Chasing the Boogeyman

Gallery. Aug. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781982175160. $28. HORROR
This brilliant work of metafiction crafts a not-so-true crime story that feels ripe for a Netflix series. It’s 2019, and the Boogeyman has been found, which solves a string of murders that shook a small Maryland town in the ’80s. It was a story told by Richard Chizmar (this novel’s main character, who shares the author’s name), in his 1990s book (which shares this novel’s title, Chasing the Boogeyman); the 1990s novel recounts Richard’s personal recollections of the events when he was a college graduate returning home. The young Richard is an eyewitness to the growing horror, but he soon finds himself in the Boogeyman’s sights. Chizmar’s new novel isn’t just a clever riff on genre; it’s a meditation on the dangers and darkness of home, on what happens when the place where we grew up finally grows up itself—or at least when it discovers the violence it’s capable of. Chizmar’s novel is a meticulously remembered, beautifully crafted hometown nightmare that reminds readers that nostalgia cuts both ways; sure, it can keep our past alive, but it can also be the shadow man standing at the foot of your bed.
VERDICT For true crime and horror fans, this one’s essential.
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