Widow’s Point – Billy & Richard Chizmar (Kendall Review)

I only became aware of Richard Chizmar, the author, back in June 2017. After a recommendation I picked up his anthology A Long December, a collection that went on to just miss out on my Best Book of 2017 and moved Richard into my ‘Must Read Author’ category. Patiently I waited for a new Anthology that Richard mentioned on Twitter toward the end of 2017.

But that wait for new material was brought delightfully short with firstly, the release of Gwendy’s Button Box (Richard Chizmar’s collaborative novella with Stephen King) and then the announcement of another collaboration, this time with his son Billy. I have read Gwendy’s and will post a review of that shortly, but it was the collaboration with his son that probably interested me more. A novella, Widow’s Point, a ghost story based around a Lighthouse in Harper’s Cove and had a tag line that immediately excited me “This is a bad place. I don’t think people are meant to live here.”

Show me the preorder button!

A few weeks later, to my absolute delight and utter surprise an advanced uncorrected proof of Widow’s Point arrived, a few hours later the book had been read.

For years, tales of mysterious disappearances, suicide and murder have been linked to the lighthouse at Harper’s Cove. Empty for 30 years, Widow’s Point has a new occupant, author Thomas Livingston. For his newest book, armed with only a video camera and audio recorder, Thomas decides to stay in the lighthouse for three nights and document what he experiences. What could possibly go wrong?

Now I’m certainly not going to spoil this story for you, but I will say that the first thing to go wrong is the video recorder. It stops working the moment Thomas crosses the threshold into the lighthouse. Because of this the story’s told via the transcripts of the audio recordings. Using this method, the Chizmar’s can be really punchy in their story telling. The story builds quickly, with plenty of chills and a some incredibly effective scares (assisted by some gorgeous artwork by Glenn Chadbourne). You really do care for Thomas and the predicament he’s in, again credit to how well written Widow’s Point is. Multiple timelines are expertly crafted and merged to give us a fantastically atmospheric and haunting reading experience. I’d love to see more from this Father/Son collaboration, they certainly know how to tell a story, maybe they can take us back to Harper’s Cove in the very near future.

Widow’s Point is a wonderful take on the haunted ‘house’ story. A terrifying read, with an intensity that had me looking over my shoulder.

Widow’s Point is released February 28th 2018 through Cemetery Dance

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

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