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The Fisherman

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  12,090 ratings  ·  1,822 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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Brandon Hafeli This isn't exactly a deep cut, but it reminds me very much of King's IT.…moreThis isn't exactly a deep cut, but it reminds me very much of King's IT.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  12,090 ratings  ·  1,822 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
Johann (jobis89)
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“It would be a lie to say the time passes quickly. It never does, when you want it to.”

You know you’ve got a real special book on your hands when the first thing you do upon finishing is reshuffle your top 10 books of ALL-TIME. This hasn’t happened since East of Eden this time last year! So that is a true testament to how much I loved this book.

I have a soft spot for books that explore themes of grief and loss. I also go bananas for horror - obviously. So when these elements are all mixed togeth
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
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every fisherman is a storyteller.

And you won't BELIEVE what kind of fish got away.

As horrors go, we all know it's a hit-or-miss kind of thing. Some writing is fantastic, some of them have great ideas and thrills, and some of them ride that sweet spot all the way through. This is one of the latter. Our hero may not get too many fish on his forays, but his tragic tale, along with his buddy's tragic tale, sincerely sweeten the tale as it descends, steeply, into some really deep waters.

This book has
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I know a horror story worked well when it brings me nightmares...

The Fisherman is exactly the type of overwhelming terror that I grew to like with the classics like Lovecraft.

It starts with a character losing the people he loves most in life and while portraying the events in a realistic way, the story walks into a new territory by having these feelings of sadness and mourning be manipulated to feed something much bigger, much darker and much more unsettling...


POV character Abe lost his beloved
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 ab

"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
Dan Schwent
Oct 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-books, 2021
When Abe's wife dies of cancer, he finds solace in fishing. Soon, he's joined by Dan, another widower. Together, the two men head for Dutchman's Creek. But why are locals afraid to talk about the creek and who or what is The Fisherman?

I've had this on my kindle for untold aeons but I finally found time to read it over the past few days. I wish I would have read it years ago because it is fantastic.

The framing sequence, Abe's tale, is written in a long winded, folksy kind of style. Abe relates hi
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
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪

This book was a pleasant surprise, and I am really grateful to the friend who recommended it to me, because it was clear from the first few pages how much I would enjoy it! In my opinion, this novel delivered what The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker had promised me, a world of lovecraftian monstrosities and conradian horror, sprinkled with a classic, gothic-style "beware of the cursed waters" feeling.

The "story within a story within a story" trope, which many people seem to avoid like th
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
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
3.5 Stars
This was a well written, intricately crafted narrative that wove themes of grief into a story that appeared to be about fishing, but was actually so much more.

The characters in this novel were wonderfully drawn. I found myself immediately connected to both widowed men and completely invested in their well being. The majority of the story was told in a close first person perspective, which made for a very intimate reading experience.  It takes a skilled author to make me care about a fis
May 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Maybe whoever, or whatever, is running the show isn’t so nice. Maybe he’s evil, or mad, or bored, disinterested. Maybe we’ve got everything completely wrong, everything, and if we could look through the mask, what we’d see would destroy us.

When I first picked up The Fisherman I thought I was beginning a creature feature, or at least a standard horror. What I found was a Lovecraftian inspired cosmic experience.

The story begins with Abe and Dan. Both have experienced a great loss and spend their
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. ...more
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:
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
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
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
When I took delivery of The Fisherman, my first impression was that the book looked shoddily printed. The dark sinister painting on the front cover was not bright enough to have its full effect. The pages were large and the book felt bulky and cheap as I held it in my hand.

But a few pages into the novel, I knew I was in the hands of an assured writer. I was glad that I had trusted the words of my Goodreads friends and ordered this horror novel. The first part of the book reads like an Alexander
Pantelis Andreou
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Took me quite a time to get into it.. but it’s really effective and terrifying!
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
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, myth
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
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely gripping Lovecraftian tale of a man grieving the untimely death of his wife who stumbles into a haunting netherworld of eldritch horrors. Langan masterfully weaves this tale into the ancient local lore of the Hudson Valley of upstate New York, in particular the rural area around the Ashokan Reservoir around the time it was constructed just after the turn of the 20th century. Having lived most of my life in this area, I can't help but feel a special connection to the story, though i ...more
Oct 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
But there are some things, no matter if they're true, you can't live with them. You have to refuse them. You turn your eyes away from whatever's squatting right there in front of you and not only pretend it isn't there now, but that you never saw it in the first place. You do so because your soul is a frail thing that can't stand the blast-furnace heat of revelation, and truth be damned. What else can a body do?

This is quite the little horror gem. I bought this book a year ago and put it off so
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: detailed-review
Before the pandemic, I was in the library. Not just A library. THE library. The penultimate library, a cathedral of leather and wood, with nooks and crannies in every dimension and endless rows and stacks of tomes and a silence otherwise so complete I could hear the dust humming in the warmth of sun-shafts.

In this library, I encountered a review of The Fisherman that was the most wonderful review I have ever read. It was as if the reviewer had discovered a door to the heart of the universe and t
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
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
Noel Penaflor
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, horror
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? ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Extra author 2 390 Aug 31, 2021 02:06AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect Page Count 8 31 May 28, 2021 04:36PM  
Creatures, Creatu...: May 2021 Group Read: The Fisherman by John Langan! 52 30 May 17, 2021 11:31AM  
2021 Reading Chal...: The Fisherman 13 43 Apr 16, 2021 06:05AM  
Horror Aficionados : Storybundle includes Stoker Award Winner 1 17 Sep 22, 2020 09:19AM  
/r/Fantasy Discus...: * November 2019: The Fisherman 2 44 Nov 15, 2019 12:09PM  
DAB: Extra October Read - The Fisherman 2 12 Oct 08, 2018 12:03PM  

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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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“Heaven doesn’t want me, and hell’s afraid I’ll take over.” 14 likes
“It would be a lie to say the time passes quickly. It never does, when you want it to.” 10 likes
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