- Paperback: 519 pages
- Publisher: Edge Book; Reprint edition (15 August 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1934267597
- ISBN-13: 978-1934267592
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
A Long December Paperback – Import, 15 Aug 2017
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From the Inside Flap
In 1996, Richard Chizmars debut short story collection, Midnight Promises, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Publishers Weekly called it a sterling collection while singling out The Silence of Sorrow as an understated masterpiece. Two years later, Subterranean Press published a mini-collection from Chizmar entitled Monsters and Other Stories. In his introduction, acclaimed genre critic Edward Bryant said, When all is said and done, this book should leave you in utter silence, giving you time and opportunity to contemplate what you just read. Tough storytelling from a tough writer; but a writer who is not calloused. Chizmar possesses a finely honed gift of empathy. With utter grace and loving kindness hell put you right inside the life (and soul) of the monster. Now, nearly two decades later, Chizmar assembles thirty-five stories, including a previously-unpublished novella, and presents us with A Long December. This massive new collection features more than 150,000 words of Chizmars very best short fiction and includes 8,000 words of autobiographical Story Notes.Eerie, suspenseful, poignant, the stories in A Long December range from horror to suspense, crime to dark fantasy, mainstream to mystery.As New York Times bestselling author Scott Smith (A Simple Plan, The Ruins) notes: Its an idyllic little world Richard Chizmar has created. Boys fish in the shallows of a winding creek. A father tosses a baseball with his young son in the fading light of a summer day. Theres the smell of fresh-cut grass. And then, well just beneath the surface? There are those missing pets whose collars turn up in a shoebox. Or the disturbing photos the dead can leave behind. Or the terrible thing you might find yourself doing when a long lost brother suddenly returns, demanding money. Chizmar does a tremendous job of peeling back his worlds shiny layers, revealing the rot that lies underneath. His stories feel like so many teeth: short and sharp and ready to draw blood.
About the Author
Richard Chizmar is the publisher of Cemtery Dance and co-author with Stephen King of Gwendy's Button Box.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
First, wow, the novella was very good, layering each page with suspense. You are always waiting for the shadow to jump out, for the twist to happen. As always, Richard doesn’t disappoint, offering a whirlwind ending that I had not seen coming. The main character was very believable, even while making some very risky decisions. I loved the use of paparazzi, with the press really ruining life. This short novella was a psychological ride that made getting this collection worth the price of admission.
The short stories throughout the collection are short (perfect for me and my lacking attention span), but the stories are packed with character background, and you grow to know the characters and their tragedies. Every story has a unique twist or a final moment where you can set the book down and just go: “Damn, I wish I wrote that.”
This won’t be the first time I read this collection. As a reader, I was entertained. As a writer, I was amazed.
I understand cutting a story short to leave the rest to the imagination, but many of these end too early and abruptly.
Was expecting 'horror' but not all have substance and some fall flat.