The Horror Fiction Review | A Long December
“Chizmar’s mammoth short story collection is everything you’d expect from a writer (and editor) who has been working with the best in the business for the past 25+ years through his magazine, Cemetery Dance. On display here are 35 of his career-spanning tales, most featuring clever twist endings, many are of the ‘quiet’ horror variety, but that makes the stories with bursts of violence that much more effective.
“Among my favorites are the title tale, A LONG DECEMBER, one of the longer pieces of the collection and an absolutely stunning serial killer/revenge story with an ending you won’t see coming. Another serial killer is on the loose in THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES, a truly horrifying take on the subgenre.
“In DITCH TREASURES, a highway maintenance man discovers something amazing in a roadside pond. To say any more will do you a huge disservice. In GRAND FINALE, a rich college student secretly films his bedroom antics, but he starts seeing gruesome images when he plays the tapes back. This would’ve made a killer episode of MASTERS OF HORROR or TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE.
“In one of Chizmar’s best twists, a mother learns a wicked secret one of her kids is keeping in THE BOX, while THE SEASON OF GIVING delivers a heartbreaking look at child abuse set against a holiday background. DEVIL’S NIGHT deals with jealousy gone amuck (and features some of the collection’s most memorable characters), and in what is arguably the most powerful story of the lot, an aging man’s son turns to a mysterious stranger to help his father become immortal in HEROES.
“Even in the three or four stories that didn’t work for me, Chizmar was still able to keep my interest, so to say a 35-story collection didn’t have a bad apple in the bunch is a rare occasion.
“A LONG DECEMBER is an excellent read, and I’ll surely be revisiting a couple of its stories. Chizmar provides some genuine scares and plenty of variety to keep any horror fan up late, buried between the pages. And with most stories here at a short length, compelling you to continue, it’s easy to get lost in this author’s dark world.”