Credit: Subterranean Press

What happens when your security camera shows you something terrifying?

That’s the premise of the new novel The Girl on the Porch, by Richard Chizmar, publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the co-author of Stephen King’s Gwendy’s Button Box.

Subterranean Press has unveiled the cover for the new book, which hits shelves in July. You can preorder it here.Chizmar, author of the short story collection A Long December, says he was inspired by a chilling true story he saw in the news.“I read an article about a year ago describing a front porch security camera capturing middle-of-the-night video of a distraught woman with restraints on her wrists,” he says. “The homeowners didn’t view the footage until the next day and the woman, of course, was long gone. The story fascinated and chilled me. Months passed and I couldn’t stop thinking about. I used that disturbing incident as a jumping-off point for The Girl on the Porch.”

The novel focuses on Sarah and Kenny Tucker, who learn from their neighbors that someone was apparently playing ding-dong-ditch in the middle of the night. When they check their security cameras, they don’t discover pranksters. They see a panicked young woman with a broken shackle on her wrist pleading for help.

But she doesn’t stay long. Before anyone can answer, she runs off again — almost as if she’s being chased.

The more the Tuckers try to publicize the incident to find someone who knows her, the more bizarre activity begins to surround them. Soon, they are being watched by a strange man. And the danger of their seemingly quiet neighborhood begins to reveal itself.

“I’ve always been interested in the masks that people wear, and the darkness that is often lurking behind those masks,” Chizmar says. “Every day folks that work nine-to-five jobs, go grocery shopping, and take their children to the corner playground. For me, these are the most frightening monsters I can dream up.”

The true story also had a disturbing outcome. The woman was eventually identified and said she fled the home of her boyfriend after he brutally attacked her. The man later committed suicide when authorities came to arrest him.

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