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Chasing the Boogeyman – a clever, atmospheric fiction thriller written as a true-crime book.

Get ready for something different. A fictional book where the main character is the author, Richard Chizmar. And the setting is his real-life hometown. It's been described as true-crime metafiction. Ingenious.

It’s the summer of 1988 and Richard, also the narrator of the book, has returned to his parents’ home in Edgewood, Maryland. He is a young writer and after selling a few short stories, he is working on his first major project, a magazine of crime and horror stories to be named Cemetery Dance. His soon-to-be bride Kara is finishing her under-graduate work so the timing is perfect. But Richard’s idyllic situation quickly changes when he finds himself in the middle of a true-life horror story in his own backyard. First, a young teenage girl goes missing from her home and is soon found dead and mutilated. The murders continue and the small town suddenly has a serial killer in their midst. They call him the Boogeyman. Richard and his friend Carly, who works at the local paper, start their own investigation as the fear in the community continues to escalate. But Richard has that eerie feeling that he is being watched.

We learn at the very beginning that once the killings stopped, Richard wrote a true-crime book on the unsolved case entitled, surprise surprise, Chasing the Boogeyman. Decades later, Richard is asked to update his book once the killer has been identified. Knowing upfront that the killer will ultimately be discovered does nothing to hurt the book’s suspense and the surprise of the ultimate reveal. If this all sounds very clever, it is. Especially since placed throughout the book are photos of Edgewood during the investigation as well as photos of the victims before their murders.

The novel Chasing the Boogeyman is smart, gripping and atmospheric. It’s a quick read that you won’t be able to put down. And you’ll soon forget that you’re reading a fictional story.

Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Crime / Thriller / Horror.

Publication Date: August 17, 2021.

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