Review: Twice on Christmas by McGarvey Black


Print Length: 334 pages
Publisher: Jofee Books (October 12, 2023)

From After choir practisc for midnight mass, college sophomore Rose Grandon takes a short-cut through Harbor Park. Grabbed from behind, she is violently assaulted, beaten and left for dead.
The last thing she hears is a tenor voice singing Silent Night.

Several hours later, the police find Rose lying in a ditch. Badly beaten — but alive.

As she recovers in hospital, Rose is told she’s pregnant. She has a terrible choice to make. She decides to keep the baby.

Nine months later, she gives birth to a beautiful baby girl. She names her Mary.

Rose lives quietly in her small Connecticut hometown raising her daughter — the one good thing to come out of her horrible ordeal. She begins to get her old self back.

But her evil attacker has never been caught. He strikes twice a year. Once on Christmas Eve, once on Christmas Day.

And until he’s behind bars, Rose and her baby can never be safe.
But now he’s found out he has a daughter. And that changes everything.

My Rating: 1 star out of 5

This one started off on a strong note, but ultimately fell flat.

To begin with, when an 18 year old girl goes missing for a couple of hours, we are told that her parents are able to file a missing person's report and get a large team out searching for her simply because "She wouldn't go out with friends on Christmas Eve". I'm sorry that is NOT how it works. Maybe they could have organized the townspeople getting together to search, but the police would not have been involved that early on. Then as a result of her attack, Rose is faced with the difficult choice of whether or not to give birth to the child that was conceived that night.

I can understand her decision to go through with the pregnancy. Heck, I can even understand why she decided to keep the child and raise it on her own. What I don't understand is why that bit of information would be published in a newspaper article where anyone (the killer especially) can see it. Even if the killer hadn't seen the story, what would have happened years later if Mary did after not knowing the truth for her entire life? I just did not find this (nor much of what happened after) to be very plausible at all.

This includes the police coming to her home every year on Christmas Day to tell her there have been two new attacks and asking her if she remembers anything about the night she was attacked that she hasn't already told them. And this goes on year after year, forcing Rose to relive the horrors of that night over and over again. And of course, the one year they are caught up and don't get the chance to tell her and she hears about it on the news, her father becomes irrationally angry and drags her down to the police station to demand answers as to why they weren't informed. Why would she be? Typically, the police don't tell you about victims in crimes that happen several years after (and two states away from) your own.

Then again, it didn't seem like the police had much to do considering the story only takes place during the holidays. And I mean I get it - the attack happened on Christmas Eve and the perpetrator was never caught, but with time jumps happening nearly ever chapter it doesn't really give the characters a chance to grow, or for things about them to make sense. For example, despite having a normal (dare I say spoiled) childhood, all of the sudden Mary is showing concerning behaviors. Is the author trying to show nature wins over nurture considering who her father was? I was never sure as it seemed to be done only to push the narrative of the father coming back into their lives.

And while, okay there were a couple of red herrings thrown in, I still figured out who was behind the attacks pretty early on. But what I didn't get is how this man managed to evade capture for SO long (if I remember correctly it was about sixteen years by this point), and then just slip up and give himself away in the manner that he did. It was crazy to me. There was also one major plot hole with what actually happened versus the story Rose told, but sadly I can't get into that without revealing a major spoiler. Let's just say even incompetent cops would have been able to tell she was lying and piece together what really happened.

Oh, and one final thing that might have been corrected between the ARC I read and the finished product, but the Poconos are in Pennsylvania NOT New Jersey so to read about a victim being found "at a hotel near a Jersey ski area in the Poconos" was extremely off-putting to me as a Jersey resident. Surely this was something a simple google search could have prevented?

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                        Twice on Christmas is available on

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