Becoming the Boogyman is the unexpected (at least by me) follow up to Richard Chizmar’s 2021 novel, Chasing the Boogyman. This review contains some spoilers for the previous book. The concept for the series. Chizmar uses a fictionalized version of himself and those around him as characters, which caused some confusion as to whether or not this is a work of fiction or true crime. However, The Boogyman, while terrifying, is completely fictional.
Becoming the Boogyman starts off several years after the end of its predecessor. Richard Chizmar has made a great deal of money off his original book about the serial killer and is living a quiet life with his wife and two grown sons. One morning while taking his dog for a walk, he makes a shocking discovery on his property that sets in motion a new police investigation and a media firestorm that will turn Chizmar and his family’s life upside down. The real Richard Chizmar writes in a way that turns what could be a by-the-numbers serial killer story into a tense family drama and an indictment of the true crime industry.
The author clearly has a great admiration for Stephen King (they have collaborated on multiple books) which shows in his writing. His voice is entirely his own but often has the same tone as King at his best. This is particularly evident in his descriptions of his childhood and his relationships with his friends and family. If it weren’t for the “omniscient author” moments of the book, this would be completely indistinguishable from a personal narrative. I was a bit worried that this second installment wouldn’t pull me in as much as the first but it absolutely did, and I can’t wait for the third.