The stories in A Long December, by Richard Chizmar, are spread throughout his career and range from horror, to mystery, to noir. This collection has it all. The stories are tightly written and come across clear and precise, with an underlying tone of unease and discord. The title piece, which is the last story in the group, starts by giving just enough info to keep you wanting more, while it drags you along for a ride through the merry month of December and the realization that the next door neighbor is not what he seems. The twist at the end is pretty cool.
The other stories leading up to this are shorts throughout Richard's career –and at the end there are notes for each story and how they came about. One of the older titles that stood out for me was A Season of Change, a cop revenge story where the ending twist is not what you'd expect. Not too far after, The Night Shift, is nothing but dialogue and reads like Lethal Weapon meets X-Files –great stuff.
The title story alone makes this book a worthwhile read, the extra stories are a bonus. If you're looking for in your face horror, or speculative fiction, this is not quite it –though there are a few stories within that come close.
The only problem with this collection is it leaves me wanting more, but that's a good thing, no?