Grant, a formerly prosperous artist currently mired in a downward spiral wakes up on the morning of his small town’s Christmas Festival to discover the children have gone feral, streets have caved in and the town’s own folk hero, Stu McLundy, is standing on Grant’s front lawn in a bloody Santa Claus suit. As the day progresses, we learn about Green Valley’s weird fixation with the past and how Stu’s DJ stint at the local radio station playing awful ballads from the 70s kept the town cocooned in a protective wrapper that has suddenly been peeled away by psychic connections gone bad. We travel with Grant, Mrs. Beasley (an elderly palm reader with an incontinent Pomeranian), Terri (an appropriately awkward high school senior on Xanax), and heartbroken Curtis the nebbish, as they try to piece together what happened, stay alive, and contemplate if maybe this isolated Armageddon is just what Green Valley needed.
The story is punctuated by lyrics to some of the most awful songs of the 70s, some of which (like Heartbeat, It’s a Lovebeat) are so much a part of the novel they become characters in their own right. Although Green Valley’s Christmas Festival takes place in current times, the songs of the 70s that Stu McLundly plays on Green Valley’s favorite radio show is a testament to how skewed the perception of the present is in the small northeastern town. They aren’t just songs. They become weapons, they become saviors and they are part of the cause and effect of everything happening in Green Valley.