Updated: Aug 6
Lilah Baez '26, Sidwell Friends School
I recently read the novel Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar. The book is categorized as horror fiction, and I was excited to read it as I was not familiar with the genre. Chasing the Boogeyman is a story set in Chizmar’s hometown, Edgewood, Maryland. To summarize, Chizmar moves into his childhood home, where the murders of many teenage girls begin to occur. Chizmar and his friend, Carly Armstrong make connections to the murdered girls and uncover details of their murders. Because of the murderer's strategies, people in the town are led to believe that the murders are committed by a supernatural being.
Overall, I thought that Chasing the Boogeyman was a very intriguing novel that has many pros and cons. One aspect of Chasing the Boogeyman I enjoyed were the photos of the murder victims which Chismar included at the end of all the chapters. These photos would display victims from when they were alive and include the place where their bodies were found; he also included newspaper articles about the girls. The addition of the photos made the story and the murders authentic and added a level of intrigue to the story. Additionally, I admired how Chizmar talked about actual events in his life and related them to the fictional murders. By Chizmar incorporating milestones in his life, it allowed the reader to have a deeper connection to the book as a whole and his character as well.
On the other hand, I was not particularly fond of the introduction which preceded the murder plot. I felt like Chizmar was stating facts about the town which were not relevant to the story. This aspect of the novel felt unnecessary and I would have preferred these non-relevant details. Instead, I would have preferred that he only write about his emotional connection to his hometown. Additionally, after announcing the murderer, I would have preferred it if he went into depth about the discovery of their identity. Instead, he wrote about his family’s successes, which are definitely important for character development, but would have been better in a different part of the book. Overall, I think that Chasing the Boogeyman is a very intriguing novel that has many positive and negative aspects. That being said I still would recommend this book to anyone looking to dive into a scary read.