Catching the Boogeyman, A Creepily Clever Blend of Genres

Like many of you I ended 2021 chalking up bad habits I want to quit and habits I want to develop. One of them, that I really beat myself up on, was making it a habit of reading 3–4 books a month. I doubled up the ante by making a promise to review the books I read. Struggling to make commitments to read more in 2021 I have been holding myself to this, and here we are with book number two of the month! And boy was it a good one. This review will be a spoiler free review, so no need to fear, no pesky spoilers will be lurking in this review!

The Setting

The book takes place in the real life setting of Edgewood, Maryland with the story being told by the author. No, I mean really the author is the main character in this book. It is presented as a true-crime book, with the author recounting a killing spree that was carried out by a crazed serial killer during the summer of 1988 that rocked his quiet home town. In the introduction of the book it is presented to the reader that the crimes, setting and characters of the story are real with only some elements fictionalized. Each chapter ends with pictures to demonstrate what the author is recounting in each chapter, to add to the memoir-ish vibe of the book.

Genre Blending

The brilliance with Catching The Boogeyman is how this is subtly planted in the readers mind in the beginning of the book before the story begins, so with each creepy and unnerving passage you begin to wonder to yourself… is this real or is this the fictionalized part of the book? Did this actually happen to the author or is he totally making it up? The lines get blurred very quickly between reality and fantasy which makes the book almost impossible to put down as you burn threw the pages curiously trying to figure out two mysteries… who the killer is and if what is being written is true or not. This idea is not only completely new (to me at least… feel free to comment other books that have done this idea before) but the execution was done very well. It isn’t until the very end of the book where the author reveals just how much was fiction and how much was reality. The answer will shock you…

A Deep Story

This is a disturbing and creepy read, let’s be sure of that. What makes this book stand out more to me however is the deeply human writing by Richard Chizmar. This book does act in some sense as a memoir for the author. He is recounting his childhood memories of doing stupid stuff with friends in his hometown to just hanging out with his parents whom he loved deeply and this is obvious with his writing. Beneath the horror of the book, is a touching tribute to Richards hometown and childhood. I felt myself connecting deeply with his character as well as his lovely parents, and then it dawns on me that they weren’t characters they were real life human beings. It brings an extra level of connection with the main characters of the story, and this deeper connection with the characters as a reader made me more emotionally invested in the story. Not only that, but aside from a thoroughly entertaining horror novel I felt like I learned a lot about the author on a personal level. Being this is my first Richard Chizmar book I have read, it’s safe to say I will be buying another one! (give me suggestions if you have a favorite).

The Verdict

The final verdict for Catching The Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar is a 5/5 stars for me. The cleverness behind the genre blending, and the narrative that leaves you guessing where the lines are being blurred between reality and fantasy, if they are even being blended at all, was a unique concept that really swept me off my feet. I had just finished the book Dopesick a day prior to starting Chasing the Boogeyman, and had assumed it would be a week before I finished it since I was a bit burnt out from reading. I winded up finishing it in three days, an addictive read.

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