“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.)”

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