Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Long December Hardcover – October 31, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
They say you can’t go home again, and many of the 35 quietly creepy stories in this career-spanning collection make it clear why one might not want to. Cemetery Dance publisher Chizmar uses the sparkling lights of Christmas to illuminate the darkness of child abuse (“The Season of Giving”) and the cathartic release of taking revenge on a serial killer (“A Long December”). Brothers, loving and overprotective, slay their brothers (“Brothers”). Sons honor fathers with an unusual protection from death (“Heroes”), and a father struggles with the decision to keep a dead son’s horrible secrets hidden (“The Silence of Sorrow”). A crime yarn of a worn, workaday cop being swept up in the giddiness of a new millennium (“Night Call”) sits surprisingly well alongside the quotidian horrors of cancer (“Midnight Promises”) and teen jealousy (“Devil’s Night”). Chizmar pays tribute to horror master Richard Matheson of Twilight Zone fame both explicitly (with “The Artist”) and implicitly with last-act twists and a firm emphasis on family as the source of both laughter and tears. Story endnotes add insights to the author’s methods and use of autobiographical material. (Nov.)
These short stories are dappled in Americana, but something not-quite-right lies just beneath the surface, threatening the appearance of calm.Each of the 35 stories turns on a twist ending, none of which will be spoiled here. The title novella sends a family into turmoil when their friend and neighbor James Wilkinson is suspected of being a serial killer. That it turns out to be true is not the big reveal; the horror stems from why the killer chose this particular neighborhood and these neighbors. “The Man with X-Ray Eyes” is narrated by a man whose gift is not seeing bones but humanity; those who come up short don’t fare well under his gaze, and if he occasionally misjudges? More’s the pity. In “The Box,” a mother makes a gruesome find and traces it to one of her children; it’s a deft bit of writing, as Chizmar feints toward one suspect only to make the reader’s original suspicion a surprising revelation. Some of these tales clock in at under 10 pages, yet each creates a credible world, and often a beautiful one; a beloved fishing hole or the details of a work shed or pickup truck ring true...right up until the tentacles appear. “Ditch Treasures” conjures up a list of great finds made by workmen along the shoulder of I-95 in Maryland: “A framed velvet Elvis. / A George Foreman grill still in the box…. / A loaded handgun.” The narrator goes on to describe his ultimate find, one that lights him up with visions of tabloid fame and working-class fortune, until he gets close enough to wish he’d never seen it at all. Once again the commonplace setting makes the otherworldly that much more credible and frightening. With the whiff of classic pulp fiction about them, these chilling tales pack a giddy wallop and make staying up late to read just one more mandatory.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
"I love it...terrific stories served with a very large slice of Disquiet Pie."
- STEPHEN KING
"Chizmar's stories are hard-hitting, spooky, suspenseful, poignant, harrowing,
heartbreaking and most of all very well-written. Excellent work!"
- ROBERT McCAMMON
"Tight, imaginative and totally engaging writing make this a must have book. Grab a copy of A Long December. It's fantastic."
- JOE R. LANSDALE
"Richard Chizmar writes like a man who's been to hell and back and lived to tell its tales."
- CLIVE BARKER
"...a highly talented dark suspense writer with a wide range of subject matter and a knack for clear, straightforward, but evocative prose that may remind you of Stephen
King, Dean Koontz and Ed Gorman."
- Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
"With the whiff of classic pulp fiction about them, these chilling tales pack a giddy wallop and make staying up late to read just one more mandatory."
- Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)
"This is a must-read for fans of intense tales where psychological suspense and horror overlap..."
- Booklist (STARRED REVIEW) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Now, I am a voracious reader, usually reading 5-6 books a week and the horror genre is one of my favorites. So I start investigating and find this man has been writing for close to 30 years. What!?!
My only explanation (to myself) is that I don't read a huge amount of short stories and that is what he usually writes. My only exception to that in the past is Stephen King's short stories because I can usually count on enjoying them. I've been burned on anthologies and collections too many times in the past. I'll buy a book with 20 or more stories in it and I will like only 1 or 2 of them.
A LONG DECEMBER ranks up there with some of the best books I've ever read. There are 35 short stories and novellas in it, written over the course of Chizmar's 30 year writing career and only one did I feel was a little weak. It was not terrible by any means but not a favorite. There's a mixture of horror, police procedurals, mysteries, interesting drama - all kinds of stories - in a 500+ page cornucopia of damn fine stories.
Stephen King is the only other author whose short stories I've enjoyed to this extent - and it's going to sound like sacrilege to all the King fans and I'm sure I'm going to get some nasty comments - but this book was consistently across the board as good as some of King's best and that includes "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" and "The Body."
His writing style is similar to King's and I wasn't surprised to read that the two men are friends. Great dialogue, believable, down-to-earth characters and some wonderful twists to some of the stories. There were many of the stories I would like to read, expanded out into novels. My favorite out of all the stories was the final novella in the book - A Long December, which is where the book's title comes from.
So I have pre-ordered GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX and I wish there was more of his work out there. I found another collection from years ago and it's only available in hardcover, used, at a spendy price. Maybe one of these days it will be available on Kindle or in paperback form. I can only hope.
But for now, I highly recommend this collection to one and all.
Comparison: I'd also rate Stephen King's first and classic short collection - Night Shift - right up here with these gems. Definitely looking forward to exploring and reading more from this author - THANK YOU!
Thank you Mr Chizmar for a breath of fresh air.
I enjoyed almost all the stories and some of them were quite good. He knows how to set a scene
and drop the hammer.