In 1997 ghosts rose from their graves to slaughter the living, in an event that came to be known as Haunted Week. The witches of the Church succeeded in imprisoning the ghosts, and rose to power among the surviving living humans. Their rule is now law, with all other religions banned. Chess Putnam, Church witch and secret drug addict and her boyfriend Terrible, rugged enforcer for Chess's dealer, Bump visit a junkyard near the Bay to pick up some spare parts for Terrible's car. They discover the junkyard's owner, an elderly woman in a wedding dress who claims to be awaiting her husband's return to celebrate both his birthday and the forbidden festival of Christmas. It's up to Chess and Terrible to stop her before she does something dangerous and stupid in the name of love, just as Chess herself once did.
If you haven't read any of the Downside Ghosts books before I recommend starting with book one and going from there, though this book doesn't contain any major spoilers. Chess and Terrible are one of my favourite literary couples and in this short story you'll find them at their slightly messed up romantic best. The story has its beautiful moments, but it's also a little disturbing and dark for a Christmas special. Never mind the ghosts, the characters have to face the horrifying prospect of listening to The Carpenters' song Close To You on repeat. I put it on while typing this review and have only heard it the once but already I feel like punching in my computer monitor as if that would help.
Close to You story is very short, but it should help to tide fans over in between the full length books. It's a well plotted, ghost story that's a satisfying mixture of sweet and spooky.