A Long December, by Richard Chizmar, is one of the few collections I have read in a long time. I usually stick to novels or anthologies, but I was so impressed by other fiction of Richard’s (Gwendy’s Button Box); I researched the reviews, which were all good, so I dived in and bought this fantastic set of 35 stories and a novella.
First, wow, the novella was very good, layering each page with suspense. You are always waiting for the shadow to jump out, for the twist to happen. As always, Richard doesn’t disappoint, offering a whirlwind ending that I had not seen coming. The main character was very believable, even while making some very risky decisions. I loved the use of paparazzi, with the press really ruining life. This short novella was a psychological ride that left me feeling everything was worth the price of admission.
The short stories throughout the collection are short (perfect for me and my short attention span), but the stories are packed with character background, and you grow to know the characters and their tragedies. Every story has a unique twist or a final moment where you can set the book down and just go: “Damn, I wish I wrote that.”
This won’t be the first time I read this collection. As a reader, I was entertained. As a writer, I was amazed.
RICHARD CHIZMAR is the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than 30 anthologies and his fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy awards, four International Horror Guild awards, and the HWA’s Board of Trustee’s award.
Chizmar (in collaboration with Johnathon Schaech) has also written screenplays and teleplays for United Artists, Sony Screen Gems, Lions Gate, Showtime, NBC, and many other companies.
Chizmar is the creator/writer of Stephen King Revisited, and his third short story collection, A Long December, is due in 2016 from Subterranean Press.
Chizmar’s work has been translated into many languages throughout the world, and he has appeared at numerous conferences as a writing instructor, guest speaker, panelist, and guest of honor.
You can follow Richard Chizmar on both Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.