The Long Way Home by Richard Chizmar

43297534._UY400_SS400_Gathered here for the first time ever are seventeen short stories, two essays, and a short script by award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, Richard Chizmar.

Eerie, suspenseful, poignant, the stories in The Long Way Home run the gamut from horror to suspense, crime to dark fantasy, mainstream to mystery. This brand new collection features more than 100,000 words of short fiction, as well as more than 5,000 words of autobiographical Story Notes.

Chizmar’s highly diverse collection of 17 short stories, two essays, and a script are mostly co-written with other authors and were previously published elsewhere but all feature beautifully written prose and an incredibly strong authorial voice. The collection covers a wide range of genres, not exclusively all subgenres of horror, which pulls the reader in no matter what their tastes. 

As this is the first work by Chizmar I have read, the two non-fiction essays included in the collection are a perfect introduction to the author, his inspirations, and his personal history. ‘My Father and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine‘ and ‘Stephen King at 70: A Tribute to the Gunslinger’ both elaborate on two of Chizmar’s biggest influences, his father and Stephen King. The latter essay explains why Chizmar established Cemetery Dance magazine and the important part Stephen King played in the magazine.

Linked with these autobiographical essays are Chizmar’s two stories on the topic of fathers and sons; ‘Silent Night’ is set on Christmas Eve and is about a man on the run but who must see his young son. Similarly, the titular story, ‘The Long Way Home’ is about a son who is trying to get home for his father’s funeral. Both aren’t strictly horror stories but are incredibly touching and beautifully written.

The rest of the collection can be broken into various themes which regularly overlap and feature recurring characters and settings. Several stories feature cops, particularly partners, both clean and dirty; ‘The Bad Guys’ is about a dying partner’s confession, whilst ‘Dirty Coppers’ is a sci-fi story reminiscent of Blade Runner in places. Partners Ben and Frank also feature in two stories: ‘The Witch’, a story set on Halloween night that features a murder and ‘The Hunch’. In all these stirs, as in ‘Silent Night’ and ‘The Long Way Home’, human relationships are discussed in a tender manner.

Murderers and their victims also feature in several stories. ‘The Man Behind the Mask’ concerns what happens after a crime has been committed and the lasting effects of escaping a horrific crime. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Lane’ was one of my personal favourites in the collection as it has a great premise (a father and son are digging in their back garden and find something unexpected) and a fantastic ending. ‘The Man in the Black Sweater’ is a drabble, a 100-word story that illustrates what can be done in 100 words when written by an expert. It’s a short revenge tale that is perfectly chilling.

The theme of the murderer overlaps with the supernatural in ‘Mischief’ in which a reporter is interviewing a murderer in prison. The supernatural also features in ‘The Custer Files’, which is an impressive historical story about General Custer’s Seventh Cavalry and the Old West. In another favourite story ‘The Sculptor’, the supernatural is unleashed in what may also be madness. Either way, it’s an incredibly vivid story because of its strangeness.

Hauntings also feature prominently in the collection. In ‘Murder House Script’, a screenplay written by Chizmar and his son Billy, it’s unclear whether the goings-on are supernatural or not but the house is certainly haunted by the past. Chizmar also co-wrote ‘Widow’s Point’ with his son. Set in a lighthouse, it’s a highly effective epistolary tale using video and audio recordings. Unsurprisingly, it’s now a book co-written by the pair that was published in 2018. It was adapted for screen and there are plans for a prequel and a sequel.

The remainder of the stories are a combination of the previous themes and the weird. ‘Roses and Raindrops’ is about strange killings. Another favourite of mine was ‘The Meek Shall Inherit…’ which strangely reminded me of Stranger Things: two boys are trying to imagine what might be going on in their neighbour’s basement. I loved this story because, like at the end of ‘The Sculptor’, there is the implication that much more horror occurs after the story finishes. ‘Odd Numbers’ is a story about madness and one man’s OCD, whilst ‘The Association’ is a genius and comical story about the dangers of annoying one’s new neighbours and housing association.

Interestingly, the collection ends with Chizmar’s notes about the writing of each story and his various influences and concerns. A major concern throughout the collection is the duality of the American suburb and the horror that can linger just beneath the surface.

About the author

ENjBKI0s_400x400RICHARD CHIZMAR is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author.

He is the co-author (with Stephen King) of the bestselling novella, Gwendy’s Button Box and the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than 35 anthologies and his short fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including multiple editions of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy awards, four International Horror Guild awards, and the HWA’s Board of Trustee’s award.

Chizmar (in collaboration with Johnathon Schaech) has also written screenplays and teleplays for United Artists, Sony Screen Gems, Lions Gate, Showtime, NBC, and many other companies. He has adapted the works of many bestselling authors including Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Bentley Little.

Chizmar is also the creator/writer of the online website, Stephen King Revisited. His fourth short story collection, The Long Way Home, was published in 2019. With Brian Freeman, Chizmar is co-editor of the acclaimed Dark Screams horror anthology series published by Random House imprint, Hydra.

His latest book, The Girl on the Porch, was released in hardcover by Subterranean Press, and Widow’s Point, a chilling novella about a haunted lighthouse written with his son, Billy Chizmar, was recently adapted into a feature film.

Chizmar’s work has been translated into more than fifteen languages throughout the world, and he has appeared at numerous conferences as a writing instructor, guest speaker, panelist, and guest of honor.

You can follow Richard Chizmar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also check out the Richard Chizmar Fan Page set up by his readers.

 

In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter

imagesHow far would you go to save the ones you love?

The first book in a gripping new crime series featuring DCI Anna Tate.

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area is in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying… Continue reading

The Night You Left by Emma Curtis

41lw9PqWBiLIT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT TO UNRAVEL A PERFECT LIFE . . .

When Grace’s fiancé vanishes without a trace the night after proposing, her life is turned upside down. But has Nick walked out on her, or is he in danger?

As Grace desperately searches for answers, it soon becomes clear that Nick wasn’t the uncomplicated man she thought she knew. And when she uncovers a hidden tragedy from his childhood, she realises an awful truth: that you can run from your past – but your secrets will always catch up with you . . . Continue reading

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

43804834._SY475_PLAY

Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges on-screen, kills her, and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE

Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t—not until she’s found what she’s looking for …

REWIND

Psycho meets Fatal Attraction in this explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking … Continue reading

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

41TCyrM-HOL.SX316.SY316Victim. Kidnapper. Criminal. You will become each one. You are now part of the chain. Don’t break the chain.
The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another.

Listen carefully…
Your child has been kidnapped.
You must abduct someone else’s child to save your own.
Disobey. Break the rules. Go to the cops. Your child will die.
Your victim’s parents must kidnap another child before yours is released.
You are now part of the chain. Continue reading

A Penny for Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward

A-Penny-For-Your-ThoughtsFresh from a stretch in prison, Joe Openshaw is living at home with his father and trying to get his life together again. He has let go of old habits, especially the ones that turned him into an addict and helped land him in prison.

On a hike along the Lowback Trail, Joe stumbles on one of the town’s oldest secrets—buried long ago, if not forgotten.

It’s an unusual but safe enough treasure—a jar of old pennies. What interests Joe isn’t the pennies themselves, but the pieces of paper taped to every coin—a child’s handwritten wish on each one.

When the first few wishes come true, they are simple things. Fun. Harmless.

Except as time goes on, Joe realizes they aren’t really wishes at all…they’re exchanges, and the bill was racking up.

Nothing is free in life.

Sooner or later, you always pay. Continue reading