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Blackwater: The Complete Caskey Family Saga

(Blackwater #1-6)

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  837 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Michael McDowell was proclaimed “the finest writer of paperback originals in America” by Stephen King, and “one of the best writers of horror in this country” by Peter Straub.

Now, McDowell’s masterpiece—the serial novel, Blackwater—returns to thrill and terrify a new generation of readers, with all six volumes available for the first time as a single e-book.

Featuring an in
Kindle Edition, 895 pages
Published August 28th 2014 by Tough Times Publishing (first published August 28th 1983)
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Jennifer Saylor Maybe Elinor's body changing as the river covered it, or Frances and Nerita, in monster form, coming to claim her body.

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Blackwater: The Complete Saga on audio is absolutely phenomenal! Phenomenal! That's right, it's so good, it deserves two PHENOMENALS.

First-about the book itself. Michael McDowell was a force to be reckoned with as far as writing about family dynamics. If you've read The Elementals, Gilded Needles, or Cold Moon over Babylon, (and if you haven't you SHOULD), you already know that McDowell writes about families like no one else. Now imagine those books expanded to cover several generations of one
Dan Schwent
When Oscar Caskey finds the mysterious Elinor Dammert on the second floor of a hotel during a great flood, he brings her home and falls in love with her. But Elinor isn't what she seems and Mary-Love, Oscar's mother and matriarch of the Caskey clan, doesn't want Oscar marrying her...

That's the setup but it's just scratching the surface. How do you write a teaser for an 800 page epic?

My cohort Anthony Vacca recommended this and Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fic
Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー)
And so this is going in my top ten books of all time

I cannot tell you how this series has kept me going after the past few months yet made me cry so much. Review to come

It begins with:
Image result for blackwater saga

And ends with:
Image result for blackwater saga

Thanks for the recommendation from the lovely Char (and my mother in-law)
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
River monster crawls out of river, marries scion of rich Southern family, embroils self in soap opera family shenanigans, occasionally tears townspeople limb from limb. It's the GREAAATESTTT
Cindy Newton
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would describe a book billed as "horror" as charming, but this so is! I enjoyed the tale of this quirky southern family so much, and I miss them terribly now that it is over. When I started the book, I wasn't sure about it at all. I had my doubts about the narrator, too. I had just finished The Amulet by the same author, and the narrator for that book was very southern. This narrator grew on me, however, and became markedly more southern as the book progressed. His voices for t ...more
Anthony Vacca
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a Southern Gothic epic, replete with generations of likable characters, vengeful ghosts and an amphibian femme fatale. This wonderful novel, first published in serial format, has received new interest thanks to Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction. And now Valancourt rewards us all with a lovely new collected edition! My reviews for each of the six installments can be found below:

The Flood
The Levee
The House
The War
The Fortune
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fine example of an epic, historical, Southern Gothic, supernatural, generational family drama, noir, soap opera, mystery, thriller with a bit of horror sprinkled on top.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I've included this article that I came across when searching for information about McDowell, an author that I felt I stumbled upon and have since wondered why I hadn't found him earlier in my life -- why I hadn't heard his name in some reading group, or one of my literature classes.
my link text
I agree that author Michael McDowell is an underrated author, who just happens to be from Alabama. This novel, or the combined series of the Caskey Family Sagas, is in my opinion McDowell's best work, a m
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern-gothic
I'm a sucker for Southern Gothic and this book have everything I could dream about the genre. The great and detailed descriptions use a lot of vocabulary (although English is not my mother tongue, I have been reading books in that language for years and this is the first time I have use the dictionary so much) and you get plenty of muddy waters and dangerous swamps, hot Alabama nights and iced tea. If you are ok to learn the life and death of a family with more than 20 members from 1919 until ea ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I believe this book is now my favorite book. Originally written as a series, I read the edition with all the smaller books combined into one. I'd heard it was magnificent and didn't want to have to be continuously buying each new one. Michael McDowell created an epic story of multiple generations in a small Alabama town. There is an element of underlying creatures that bump in the night but it is so small that it really just blends in to the beautiful whole. This is the only book I've read by Mc ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I added this one to my all time favs list. I don't want to give away to much of the story because that is half the fun in discovering it. It is a story about the Caskey family through the generations. It's easy to get attached to the characters because you see them born, see them live and see them to their ends. The book centers around the Caskey women all playing for the power to head the family. Then there was Elinor. The question remains what about Elinor? Loved her for all of her evil and go ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the absolute fucking greatest thing here is that this is written like a totally traditional Interloping Upstart Daughter Marries Her Way Into The Family story, except that the redheaded newcomer with high-handed ideals is. a swamp monster. from the literal swamp.
Angus McKeogh
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
First thing I’ll say is wow this was long but it really is a six-novels series mashed into one. It was also my first McDowell. Supposed to be Southern Gothic in tradition. But the best I can figure is Southern Gothic means uneventful with a sprinkling of supernatural events. Not scary by any means so I wouldn’t suggest it as horror fiction which I’ll admit was kind of what I was thinking going in. Reads like a mishmash between The Shape of Water and The Thornbirds. And I’ll say it wasn’t ever te ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
All these Caskey books put together in this volume are a long read indeed, and will take discipline. The book is mostly about the Caskey family saga--with the horror scenes far and few between--but I found the family adventures, dysfunctional quirks, and legacy interesting, so I'm giving it a good rating, as great would be brutal horror all the way through. It took me a whole month to read, as it may you, so make sure you're up to the commitment.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ooh wee, what a book. The series isn't really "horror" although there are some horror elements to it. I would classify this as Southern Gothic, which Michael McDowell is highly skilled in.

The image is a mock book cover I made, not an actual cover.

Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the greatest horror epic ever written!
Benjamin Appleby-Dean
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A decades-spanning Gothic saga of love, loss, prosperity, disaster and swamp creatures, Blackwater is like nothing else I've ever encountered.

Covering the fortunes of the Caskey Family and their home-town of Perdido, Blackwater takes us from a post-WWI hamlet and lumber mill all the way into the 1960s, showing the family's births, deaths, marriages and years-long petty feuds.
So far so normal, but for the fact that our heroine, the upstart young woman who marries the family's favourite son, is a
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Southern Gothic families, evil domineering mother-in-laws, genteel child-eating river monsters
Y'all, this is a Southern Gothic to drown all other Southern Gothics in a bathtub full of muddy river water.

Originally a six-novel serial published back in the early 80s, during the heyday of the cheap horror paperbacks, the Caskey Family saga begins on Easter Sunday, 1919, and the great flood that nearly wipes out the small town of Perdido, Alabama. This is when Elinor Dammert appears — a mysterious young woman who just happens to be sitting in the upper floor of the flooded Osceola Hotel in do
David Haynes
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, special
What a book!

The story follows the fortunes of a wealthy Alabama family from before the depression right through to the modern era.

The supernatural element of the story and one or two of the main characters is never overplayed. In fact it is rarely mentioned or used in the tale but it is also at the heart of the family. As a result the casual way it's treated makes it more believable.

I found the epic nature so wonderfully drawn. As a result of the massive span of years there are a huge variety o
Greg Balcom
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is a fan of Horror Stories
This series was very good. Part drama, and part horror. I first read this series, back when I was in the Army, (In the 80's). Since then I've read it over and over. I wish the series went farther, six books just isn't enough.
April Teesdale
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of story I like. It didn't go on for paragraphs at a time about the color of some's hair which had nothing to do with the story at all or explain how bright the sun has shown for all 12 hours just to hear there was a plant that grew a little taller. In other words, it wasn't wordy or burdened, it got to the point and told this awesome story.  And it was just that, an awesome story with horror added in here and there along the way.  The story was about a family in Perdido, Alabam ...more
Zoe Wall
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely wonderful from start to finish. The supernatural aspects are genuinely terrifying but the steady evolution of the Caskey family is equally, if not more engrossing. Beautifully written with characters that I now feel like I know and love, but the atmosphere of the Deep South and the Perdido river itself was the underlying pull for me, throughout the entire series. Loved every second. Don’t quite know what I’m going to do now ...
J David David
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've really gotten into Michael McDowell over the past year or so after I came across "The Elementals”. Since then I have read "Cold Moon over Babylon", "The Amulet", and "The Gilded Needle". They were all brilliant, but the "Blackwater series" was quite unbelievable. McDowell is a master of weaving a huge cast of deep, strong and above all southern characters. His talent of writing inside and looking in from the outside of complex southern family dynamics is masterful. He took on quite a bit wi ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quirky, creepy, at times funny and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
If you, like I did, read the rave reviews and wonder if they are wrong: they are not wrong.

This book sucked me in like a river vortex. I wouldn’t even know in which genre to put it. It’s anthropology and ecology all wrapped up in good southern gothic and high comic drama and a shivery, spooky story. It meanders, it ensnares, it feels lost in time. I know people like these, and definitely places like these. The audiobook is impeccable. It lasts 30 hours for all six books in the series, and I’d s
Noelle Shay
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely delightful, I could not get enough of this book or the amazing story within. Michael McDowell had such a wonderful way of penning atmospheric stories and three-dimensional relationships. I almost wish I hadn’t finished this as quick as I did, but I’m also already looking forward to the next time I will be picking it up.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Audiobook - Matt Godfrey delivers a sensational performance. He breathes separate life into all of the characters and must hail from the South with those drawls...)
A perfectly-nuanced foundation of Southern small-town life colliding with supernatural forces anchors this fascinating epic. A little less padding and a 750 page count might have made this one of the genre's very best. McDowell's characters are wonderfully fleshed-out and realistic, likable yet conflicted. It's no surprise he wrote
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blackwater was amazing! Flat out one of my favorite books. I got the book from the narrator because he wanted me to experience this southern gothic treasure and I am supremely grateful for that. It was weird and winding, a chronicle of a divisive family with deeply rooted trust issues yet who stand as one when something they believe in is involved... mainly money. The story spanned generations begging with a search for survivors and ending the only way it truly could have. The characters I despi ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-misc
Elinor Dammert was found sitting on her bed on the second floor of the Oceola Hotel when the small town of Perdido, Alabama flooded in 1919. She claimed to have been sitting there for four days, just waiting, when one of the richest men in town found her. Oscar Caskey and a black servant, Bray Sugarwhite, rescued her in their rowboat. After the floodwaters receded, the Caskeys generously took her in, although the matriarch of the family, Mary Love, didn't like her. After all, there was something ...more
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Horror Aficionados : Blackwater (1983) by Michael McDowell 13 40 Oct 08, 2017 06:55AM  
Valancourt Books: Blackwater (1983) by Michael McDowell 1 15 Oct 03, 2017 04:36AM  
Valancourt Books: Coming soon: Blackwater by Michael McDowell 19 40 Oct 01, 2017 08:26AM  
Michael McDowell is a prolific horror writer who has distinguished himself with a varied body of work within the genre. He was born in Enterprise, Alabama, in 1950 and died of AIDS-related illness in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1999.

His first horror novel, The Amulet, relates the tragedies that befall various individuals who come in possession of a supernatural bracelet in a small town.

In McDowell'

Other books in the series

Blackwater (6 books)
  • The Flood (Blackwater, #1)
  • The Levee (Blackwater, #2)
  • The House (Blackwater, #3)
  • The War (Blackwater, #4)
  • The Fortune (Blackwater, #5)
  • Rain (Blackwater, #6)
“Southerners are an easygoing race when it comes to aberrations of conduct. They will react with anger if something out of the ordinary is presented as a possible future occurrence; but if an unusual circumstance is discovered to be an established fact, they will usually accept it without rancor or judgment as part of the normal order of things.” 2 likes
“All deaths are sudden, no matter how gradual the dying may be.” 0 likes
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