Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: August 17th, 2021
Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling coauthor of Gwendy’s Button Box brings his signature “ thrilling page-turning” (Michael Koryta, author of How It Happened) prose to this story of small-town evil that combines the storytelling of Stephen King with the true-crime suspense of Michelle McNamara.
In the summer of 1988, the mutilated bodies of several missing girls begin to turn up in a small Maryland town. The grisly evidence leads police to the terrifying assumption that a serial killer is on the loose in the quiet suburb. But soon a rumor begins to spread that the evil stalking local teens is not entirely human. Law enforcement, as well as members of the FBI, are certain that the is a living, breathing madman—and he’s playing games with them. For a once peaceful community, trapped in the depths of paranoia and suspicion, it feels like a nightmare that will never end.
Recent college graduate, Richard Chizmar, returns to his hometown just as a curfew is enacted, and a neighborhood watch is formed. In the midst of preparing for his wedding and embarking on a writing career, he soon finds himself thrust into the real-life horror story. Inspired by the terrifying events, Richard writes a personal account of the serial killer’s reign of terror, unaware that these events will continue to haunt him for years to come.
A clever, terrifying, and heartrending work of metafiction, Chasing the Boogeyman is the ultimate marriage between horror fiction and true crime. Chizmar’s “brilliant…absolutely fascinating, totally compelling, and immediately poignant” (C.J. Tudor, New York Times bestselling author) writing is on full display in this truly unique novel that will haunt you long after you turn the final page. (Goodreads)
I loved Gwendy’s Button Box, which Richard Chizmar coauthored with Stephen King so as soon as I saw Chasing the Boogeyman on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. It’s the second metafiction novel I’ve read this week, and it’s another that’s knocked my socks off!
The majority of the story is fiction but I had to continually remind myself of that the entire time I was reading. When you first start this it actually seems more like an autobiographical and true crime novel and that’s because it actually is. Edgewood, Maryland is a real small town in Maryland, and while it has the same issues that plague many communities across the country, overall it’s a picturesque slice of Americana. You can feel the love that Chizmar still has for it and its residents and his descriptive writing immediately drew me in with it’s nostalgic look at his boyhood home and family and friends. The horror starts with some mysterious and creepy events that actually occurred between 1986 and 1990. Using this as a jumping off point, the author than turns this into a haunting, supernatural tale unlike any other I’ve read. What transpires is unreal, mesmerizing, and utterly mind blowing and adding to this are the photos included at the end of each chapter. An absolute must read at the end of the book is the author’s note where Chizmar goes into detail regarding how and why he decided to write this, and the ingenious way the photos were created.
In the end, Chasing the Boogeyman is simply a brilliant piece of storytelling. I guarantee it will be one of this summer’s most talked about books, and I HIGHLY recommend it for fans of authors like Stephen King and Robert McCammon, and of the true crime and horror genres.