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A Long December

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  526 ratings  ·  96 reviews
In 1996, Richard Chizmar's debut short story collection, Midnight Promises, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Publishers Weekly called it "a sterling collection" while singling out "The Silence of Sorrow" as "an understated masterpiece."

Two years later, Subterranean Press published a mini-collection from Chizmar entitled Monsters and Other Stories. In his introdu
Hardcover, 530 pages
Published October 31st 2016 by Subterranean Press (first published 2016)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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This is a hefty, yet very readable, collection of short stories that for the most part has secured me as a Chizmar fan. The stories included here run the gamut of topics (crime, death, life, folklore - to name only a few), many of them owing or paying respects to the horror writers of Chizmar's childhood, some of whom can now be called friends. But the cool thing is the way he does it without copying those others, or rehashing that same old plot (the horror subjects that everyone has tried or re ...more
Frank Errington
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review copy

Thirty-four short stories and the title novella combine to make a worthwhile collection for any reader who enjoys good speculative fiction. The only reason for giving Richard's career spanning compendium four stars is the number of stories I felt were incomplete. Those stories were all compelling and entertaining right up until the final page where I would feel a bit let down or disappointed.

The collection begins with Blood Brothers - Even after all of the years and circumstances whi
A LONG DECEMBER, by Richard Chizmar, is a massive collection consisting of 34 short stories, and one novella. The stories range in subject matter from mystery, thriller, horror, police procedural, and the nostalgic. Some of these stories were strongly reminiscent of Twilight Zone episodes, others predictable--yet thought provoking, and then there were a handful that just didn't feel . . . complete . . . at the end.

One thing that all of these stories had in common, however, is a great writing sty
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a massive tome of a collection. I started out intending to write a mini-review of each of the shorts, but damn, there are 35 of these mothers in here. So, I said screw it and decided to just enjoy the stories and not worry about the rest. It’s amazing how much more relaxed the reading went after that.

As with most collections there were some tales that worked better for me than others and each varied in content and style, but the common theme here was the quality of the writing. Each of
The Grim Reader
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review at Ginger Nuts of Horror. Go here ~ for more. ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, read-in-2019
Fantastic story telling and a book I couldn't put down. My review is posted here ---> ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! 35 dark fiction stories from the publisher of Cemetery Dance. The title - A LONG DECEMBER - comes from the final story, actually a novella length piece about a serial killer. These stories are classic dark fiction, not necessarily horror, and show the influences of Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson among others. One story, which shall remain nameless (for your reading enjoyment!) clearly showed a Stephen King influence in a "what if?" kind of way.

I received my copy of A LONG DECEMBER
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh yes this is well worth a read, I'm thinking I very much like Mr Chizmar's style. As with all anthologies some tales were a bit hit and miss but on the whole, a good number of these were very satisfying. A lot of the stories seem to play into the fear we all have, of how the most awful things can and do occur in the most normal and mundane of settings, they rear up and smack us in the face as we go about our business. Bad sh*t could be happening right on our doorstep and we wouldn't necessaril ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful collection of 35 of Richard Chizmar's (darker) short stories from the last twenty years or so. Since I read it in spurts over two+ weeks I can't really give a breakdown of all of them by this point, but I wouldn't really want to give anything away anyway because Chizmar has a knack for giving a lot of these stories an ending that satisfies... but isn't really an ending because he still has you wanting to know more. In other words, the killer might be identified by the end, or the monst ...more
Eric Rickstad
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Chizmar is one of my favorite writers, in any genre, and he is a master in the horror and supernatural genres. This collection is Chizmar at his very best. These stories are macabre, chilling, suspenseful, frightening, and above all, very very human. That above all, is why they stick with this reader, and why they matter.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
A big book of "Meh". Saw the outstanding reviews and comparisons to King's short stories. Don't understand the good reviews and as for similarities to King, not even close. These were not horror stories per se, but rather people doing evil things or atoning for mistakes & sins. A lot of the stories had what you could say were "twists" but most were somewhat lame and predictable. No real variation in stories; just a lot of the same old, same old but committed by different members of the family et ...more
Stephanie Wytovich
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excerpt. Full review coming soon via Nameless Digest:

A Long December, a short story collection by Richard Chizmar, published by Subterranean Press, is a superb assortment of snapshots into the psychologically and emotionally-intense lives of various characters who teach us about loss and suffering, about the unthinkable and the grotesque. What I liked most about the collection overall is that Chizmar isn’t afraid to go there. He handles taboo topics and scenarios
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stephen King recommended book. He said: "Powerful…I love it…Richard Chizmar writes clean, no-nonsense prose…sets his tales in no-nonsense, middle class neighborhoods I can relate to…and writes terrific stories served with a very large slice of Disquiet Pie." ...more
Nick Cato
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full review Monday, October 10 at
Bill Gauthier
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Richard Chizmar’s collection A LONG DECEMBER kicks ass. What? You want more? All right, all right. Chizmar os best known, I think, as the editor and publisher of CEMETERY DANCE MAGAZINE as well as Cemetery Dance Publishing. In other words, one of the best and most important magazines and publishers in horror and dark fiction. I expected this collection to be good, what got me is how bloody good it is.

Is it horror? Some of the stories are, I guess. Some are crime fiction, but I honestly didn’t ke
David Veith
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a very good read. Most of the stories were very good as well. Some were a little off for me, and too short. I know they were short stories, but a couple of pages is not a story, it is a summary. The writing style was well done though in all of them. Also fun as these were mostly not "spooky" scary, but more like things that were more plausible. ...more
Josef Hernandez
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good short story collection

For a full review, please go to and follow me on Twitter @josenher
Richard Gerlach
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years, I've always seen Richard Chizmar's name appear and I've wanted to read him for a while. Finally, we have a collection hand picked by the author to be kind of his 'greatest hits' so to speak. I won't review all 34 of the stories here, way too many. I will say, While I didn't love all of them, I enjoied all of them. Very few of these stories will stick with me for years to come.

Richard Chizmar is a master of the short story form, if you enjoy dark literature, horror, or speculative fict
James Pyne
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every story in this solid collection. The one that left the biggest emotional impact on me was "Ditch Treasures." If someone told me what it was about, I would never have expected such an emotional punch in the gut, but it had impact! "The Box" was another dandy of a horror tale. What I love about Chizmar's style is he infuses emotion into all his stories. ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I decided to read this collection as a follow-up to Chizmar's collaboration with Stephen King on Gwendy's Button Box. In Gwendy, I got a glimpse of Richard's writing, but I wanted more. I'm glad I picked up A Long December next, but Chizmar is a damn good writer.

This is a massive collection, featuring stories written throughout his career. I loved that aspect, because readers can get a feel for how his writing style has evolved and matured over time. It's hard to pick my favorites in this collec
Lou Sytsma
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Note: a preview version of the book was given to the reader in exchange for writing a review. What follows is my true reaction to the book.

This book will last you a long December and then some. Not because it's tough to get through. Quite the opposite. At over 500 pages this beast is chock full of tasty treats. Over 150,000 words spread over more than 30 stories and each one a charmer. In the course of this book, themes invariably are revisited but the execution of each story is always unique.

Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am typically not a big fan of short stories. They often leave me unfulfilled, wanting more depth from the characters and more detail from the plot. I much prefer a novel that can take the time to really delve into a story.
A LONG DECEMBER shattered any of my preconceptions. In a few short pages of each story, I was drawn into familiar places with real characters, only to have that sense of comfort crushed by an unexpected twist in the plot. The stories did not leave me wanting for more but inst
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A collection of short stories and one novella that hints at something not quite right just below the surface. Each of these stories have a twist ending. It made it hard for me to stop reading. The author's writing of the commonplace makes the "horror" that much more possible and scarey. These are chilling tales that I couldn't stop reading!

Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book free from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I was not obliged to write a favorable review, or even any review at
Stephanie Linsenman

I am a huge Stephen King can, when I saw he had written a book with this author I decided to try this book. It is great. I loved every story, and was bummed when some ended. So many I thought should be a novel. If you are a fan of the dark stories you will love this book.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
if you want to get a good feel for how Chizmar writes, this praise from Ed Gorman, which is in the "Story Notes" at the end, sums it up beautifully: “Rich writes gracefully but without pretense. He knows all about the double-whammy, the device wherein the last few paragraphs of a story are able to raise hard cold goosebumps along the arms, and force the body to shudder.
“But what Rich does best of all is tell us about himself and by this I don’t mean the egotistical ramblings of a Thomas Wolfe (o
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How could I be such a self-proclaimed “avid Horror hound” and NOT have read this critically acclaimed and insanely popular treasure trove of short stories by master genre writer, Richard Chizmar?

That’s the appropriate question to be asking here, folks. It’s not how great this collection was, and so obviously remains years and years since many of the tales included were first birthed into the world – no, it’s more like, “Dude, Oftenevil, what was SO important during the past several years of you
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How can I not have heard of Richard Chizmar before now?

I found out about author Richard Chizmar because I had been looking around to see if Stephen King had anything in the works. I saw that he was coming out with a novella titled GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX on May 28, 2017 - co-authored with someone I'd never heard of - Richard Chizmar.

Now, I am a voracious reader, usually reading 5-6 books a week and the horror genre is one of my favorites. So I start investigating and find this man has been writing
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Long December is a massive 519 page book consisting of 34 short stories, and one novella.

I was aware of the name Richard Chizmar through his work with Cemetary Dance, but was not familiar with his writing at all. After a friends recommendation and seeing that Chizmar was about to release a book co-authored with Stephen King I took the plunge.

A Long December covers a range of genres, including mystery, thriller, horror and crime. Some of the stories have a very strong Twilight Zone vibe, and th
Kya Aliana
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Richard Chizmar’s A Long December is a thrilling collection of short stories from every stage of his career. A must read for fans of horror, dark fiction, and well-crafted stories!

Chizmar has mastered the craft of the short story, as demonstrated in these 35 tales. From the moment I read the first line, I knew I was in for a chilling and fun ride. The mounting tension through each story kept me fully engaged, and the world around me disappeared. I read so often that it’s rare I find a book that
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Richard Chizmar is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author.

He is the co-author (with Stephen King) of the bestselling novella, Gwendy’s Button Box and the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than 35 anthologies and his short fiction has appeared

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