This book was thoroughly enjoyable fluff. It had a very A. Lee Martinez feel, except for the romance.
Esther is a struggling actress, in between roles and trying to make ends meet in New York City. In desperation, she takes a job at Fensters, a giant department store with an entire fourth floor dedicated to Solsticeland. Fensters has learned over the years that going multicultural gets you more customers, so the sprawling display includes holiday stations for every religion or nationality you can think of. Esther plays Dreidl, the Jewish elf, selling toys in a blue and white elf costume, along with Diversity Santa and Drag Queen Santa (named Satsy – Saturated Fats).
Esther also has experience with the supernatural. This is obviously not the first book in the series, but I don’t feel like I missed much with the allusions to previous events. So when strange things start happening at the store (elevators suddenly on fire and then not; animatronic trees trying to eat people), Esther has people she can go to for help. She also has several run-ins with the incredibly rich, incredibly dysfunctional Fenster family, who are struggling with holiday hijackings.
Detective Lopez, an ex-boyfriend of Esther’s who had previously been nearly killed by a witch, shows up to investigate the hijackings, and gets drawn into the haunted happenings in Solsticeland. Esther and her team have to figure out what’s going on, who’s causing it, if the hijacking of Fenster trucks is related, and make it all stop, without losing their jobs or getting any customers killed. Esther’s fun, the side characters are decent, and figuring out what’s going on is fun, even if the resolution is pretty rushed.
I’m not sure I’d count this as a beach read, since it takes place in December, but I would say Laura Resnick’s other works would likely be safe beach read bets.