on the stolen plates that don’t even match the [no doubt] stolen SUV) is confronted by a tall, white bearded (and man, he looks built) guy riding a hog who whips out a sledgehammer and delivers quick justice and an aside about the man beating his wife and child. Badass Santa disappears before Babs can question him but following up, she discovers that what he said is true.
Then when she pulls a woman based on speeding and a broken tail light, what the strung out woman yells about “Santa” busting her light plus the child seat and toys on the woman’s back seat, have CPS taking in three young children left alone and with no food. Is there a vigilante man or – based on the number of sightings the sheriff’s database search yields – group out there?
Meanwhile, Kris quickly notices that his twin brother Dom seems to be smitten by the dedicated sheriff. Talk to the woman, he suggests. Take her out for coffee and tell her all. Whatta ya know, Santa not only delivers toys but also seems to be a matchmaker.
It’s a short novella so I accepted the almost immediate attraction between the MCs, Babs’ willingness to believe the whole set up regarding Kris and his twin brother Dom meting out justice (usually not too violent as Dom’s choice is to bring things to the notice of LEOs or others who can legally intervene to help these children), and that Kris has an eye on his brother’s lack of a love life. I also pegged what might happen before the end of the book but hey, it worked and next Christmas, there will be two people dealing with the people on Santa’s
naughty “oh, hello no” list. B