A Long December is a massive 519 page book consisting of 34 short stories, and one novella.
I was aware of the name Richard Chizmar through his work with Cemetary Dance, but was not familiar with his writing at all. After a friends recommendation and seeing that Chizmar was about to release a book co-authored with Stephen King I took the plunge.
A Long December covers a range of genres, including mystery, thriller, horror and crime. Some of the stories have a very strong Twilight Zone vibe, and the collection as a whole would make for an excellent TV anthology. To write a mini review of each story would spoil the journey any future reader would be about to take, it’s the uncertainty of what genre and mood of each tale that adds to the whole experience. I really wanted to savour each tale, but it was such an enjoyable read it became a case of ‘just one more’ until I had finished the beast of a book in quick time.
There is a fairly common theme to a lot of these stories, namely the horrible things that go on behind closed doors and drawn curtains. But it’s of great credit to the author that he lets you get emotionally connected to some of these characters before revealing their secrets…secrets which left me reeling at times, having to put the book down and just take in what I’d read.
Chizmars writing style just demands you to keep reading. In A Long December I have a collection of stories that I’ll return to again and again, and in Chizmar an author that has now moved into the ‘must buy’ category.
34 short stories, 1 novella, 519 pages, a rollercoaster of emotions AND NO FILLER!
A truly brilliant collection, I just wish I’d discovered Richard Chizmar the author earlier!