Richard Chizmar, founder of Cemetery Dance Publications and the Cemetery Dance Magazine, asked his oldest son, Billy, to assist him in writing a short story. Billy eagerly accepted, and once the two got to writing, they realized they had more than a short story’s worth of material. “Widow’s Point,” through their collaboration and compatible stylistic differences, turned into the chilling novella it is today.
“Widow’s Point, with its sheer cliffs and windswept ocean views, is one of the most picturesque scenic overlooks in all of Nova Scotia. It’s located a mere five minute drive from the town of Harper’s Cove, a thirty minute drive from neighboring Cambridge, and a zero minute drive from the depths of Hell.”
Released in February 2018, this 150-page novella, with amazing illustrations from the famous Glenn Chadbourne throughout, follows the tragic tale of acclaimed author Thomas Livingston and his weekend stay in the haunted Widow’s Point lighthouse on Harper’s Cove.
The entire novella is written in bursts of video and audio clips from Livingston’s portable camera and recorder. Reading this feels like you are watching a movie. I have read a lot of books in my time, but I can say I have never read one that was this visually stunning.
The Chizmars simply killed it. They both have a lot of background in the film industry, so that aided in their descriptive prowess. There are multiple occasions where I had to set the book down and just go “wow” among other expletives. I was thoroughly creeped out. There’s a specific Satanic ritual scene that has still stuck with me.
“I want to go home. I want to leave this bad place and never come back. There’s evil here, in the walls, in the air. It lurks along the stairway and slumbers upon the catwalk. It breathes in the salt of the ocean and exhales darkness. It survives on the town’s fear. I can feel it oozing through the stone walls and slithering into my skin. It’s swimming in my veins. I can feel it. I can feel it eating my brain.”
Aside from the Satanic bit, the Chizmar’s threw the readers into Livingston’s mind and showed you his deep dive into the heart of darkness and the slow crumble of his insanity. The ghosts of the lighthouse’s past haunted poor Thomas, pushing him beyond the realm of rational thinking and actions. Counting steps, recounting steps, rotten food, tainted water, mysterious objects, and many more classic ghost story elements that broke clichés and added new life to the sub-genre.
While reading this I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Stephen King’s short story “1408” and after watching the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House” loosely based off Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, I see parallels there too.
I had the privilege of interviewing Richard and Billy back in October. It was an experience that will probably stick with me for the rest of my life and I still can’t thank them enough for the opportunity. During the interview they revealed the novella is on the verge of becoming a feature film. They also told me the duo was working on a prequel/sequel story.
I highly recommend you check this one out, you’ll cruise through it and you wont regret it. The Chizmars put together something special.