If Santa Claus existed, the feds would probably mistake the operation for a drug cartel. So goes the premise of St. Nic, Inc. (Southern Yellow Pine), S.R. Staley's comic thriller about a Drug Enforcement Administration operation that nearly takes Christmas down.
Staley, a frequent contributor to Reason, teaches economics at Florida State when he isn't writing novels. He draws on both careers when describing NP Enterprises, an Arctic software firm and toy distribution network run by one Nicole Klaas. Nicole, the fourth Klaas to run the family business, relies heavily on the skills of the world's little people, for whom the company's polar community is a haven against the discrimination they face down south.
Their cash transactions catch the government's eye, and soon a federal agent is convinced he's found a nest of narco-traffickers. He hasn't spotted any actual drugs, but the pattern looks unmistakable. And then a bona fide War on Christmas begins.
"St Nic, Inc. offers a fresh vision of what modern tools like the Internet and high-speed delivery services might accomplish in the hands of the right Little People" writes Donna Meredith. The lead character is a explicit counter to John Galt of Atlas Shrugged fame, she writes. "Nicole is a compassionate entrepreneur who also has a deep sense of loyalty and duty to family and community." Check out the complete review here.
James Boothe says St. Nic, Inc. is not "the sort of Christmas story one hears in homes on Christmas Eve" and its not "a Christmas story for the little ones." No indeed. It's "a fast paced thriller that explores government overreach, technology, and what it means to 'do good.'" Check out the entire review here.
“When the talented SR Staley tosses DEA agents, moles, computer whizzes, and a multi-national CEO into one action-filled plot, you get “St. Nic, Inc.” a story that sparkles like the North Pole on a sunny day. St. Nic, Inc. offers a fresh vision of what modern tools like the Internet and high-speed delivery services could accomplish in the hands of the right Little People. This heart-warming re-imagining gives us reason to believe—and fall in love all over again with our most cherished time of year.”
—Donna Meredith, award-winning author of The Glass Madonna, The Color of Lies, and Wet Work, from the Tallahassee Democrat.
“As an accomplished economist, SR Staley is supposed to be a dismal scientist. St. Nic, Inc. confirms otherwise. He’s whipped up a fast-paced tale that will keep you on the edge of your recliner from its opening paragraphs to the climax at its end. If it was a movie, it would be a thriller with a happy ending and egg(nog) on all the right faces”
—Lawrence W. Reed, president, Foundation for Economic Education
“St. Nic, Inc., by SR Staley is a magical, innovative, and fresh continuation of the beloved Santa Claus myth. Staley has honored the past while ushering one of the world’s most cherished and inspirational stories into the 21st century. St. Nic, Inc. artfully combines the action of a Tom Clancy novel with the insightful social commentary and multiple levels of experience of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. St. Nic, Inc. is great novel that would make a great movie.”
—Mark McNees (D.Min), author of Immersion: Live the Life God Envisioned for You and The Six Symbols of the Gospel.
“St. Nic, Inc. is a thrilling and imaginative tale of the delusions, intrigues, folly and dangers of government bureaucracies running amuck to stop the secret goings-on at the North Pole. Can Christmas cheer survive the CIA, IRS, DEA, FBI, et al.? Find out in this intriguing and joyous, must-read book by SR Staley.”
—David J. Theroux, President, The Independent Institute; President, C.S. Lewis Society of California
“I kept waiting for the story to turn down Fable Lane but instead the plot accelerates up Tom Clancy Drive. This is no kids story with Santa and the Elves and the reindeer. SR Staley has done his homework. The characters are real and so is the action.”
—Michael Whitehead, author of Messages from Babylon
"A children's tale? Not quite. A social manifesto? Perhaps. You'll be scratching your head at the end, trying to decide. One thing's for sure--St. Nic, Inc. is a familiar narrative loaded with symbolism and double meanings. From Staley's witty choice of character names, to the constant juxtaposition of images, it keeps you on your toes. For example, I love the contrasting views of the hospital where Peary, the protagonist, wakes up. Is it a place of healing or incarceration? And the all too familiar dangers of judging people based on physical characteristics, not abilities. When you finish, you realize the author has cleverly woven morals throughout this seemingly innocuous story. It leaves you as comfortable as sitting before a warm fire on a winter night, believing in the triumph of good over evil and once again trusting in the belief that Santa Claus lives within us all."
—Darryl Bollinger, award winning author of The Medicine Game, A Case of Revenge, and The Pill Game (from amazon.com)
“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but I'm sorry to report he's a multinational corporation and the government is out to shut him down! That's the delightful premise of SR Staley's St. Nic, Inc. While protecting the reader's belief in Santa (sort of), Staley challenges our faith that government is here to protect us from evil corporations and asks us to consider our own prejudices toward little people. Well-written with an exciting plot, this is a sure-thing stocking stuffer.”
—Robert Lawson, Jerome M. Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University