As of late, I’ve become fascinated with video recordings of the explorations of abandoned places—psych hospitals, schools, shopping malls. There is a treasure trove of this type of thing on YouTube. (Dan Bell is my favorite, check him out!) Perhaps I am a little late to that particular party, but I have arrived all the same. Like most folks, I think the mystique of locations long forgotten is a powerful one, though I am too easily scared to explore such places in real life.
Widow’s Point, the upcoming novella by Richard Chizmar and son Billy Chizmar, plays on this interest: what if an acclaimed author of thirteen books about the supernatural were to spend three nights locked in the aged, possibly haunted Widow’s Point Lighthouse? And what if he were to record in real time his findings (or lack thereof)?
Due to an early camera malfunction, a good chunk of this story is told in first-person by author Thomas Livingston — he is using his trust audio recorder. Things are fine, uneventful . . . until they’re not. In the pages leading up to dizzying, throat-clenching climax Livingston informs whoever happens to hear his recordings when all is said and done of the lighthouse’s history: the murders that have happened there, the suicides, the vanishings, the possessions. The Chizmars do an excellent job of conveying the history of this lighthouse without getting bogged down in excessive detail or needless exposition. The weight and importance of this place, these possibly cursed grounds, are quite apparent from the first.
A rich and satisfying tale, Widow’s Point is a haunted ‘house’ story that utilizes the conventions of the genre while turning them on their heads, making for a totally original, frightening, and unforgettable tale of macabre, intrigue. No doubt will I revisit this nasty little bugger in the future.
Thanks to Richard Chizmar for the ARC, which was provided in exchange for an honest review. This is it.