Tag Archives: Richard Chizmar

A Long December – Richard Chizmar (Kendall Review)

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!

Star Rating (out of 5): 5*****

Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar (Kendall Review)

This 164 page novella, covers a decade in the life of Gwendy Peterson, a body conscious 12-year-old  trying to address her suffering at the hands of cruel bullies and prepare herself for the step up into middle school and adulthood. Her life’s thrown a curve ball when, after finishing her daily exercise routine of running up the ‘Suicide Stairs’ she meets a mysterious man, who offers her a button box.

This box has a power, the power to make you better, to make you faster, stronger, smarter, even more beautiful. On the flip side, the box with just the press of a button, could change the world. This novella follows Gwendy as she grows and matures with the box and how her choices change her life and the people around her.

I found this a thoroughly enjoyable quick read, but it’s not without flaws. I felt the story needed fleshing out more. There is a larger book hidden away in here. I understand that not spoon-feeding the reader and leaving them something to think about once the book snaps shut is sometimes a good thing, but for me there were too many questions left unanswered. There is not quite enough meat on a very interesting  set of bones.

Saying that, it certainly didn’t spoil Gwendy’s story, as I followed her with a delicious sense of unease and tension.

I really do hope we get to find out more about the button box in the near future.

Star Rating (out of 5): 4****