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The Fisherman

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,299 ratings  ·  712 reviews
In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman’s Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other’s company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 266 pages
Published June 30th 2016 by Word Horde
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Andrew Horton "Hex" by Thomas Olde Huevelt is tonally very similar and has a similar location setting. It diverges radically in other ways but I immediately thought…more"Hex" by Thomas Olde Huevelt is tonally very similar and has a similar location setting. It diverges radically in other ways but I immediately thought of it most frequently while reading this. Stephen King's "revival" also goes to similar places and leaped to mind. (less)

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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,299 ratings  ·  712 reviews

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Janie C.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a potent mix of cosmic menace, human frailties and dark folklore.  Two stories take place along different timelines and intersect in a colossal ordeal.  The writing is masterful, and the reader is literally plunged into a black sea of dire possibilities.  While the situations encountered are those of nightmares, the characters are fully drawn and wholly relatable.  This is a captivating read from beginning to end. 
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites of 2016 so far. And I blurbed it! Cue blurb!

John Langan’s The Fisherman is literary horror at its sharpest and most imaginative. It’s at turns a quiet and powerfully melancholy story about loss and grief; the impossibility of going on in same manner as you had before. It’s also a rollicking, kick-ass, white-knuckle charge into the winding, wild, raging river of redemption. Illusory, frightening, and deeply moving, The Fisherman is a modern horror epic. And it’s simply a must
John Langan's THE FISHERMAN is a phenomenal story within a story.

Featuring cosmic horror, quiet horror, psychological horrors and a few scenes that were just horrific in general, I find myself lacking the words this book deserves.

This tale was outstanding and I waited way too long to read it. You should read it and the sooner the better.

My HIGHEST recommendation!

You can get a copy here:

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash and the author was kind enough to sign
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
I've been meaning to read this book since I first heard it won a Bram Stoker award. Pro tip: If you're ever looking for good horror books to read, just go back and look at what was nominated and the winners of the Stokers or the Shirley Jackson awards.
So The Fisherman!
I had heard that people were calling this, "cosmic, Lovecraftian horror". But you won't hear these horror buzz words from me because I haven't read any Lovecraft (yet).
But if those descriptions mean that this book has some seriousl
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
"A coal black downright awful fish story.".....Oh yeah

Prepare to be totally creeped out!

We're in present day upstate New York when we meet Abe and Dan, both widowers who have suffered personal pain and loss. Working for the same company, the two men ultimately get together to do a little fishing; and while on the way to a new spot, Dutchman's Creek, they stop at an empty roadside diner for breakfast and meet Howard, the owner.

And oh boy....are they told one hell of a fish-horror-story abou

Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure where to even begin with this review. Have you ever enjoyed a book so much that you're afraid you won't be able to articulate the experience? That's exactly how I feel right now. I absolutely loved this book, and it's definitely on my list of favorite books I read in 2018.

I've been meaning to read this one for way too long. I don't think I've encountered a single person in the horror community who has a bad thing to say about this novel. Most people have been eagerly encouraging me
Michael Hicks
John Langan’s The Fisherman is a slow-burn tale of cosmic horror told on two fronts. This is the story of two widowers, Abe and Dan, who find solace in their shared hobby of fishing and plan on sinking their lines into Dutchman’s Creek, a hard to find locale unless you know exactly where to look. Beyond being hard to find, there’s rumors about this creek…rumors and stories. Dutchman’s Creek has a lot of history, and Langan focuses on this for the bulk of his narrative.

I have to admit, when Abe b
Kealan Burke
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely marvelous. Beautifully written and creepy as hell.
Glenn Rolfe
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I couldn't get into this one. I heard lots of good things, but I just didn't see it.

The book is pretty much two separate novellas smashed together, the better part of which is the present day story of Dan and Abe and the incredible losses they suffer. Their stories start in the first hundred pages, then get interrupted by the unnecessarily long second story (essentially the ENTIRE backstory/story of people who lived in a town bothered by "The Fisherman"). Eventually, we get back to the present
Jon Recluse
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Abe and Dan, coworkers, with nothing in common but their grief, find the bond of friendship and solace in the peaceful hobby of fishing the streams in upstate New York. Then Dan suggests Dutchman's Creek. Although Abe is unfamiliar with this waterway, he is more than willing to give it a go.
When one of the locals hears of their interest, he feels the need to tell them the legend of Dutchman's Creek, and why it is avoided.
Assuming it's no more than a colorful piece of folklore, a fish story as i
Jun 24, 2016 marked it as to-read
This copy of "The Fisherman" comes with a signed bookplate signed by John Langan and other WordHorde goodies.

Here is an interview with Mr. Langan about this book and about the wyrd and horror:
"I know Dutchman's Creek runs deep, much deeper than it could or should, and I don't like to think what it's full of."

I have never been fishing, so I can’t say that fishing stories are something I care for very much. But If I learnt anything reading a collection of John Langan short stories last October (, it’s that this man knows how to write, and that I trust him to take the seemingly banal and transform it into something I won’t be able to look away fr
One of the best weird fiction horror stories I've ever read; one of those stories you keep asking yourself how does a mind come up with this. John Langan wrote in the Acknowledgments it took twelve years to write and wouldn't have gotten finished if not for his wife's supportive reminders to keep on keeping on with it.

As other reviewers report this is a story within a story. The first, and present day, story is of love and the loss of that love. How people handle loss in different ways and how t
J.K. Grice
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
THE FISHERMAN is a unique blend of outdoor adventure, myth, terror, and history. Some people may consider the horror as Lovecraftian in style, but I'm not sure that's entirely the case. At any rate, Langan weaves an utterly spellbinding tale, and this was one of my favorite reads of 2016.
This one hooked me right away. (Yes. I went there…I couldn’t help myself.)

I was immediately immersed in the story(s) from the very beginning. I dug everything about it. It was dark and brooding. Cosmic and literary.

Abe and Dan have both suffered devastating loses. Fishing is a great form of therapy for them.

Next on the agenda, Dutchman’s Creek, a hidden river that promises some huge catches. When Abe and Dan stop for an early breakfast at a small diner to wait out a rain storm, they are related
This is a tough one to rate and I seem to be ripped between 2 and 3 stars. Either way, my opinion is rather unpopular as it seems, what with all the 4 and 5-star reviews here.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm really strict when it comes to horror. For me, horror is a very delicate matter with aspects as many as those of the human psychology. Rarely can a film or novel scare me lately, and I'm not talking about jump-scares. I guess my being so demanding makes me either a perfect judge
The Grim Reader
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I feel truly blessed as a reader for some of the books that have come into my possession during 2016. It has been the best year yet, as far as I am concerned and we are only 6 months into it! Another home run comes in the shape of ‘The Fisherman’ by John Langan. I haven’t read a great deal by Langan in all honesty but have heard great things. There are writers and there are storytellers. John Langan falls into the latter category. His latest novel ‘The Fisherman’, published by the excellent Word ...more
Chris Berko
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely stunning piece of literature. This book made me remember what it was like to first fall in love, it made me remember what it was like to lose something I loved, and it scared the living shit out of me. This is a perfect example of how to do a story within a story but even describing it like that does not do it the justice it deserves. The characters are real, the emotions conveyed are palpable and Mr Langan allows us to get to know each one his creations by allowing them to tell th ...more
Espen Aukan
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once in a while a book appears that feels like it is written especially for me. Like the author knows exactly what I love and need, and tells his or her story to me in what feels like a personal and extremely satisfying way. This is one of those books. My first time reading one of John Langan’s novels, and I’m a Langan fan now. This is a small (yet epic scale) horror story as horror stories should be, full of heartbreak and darkness. A story about stories, and about life and death and love and l ...more
I almost never use GIFs in my reviews but:

(view spoiler)

This book spoke to me. The writing style, the pace, the weirdness, the horror, the tale of grief. The imagery was both fantastic and horrifying. It was both scary and sad. I didn't want to put the book down. I won't be able to visit the Catskills and Woodstock without thinking of the story of the fisherman...
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
NOTE: This review was originally published on the New York Journal of Books:

Over the past decade, John Langan has established himself as a master of weird fiction and horror literature. It’s hard to believe that his newest work, The Fisherman, is only his second novel.

The Fisherman is the narrative of Abe (“Don’t call me Abraham,” he insists in the opening lines), a widower recounting the events following his wife’s recent passing from cancer. His mournin
Anthony Vacca
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
For the first 50 pages, The Fisherman is a drawn-out first-person account of two bland widowers trying to manage their grief through fishing various rivers in upstate New York. When the pair set out on a doomed trip to Dutchman’s Creek, they first stop for a bite to eat at a diner whose proprietor tries to warn our protagonists off with a local legend that takes the next 160 pages to tell. With only 50 pages left, the two fishermen pay their tab and hurry to their fates at the waterlogged claws ...more
Shane Keene
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
*** The following is and excerpt from my review on This Is Horror ***

To the horror community at large, John Langan is no stranger. Hailed by critics as a writer with outstanding talent, he’s been published in multiple anthologies, including several “years best” anthologies, Ellen Datlow’s Fearful Symmetries, and two single author collections--Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters and the critically acclaimed The Wide Carnivorous Sky. And the reason for such a prolific body of published work is q
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A heartbreaking, deeply imaginative yarn about the dangers of delving too far into one's own past.

Langan's THE FISHERMAN unfolds into a complex tapestry of fascinating characters, stories within stories and--ultimately--another world entirely. Masterful.
David Brian
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good 4.5 stars.
The Fisherman by John Langan reads like a sprawling generational epic of a tale; albeit, it's a story which the author somehow manages to squeeze onto 266 pages. Still, for the most part it's a job well done.

The novel actually turns out to be a story within a story, and as the book first opens we begin to learn about two men, Abe & Dan, workmates who develop a bond inspired by the grievous losses each has suffered in their lives, and strengthened by the common interest they
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
She knows, in the way you just know some things, that this is the speech Helen has brought back with her from the grave. It is a death-tongue, the tongue you learn once you leave this life for lands uncharted, and Lottie realizes she understands what Helen is saying.



When the two go hand in hand, how do we cope?

After heartbreaking loss, two men find solace in fishing. As one man spirals further into depression, he convinces his friend to accompany him to a mysterious river in search of an
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: myth, scares
Not that this book doesn't have it's share of scares, but wouldn't you know the scariest part came at the end. I'm talking the old-school type scare, yet from a completely different point of view. It's the lights go out, dark corners kind of stuff. You know something's coming. Langan makes you feel like you're right there too. And then bam, he still caught me off guard. I'm not complaining about the rest of the book's "scare-quotient". That's not even the reason for my picking it up. I wanted to ...more
Adam Light
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic. Right up my alley. Sure, it was a slow burn kind of deal, but I would have read another few hundred pages for the payoff this delivered. I will devour anything John Langan writes. Check it out!
Thomas Wagner
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A richly layered and deeply mythic story all about coming to terms with and moving on from grief, The Fisherman is a novel that took its author, John Langan, 12 years to write and publish. From a literary standpoint, it’s ambitious in ways few horror novels even attempt. Indeed, for the longest time it was rejected by mainstream publishers for being too horror and by genre publishers for being too literary.

Death is, naturally, a theme that is central to horror storytelling across the board. But
Noel Penaflor
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, favorites
Full of melancholy and haunting to the very last page. The Fisherman is a slow burn, but more than worth the read. There's not a literary equivalent to a Jump Scare, but you'll be thinking about long after the last word has been read. Plus, you get to learn a lot about fishing. Yay?
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DAB: Extra October Read - The Fisherman 2 5 Oct 08, 2018 12:03PM  
Hudson Valley Hor...: May Book Club Meeting 3 11 May 04, 2018 04:46PM  

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John Langan is the author of two novels, The Fisherman (Word Horde 2016) and House of Windows (Night Shade 2009), and two collections of stories, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (Hippocampus 2013) and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (Prime 2008). With Paul Tremblay, he co-edited Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters (Prime 2011). He's one of the founders of the Shirle ...more
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“You can make an oyster surrender its pearl,” Clara says. “All you need is persistence and a sharp enough knife.” 4 likes
“Have you ever been so scared of something you move toward it, try to touch it, that kind of thing?” 4 likes
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