Publishers Weekly
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This impressive metafictional thriller from bestseller Chizmar (Widow’s Point) mixes autobiography with crime. In the summer of 1988, with a freshly minted journalism degree, a version of Chizmar’s younger self returns to his small, idyllic hometown of Edgewood, Md., to live with his parents for seven months until his marriage. During that time, four teenage girls with whom Chizmar has some connection (“They were friends of friends, siblings of friends, or in some cases, children of friends”) are murdered. In between writing horror stories and preparing the debut issue of his horror and suspense magazine, Cemetery Dance, Chizmar gets involved in the hunt for the killer. A hopscotch grid with mystifying numbers in the squares may be an important clue. Authentic-looking photos at the end of each chapter of such people as victims, police personnel, and ordinary residents of Edgewood reinforce the true crime conceit. Though the solution is somewhat obvious, getting to it takes the reader on a smart, entertaining ride. Chizmar should win new fans with this unusual tale. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Aug.)

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Best-selling horror author Chizmar takes creepy to a whole new level with this "true crime novel," set in his small hometown in the summer of 1988, as teenage girls are abducted and murdered in the months between his graduation from college and his January wedding. Every detail about his life, his inner struggle moving from childhood into manhood, marriage, and a career is real, but the murderous reign of terror he documents alongside newspaper reports and even photos—none of it happened. Framed as the reprint of a forgotten publication from 1990 with a 2019 update, the volume is a solid true crime facsimile, mixing background detail with action, suspense, and a compelling pace. As metafiction, the book excels: the proximity to reality adds an unshakable level of unease, and it is injected with just the right amount of self-reflection to forge an ironically honest, emotional connection with the reader. The result is strikingly original, a story that will thrill fans of intimately investigated nonfiction like Michelle McNamara's I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (2018) and self-aware, psychological suspense like Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer (2018).