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The Girl and the Black Christmas

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When a mysterious package containing a severed hand is left at FBI agent Emma Griffin’s doorstep, Emma is suddenly pulled into one of the buried mysteries of her past. Emma is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family she’s built around herself. Bellamy, Eric, Dean, and Xavier are coming to Sherwood to celebrate the season with her and Sam, and she’s looking f When a mysterious package containing a severed hand is left at FBI agent Emma Griffin’s doorstep, Emma is suddenly pulled into one of the buried mysteries of her past. Emma is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family she’s built around herself. Bellamy, Eric, Dean, and Xavier are coming to Sherwood to celebrate the season with her and Sam, and she’s looking forward to spending some time relaxing and sharing traditions, old and new. Before the festivities can begin, she takes a trip to Feathered Nest to bring some closure, but before they can leave, an email brings an uncomfortable reminder that there are always more questions to be answered. Soon she discovers there is someone wanting to ensure that there is no peace or joy for Emma this year. The reminders of a past she doesn’t talk about and twisted gifts leave her in a brutal holiday rush to find the truth that was buried many years ago. Before the Bureau. Before Feathered Nest. Before this life. This holiday, no matter how far Emma runs, death, disappearances, and mysteries follow. What should be the most wonderful time of the year may turn into a nightmare she can’t escape.


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When a mysterious package containing a severed hand is left at FBI agent Emma Griffin’s doorstep, Emma is suddenly pulled into one of the buried mysteries of her past. Emma is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family she’s built around herself. Bellamy, Eric, Dean, and Xavier are coming to Sherwood to celebrate the season with her and Sam, and she’s looking f When a mysterious package containing a severed hand is left at FBI agent Emma Griffin’s doorstep, Emma is suddenly pulled into one of the buried mysteries of her past. Emma is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family she’s built around herself. Bellamy, Eric, Dean, and Xavier are coming to Sherwood to celebrate the season with her and Sam, and she’s looking forward to spending some time relaxing and sharing traditions, old and new. Before the festivities can begin, she takes a trip to Feathered Nest to bring some closure, but before they can leave, an email brings an uncomfortable reminder that there are always more questions to be answered. Soon she discovers there is someone wanting to ensure that there is no peace or joy for Emma this year. The reminders of a past she doesn’t talk about and twisted gifts leave her in a brutal holiday rush to find the truth that was buried many years ago. Before the Bureau. Before Feathered Nest. Before this life. This holiday, no matter how far Emma runs, death, disappearances, and mysteries follow. What should be the most wonderful time of the year may turn into a nightmare she can’t escape.

30 review for The Girl and the Black Christmas

  1. 5 out of 5

    michelle morfey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. OUTSTANDING!!!! I knew the professor dude was the bad guy and his "mistress" was as well... shady ass peeps! 🤣🤣 I loved Xavier in this one... he had a much bigger part and his eccentricities make me love his character more and more... now that Sam officially proposed to Emma we need another book!!! I hope another is on the way! So much has evolved from the start of this series that my own life has been impacted by their journey... this is one of those series that could go on forever... as usual, OUTSTANDING!!!! I knew the professor dude was the bad guy and his "mistress" was as well... shady ass peeps! 🤣🤣 I loved Xavier in this one... he had a much bigger part and his eccentricities make me love his character more and more... now that Sam officially proposed to Emma we need another book!!! I hope another is on the way! So much has evolved from the start of this series that my own life has been impacted by their journey... this is one of those series that could go on forever... as usual, AJ proves once again why she is one of the top authors of all time! Michelle

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Bookish Life of Ceej

    I have been under the weather the past few days and have intentionally been waiting to write this review because I want to do it justice. All of the cough-cough-sneeze-sneeze isn’t exactly making concentration very easy. I also may be dragging my feet due to the fact that this is the last published book in the series and I’m all sorts of sad about it. I am guessing the latter has more to do with my procrastination so I will pull up my big girl skivvies, I will stop throwing my dramatic fit, and I have been under the weather the past few days and have intentionally been waiting to write this review because I want to do it justice. All of the cough-cough-sneeze-sneeze isn’t exactly making concentration very easy. I also may be dragging my feet due to the fact that this is the last published book in the series and I’m all sorts of sad about it. I am guessing the latter has more to do with my procrastination so I will pull up my big girl skivvies, I will stop throwing my dramatic fit, and I will get this done. A.J. Rivers you can make this easier on me by sharing the release date for Emma’s next journey. MmmmK? The Girl and The Black Christmas brings Emma back to her college days. After receiving a cryptic puzzle by way of an advent calendar that contains riddles, Emma is thrown back into investigating the disappearance of one of her closest friends. Julia disappeared 10 years ago, seemingly vanishing into thin air. At the time Emma knew something was drastically wrong but she was met with one closed-door after another, most pointedly by Julia‘s own parents who claimed it wouldn’t have been outside of her character to just take off. But that was not the Julia Emma knew and she was determined to find her friend, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that something wasn’t right. Now, a decade later, Emma is on the hunt for Julia and she isn’t going to stop until she finds her, dead or alive. As in all other books within the series, we get to see our favorite characters in Sam and Xavier, Eric and Bellamy and a little bit of Dean. Their roles in this story were quite limited which made me a little sad but as always, Rivers did an excellent job in giving us time with each of these characters whom I consider my besties. What can I say… when I’m invested, I’m invested! There is so much more I want to say about this book but in keeping with my “no spoilers” rule (mostly) I will just close this out by saying… Read this now, read them all now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    bonnie kirchner

    The Girl and the Black Christmas This was not a great thriller. I always loved the books in this series but this one did not measure up to the rest. The first half of the book I basically past. The last part was the best part. I was really disappointed in this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Bechdel Fail I thought the first book was a little rough, but hilarious, and loved Emma and her backstory. Despite the humor, the author did a great job with the horror of a serial killer. I was getting into the second book, and understood the psychology behind Emma being changed by life, and not wanting to recommit to Sam. I was looking forward to her exploring her own feelings and being the primary, sometimes on her own, and investigating the mysteries of her past and possibly other cases. as s Bechdel Fail I thought the first book was a little rough, but hilarious, and loved Emma and her backstory. Despite the humor, the author did a great job with the horror of a serial killer. I was getting into the second book, and understood the psychology behind Emma being changed by life, and not wanting to recommit to Sam. I was looking forward to her exploring her own feelings and being the primary, sometimes on her own, and investigating the mysteries of her past and possibly other cases. as someone who grew up in a lot of different places, I love that that was a formative part of her character. Then at the end of the second book, suddenly she was in love with Sam again and I had found a permanent home. I checked the other books, including this one, and found that, for the next nine books, it was a story about her and Sam solving crimes together and staying together. Which is fine, but the “Girl and _______” titles are misleading. I haven’t read through much of the 3rd book, but the dramatic character change turned me off. These should be advertised as romance mysteries. I may try the 3rd one. But I’m dismayed that in the 2nd book Sam was grabby and kissy and hurty throughout the book, after asking Emma to sacrifice her nearly-therapy-mandated vacation for a professional favor. Emma set some boundaries, but for reasons not explained in full, does nearly a 180 at the end and is excited about rekindling their relationship. What? I got the impression that the author was fine with a male character getting into a female character’s personal space emotionally and physically (grabby and kissy and own-y “I don’t like you doing” whatever). And that female characters should be, as well. Emma lost some agency and depth, in my eyes, especially at the end. I was so looking forward to this series! Bummer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Doris

    This was an entertaining story about a woman who is an FBI agent, who has just come off some kind of trauma with a big case. Receiving a package with a gruesome item inside sends her mind reeling back to her first 'case' where her friend disappeared, while they were both college students. The story moves back and forth in time, spanning a couple of decades, as the agent continues to find odd and gruesome items in her mail. Using the packages and the expertise of her group of friends (not really This was an entertaining story about a woman who is an FBI agent, who has just come off some kind of trauma with a big case. Receiving a package with a gruesome item inside sends her mind reeling back to her first 'case' where her friend disappeared, while they were both college students. The story moves back and forth in time, spanning a couple of decades, as the agent continues to find odd and gruesome items in her mail. Using the packages and the expertise of her group of friends (not really an assigned team), she manages to learn a bit about several things, even as people keep dying around her. Interesting enough that I read it in one day, but not enough that I plan to seek out the first books in the series. I will read them if I stumble across them though. The author said to contact her if there were editing errors, but this next is just a puzzle. How did the title relate to the story? Other than murder is bad, I didn't really understand that bit. There was at least one editing error, where the sentence reads something like "open the Clara door" (not exactly what it said, but my meaning should be clear, the words 'Clara' and 'door' are flipped). However, other than a few places where the meaning wasn't exactly clear, this is the only grammatical stumbling block.* *Note to other readers, I don't keep track of errors, except when they are frequent or glaring.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan Smith

    Emma is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family she’s built around herself. Bellamy, Eric, Dean, and Xavier are coming to Sherwood to celebrate the season with her and Sam, and she’s looking forward to spending some time relaxing and sharing traditions, old and new. Before the festivities can begin, she takes a trip to Feathered Nest to bring some closure, but before they can leave, an email brings an uncomfortable reminder that there are always more questions to be answered. Soon Emma is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family she’s built around herself. Bellamy, Eric, Dean, and Xavier are coming to Sherwood to celebrate the season with her and Sam, and she’s looking forward to spending some time relaxing and sharing traditions, old and new. Before the festivities can begin, she takes a trip to Feathered Nest to bring some closure, but before they can leave, an email brings an uncomfortable reminder that there are always more questions to be answered. Soon she discovers there is someone wanting to ensure that there is no peace or joy for Emma this year. The reminders of a past she doesn’t talk about and twisted gifts leave her in a brutal holiday rush to find the truth that was buried many years ago. Before the Bureau. Before Feathered Nest. Before this lif

  7. 5 out of 5

    sharon moore

    Another great read As always I hated for this book to end and hoping there will be another one. I have read all the books in the series. I have come to know and like all the characters especially Emma. As always this book is full of twist and turns. The writer always takes you to a great ending. There are clues along the way. Some I missed. Some were not real clues. You always get the answer towards the end of the book, but it is not in one place so do not cheat. Enjoy the ride!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    Again we have a crime that has everything to do with Emma, and she is the only one that can solve it.  I liked the glimpse we got at her past, we get to see a little more of how were the days before her life changed and she became the woman she is now.  I feel like once again she has to go against everyone in order to solve the crime no one else is seeing.  I have to appreciate her drive and commitment to find the answer to her questions, to solve the mysteries no one else wants to acknowledge.  Again we have a crime that has everything to do with Emma, and she is the only one that can solve it.  I liked the glimpse we got at her past, we get to see a little more of how were the days before her life changed and she became the woman she is now.  I feel like once again she has to go against everyone in order to solve the crime no one else is seeing.  I have to appreciate her drive and commitment to find the answer to her questions, to solve the mysteries no one else wants to acknowledge.  This time she revisits a crime that she started working on even before she decided to go for the FBI.  No one listened to her in the past, and she faces the same problem again, but when mysterious messages start arriving and dead bodies start to appear, she knows she is on the right track.  This is definitely one of the books I have liked the most in the series.  

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amber Booth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5 stars. This hasn’t been my favorite series, but it’s been entertaining. Emma isn’t exactly a likable character, but she has her moments. The supporting characters are far more interesting. This book has been my least favorite. It’s so convoluted and twisty, but not in a good way. It’s just too unbelievable, even in a series where most things are unbelievable. And Emma is a terrible FBI agent. She talks about how wonderful she is, but every decision she makes is terrible. I’d love a series wi 2.5 stars. This hasn’t been my favorite series, but it’s been entertaining. Emma isn’t exactly a likable character, but she has her moments. The supporting characters are far more interesting. This book has been my least favorite. It’s so convoluted and twisty, but not in a good way. It’s just too unbelievable, even in a series where most things are unbelievable. And Emma is a terrible FBI agent. She talks about how wonderful she is, but every decision she makes is terrible. I’d love a series with Xavier as the main character-he’s the best part of the last couple books.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Emma Griffin is my favorite! I've read every book in this series and this one did not disappoint. I was so thrilled to see the injuries and somewhat carelessness of Emma toned down a bit. I didn't much care for the "bouncing" of times but other than that Miss Rivers did an excellent job at holding my attention and keeping me intrigued. Emma seems to be maturing and realizing she's not invincible and I love that! Keep them coming Miss Rivers, I'll be waiting. Emma Griffin is my favorite! I've read every book in this series and this one did not disappoint. I was so thrilled to see the injuries and somewhat carelessness of Emma toned down a bit. I didn't much care for the "bouncing" of times but other than that Miss Rivers did an excellent job at holding my attention and keeping me intrigued. Emma seems to be maturing and realizing she's not invincible and I love that! Keep them coming Miss Rivers, I'll be waiting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Marko

    A little bizarre I’ve read all the Emma Griffin books. This one lost me a bit. It just didn’t seem to tie together very well. I still don’t understand the end quite honestly. I don’t want to ruin the end for anyone, I’ll just say the end didn’t really come together. There were people admitting to murders they didn’t do and characters coming out of nowhere that didn’t make a lot of sense. This was definitely not my favorite in the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judy Stepp

    Always great reading A.J. Rivers' books! I always look forward to continuing Emma Griffin's cases. This book was a little confusing at times going from 13 years ago to 17 years ago to present. But I eventually caught on. Emma is one tough cookie; stubborn but tough! Even at the end, I kept waiting for a final twist, but none came. I suspected who the bad guy was, but I usually do. Love these books! Always great reading A.J. Rivers' books! I always look forward to continuing Emma Griffin's cases. This book was a little confusing at times going from 13 years ago to 17 years ago to present. But I eventually caught on. Emma is one tough cookie; stubborn but tough! Even at the end, I kept waiting for a final twist, but none came. I suspected who the bad guy was, but I usually do. Love these books!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Myra Upton

    The Girl and the Black Christmas "What do you mean?" How many times do you have to use that statement in one book? It's stupid. Like these people can't possibly understand a statement. I'm glad this is the last book. Emma is portrayed as a super agent but keeps making the same stupid mistakes in every case. She is a hot head who thinks she is such a great investigator. After 11 books she's old and tired. So am I. Goodbye. The Girl and the Black Christmas "What do you mean?" How many times do you have to use that statement in one book? It's stupid. Like these people can't possibly understand a statement. I'm glad this is the last book. Emma is portrayed as a super agent but keeps making the same stupid mistakes in every case. She is a hot head who thinks she is such a great investigator. After 11 books she's old and tired. So am I. Goodbye.

  14. 4 out of 5

    SYLVIA

    I love Emma and Sam and hope A.J.Rivers continues the series. One of the best things about 2020 is that I found AJ and several other great Murder mystery authors. I have read over 50 books since March which probably doesn’t compare to others but it good for me. This book was so confusing to begin with and that’s what makes it hard to put down. Great writing, great story and great (kind of) conclusion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Corinna

    Love the Emma series, 11 least favorite I have really enjoyed the Emma series. It took me a little to get into book one but once I did I just kept scrolling through to the next book. Her plots are unique and most have a one book mystery with an overarching series mystery which I appreciate. Books1-10 I would give 4-5 stars. Less on this one because I felt it dragged a little, took along time to get into the plot and the time jump plot was too confusing for me until 3/4 in.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Muth

    I’m at 32%, chapter 19 and nothing has happened. I’m bummed. I’ve really liked all the Emma books so far. I’m thinking the author had to get a third of the book in to the publisher and was just putting words on pages hoping for something to develop into a plot. I’m going to read another chapter or two then bail if it doesn’t get any better. I’ll amend this review if it gets interesting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Lanaghan

    Book Review: The Girl and the Black Christmas by A.J. Rivers ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Another great Emma Griffin mystery!! I love following her journeys and all the different cases she is involved in! She has some great friends and I am so glad that Xavier is staying in the picture as he is definitely my favorite character. This was book 11 and I finished book 12 yesterday. Just found the 13th book as well and I can’t wait to read it!! Definitely recommend this book! #bookreview #bookreviewer #bookstagram #boo Book Review: The Girl and the Black Christmas by A.J. Rivers ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Another great Emma Griffin mystery!! I love following her journeys and all the different cases she is involved in! She has some great friends and I am so glad that Xavier is staying in the picture as he is definitely my favorite character. This was book 11 and I finished book 12 yesterday. Just found the 13th book as well and I can’t wait to read it!! Definitely recommend this book! #bookreview #bookreviewer #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #booksbooksbooks #kindlereads #thriller #thrillerbooks #goodreadschallenge2021 #goodreads @a.j._rivers

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    Another great read This was good, a little slower in style this time but all very relevant. She is a master at intertwining story lines and just when you think something nay not be "relevant" you find how wrong you will be! I have loved making my way through these 12 books. Bravo! I am an avid reader & I read to escape. Rivers ability to craft her words in a way the reader can picture clearly what it all would have looked like. Another great read This was good, a little slower in style this time but all very relevant. She is a master at intertwining story lines and just when you think something nay not be "relevant" you find how wrong you will be! I have loved making my way through these 12 books. Bravo! I am an avid reader & I read to escape. Rivers ability to craft her words in a way the reader can picture clearly what it all would have looked like.

  19. 4 out of 5

    blueyed_cntry_girl

    Emma is an amazing FBI agent and to think it all started by being a persistent teenager when her friend disappeared. Healing from her past while more of her past comes to light. Emma weaves through all the twists n turns and manages to figure things out. Will she finally heal from all her past? I received this as an arc and this is my honest and voluntary review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Murphy

    Review Enjoyed this tremendously!! Was well written and liked the description of Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.Really made you feel as if you were there! Can't wait for the next book and please keep all the same characters ,especially Xavier!! Really like him!!! Can't wait to read the next eleven!!! Keep them coming,A.J.!!! Review Enjoyed this tremendously!! Was well written and liked the description of Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.Really made you feel as if you were there! Can't wait for the next book and please keep all the same characters ,especially Xavier!! Really like him!!! Can't wait to read the next eleven!!! Keep them coming,A.J.!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tina Bailey

    Just a great book! I do not think this is as much a thriller as it is just a great criminal mystery. Emma is at it again, and we, as readers, are not disappointed! She and Same are getting closer with every book, but she still has time to solve a mystery! Rivers can weave a story together masterfully! Looking forward to the next one!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Linda Harris

    About 15% of the book is really interesting. It was filled with a lot of fluff until the last 85 percent of the book. Then everything rushed together. Most of her books have been a summary of previous books and things to fill space like what was eaten or cooked. Things that don't have a thing to do with the story line. Completely About 15% of the book is really interesting. It was filled with a lot of fluff until the last 85 percent of the book. Then everything rushed together. Most of her books have been a summary of previous books and things to fill space like what was eaten or cooked. Things that don't have a thing to do with the story line. Completely

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emilie Davis

    A great way to spend the afternoon! This series is addictive. I read the first one and got hooked and have followed Emma through all of them. It gets scary sometimes, but it is really well written and entices the reader to keep on turning the page. Thank you!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joan Charles

    Fabulous!!! This like all her books was just amazing! I love all the characters and especially weird Xavier lol💖👍. Looking forward to the next book since I've read everything she's written so far! Fabulous!!! This like all her books was just amazing! I love all the characters and especially weird Xavier lol💖👍. Looking forward to the next book since I've read everything she's written so far!

  25. 4 out of 5

    JENNIFER R BARNETT

    Great book! Great book that happens at Christmas, without the story being fully about Christmas! Lots of mystery, but mixed with nostalgia and a family/friend group that adds some holiday charm.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeannette

    AJ has done it again! Another suspenseful FBI agent mystery. Agent Emma Griffin is like wonder woman and has survived more injuries than I care to think about. This is the latest in the series and I love that she gives us some of the back story as well. Great series and they flow from one book to the next.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    A great Christmas story Emma is coming around to realizing she doesn't have to go it alone. A clue after her friend that has been missing for 13 years puts her back on her mission of finding out what happened to Julia. A great Christmas story Emma is coming around to realizing she doesn't have to go it alone. A clue after her friend that has been missing for 13 years puts her back on her mission of finding out what happened to Julia.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patricia T. Heaney

    Please don't End! This is such a great series. Imagine have read all 11 to close together because I skipped over some content. But I have really enjoyed these stories and the clever plots!! Hoping for more Emma in 2021!!! Please don't End! This is such a great series. Imagine have read all 11 to close together because I skipped over some content. But I have really enjoyed these stories and the clever plots!! Hoping for more Emma in 2021!!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Confused. That is how I felt when I started reading this book. The storyline and all of the characters were too rushed and it took me til about the middle of the book to grasp what was going on. Not my favorite Emma Griffin read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Irma B.

    Is this really the end? At first I was not really into it, but decided to keep reading because I had really liked all the others in the series. I'm glad I did. I was not disappointed at all. Is this really the end? At first I was not really into it, but decided to keep reading because I had really liked all the others in the series. I'm glad I did. I was not disappointed at all.

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