My Review of A Long December by @RichardChizmar
The leaves are just starting to turn here in Indiana, the first nip of cooler air settling upon us. While we’re hours away from October and the height of autumn, it’s the dread of winter that lurks in most people’s hearts in these parts.
The frozen season is a time for warm blankets and good books. Huddled against the cold, there’s no better escape than losing oneself in powerful fiction, a hot drink nearby, maybe even spiked with a little something extra, you know, to really cut the chill.
When the snow starts to fall I can think of no better companion than Richard Chizmar’s A Long December. A short story collection that spans his entire career, Chizmar is an able storyteller, skillfully navigating the unsure waters of life changing events and hard choices.
Thirty-five stories told in over five hundred pages, Chizmar has a knack for the twist ending. He weaves a rich tapestry of emotional writing that draws a reader in and makes them a part of the tale. There’s humor here, and horror of course, but what makes this collection tick is its heart.
Of course, with thirty-five stories, some will speak to you more than others, but each has their strong suit. Among my favorites were: The Silence of Sorrow, about keeping a dead child’s secrets; The Season of Giving and its exploration of child abuse; The Box, which is both unnerving and edge-of-your seat nail biting; and my top pick of the litter, a Robert Bloch-ish novella that gives the collection its title, A Long December. I’d say more about it, but it’s better if you find out for yourself.
Richard Chizmar writes clear, heartfelt prose. There’s nothing fancy here. He’s here to tell you a story and he does so with a workman’s ethic. You will not be disappointed.