In his new novel CHASING THE BOOGEYMAN, author and founder of Cemetery Dance Publishing, Richard Chizmar, crafts a successful mixture of fiction/non-fiction while also tackling the ever-popular true-crime genre.
Playing both author and main character, Chizmar tells of a fictional tale involving a serial killer on the loose in his hometown of Edgewood, Maryland in the 1980s, while at the same time, infusing autobiographical elements of his own youth. The book itself is presented as a true-crime tale that Chizmar had written and released shortly after the events were to have taken place in the late 1980s/early 90s. At the urging of a publisher, Chizmar picked the book back up, expanded the source material, and added an epilogue.
At first, this premise sounds ridiculous and gimmicky; that the story may lose its way and get caught up in the mundane aspects of the author’s personal life. I had this problem recently when I picked up Paul Tremblay’s The Pallbearers Club – a book that tried a similar storytelling technique that ultimately left me wanting more.
This was a much more enjoyable experience. Chizmar’s narrative style had me gripped and his coming-of-age story that went hand-in-hand with the investigation aspect was both hopeful and heartbreaking. Chizmar explored the excitement of the future with the difficulties that come with those final moments of your adolescence where relationship dynamics are forever changed.
CHASING THE BOOGEYMAN takes a lot of inspiration from both Michelle McNamara’s I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK as well as Stephen King’s prose and style, which is a given considering how closely Chizmar and King have worked together over the years. I can see this one maybe finding a spot on my Top 10 of 2022 – I highly recommend it.