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The Fisherman

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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 what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman. It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it.

244 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 30, 2016

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About the author

John Langan

81 books1,233 followers
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 Shirley Jackson Awards, for which he served as a juror during its first three years. Currently, he reviews horror and dark fantasy for Locus magazine.

John Langan lives in New York's Hudson Valley with his wife, younger son, and many, many animals. He teaches at SUNY New Paltz. He's working toward his black belt in the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,068 reviews
Profile Image for Janie.
1,079 reviews
April 12, 2017
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. 
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews415 followers
April 27, 2022
For a hot minute, I thought I was stuck reading a book about fishing. That is no good for someone with the attention span of a squirrel. A book has to grab me fast to make me hang in there. So I struggled for a few chapters because it was all about fishing. I mean, it is The Fisherman. Is a giant fish going to jump out of the river and eat people? Zombie fishes? Then the story unfolded and off we went all the way to the end, holding my breath. It makes the question of what would you do if you could get your loved back from the dead? Could you sacrifice your life? Become something not human? Would it be worth it?

Excellent plot (besides the fishing) heart pounding moments. However, not one zombie fish! Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Paul.
Author 114 books8,844 followers
July 1, 2016
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 read.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,294 followers
August 23, 2020
“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 together in a big bowl, and when the book is written as beautifully as this one is, there is no question I’m going to love it!

The Fisherman takes the form of a story within a story. Two men who have recently undergone huge losses in their life bond over the love of fishing. They venture out to different fishing spots, but Dutchman’s Creek is unlike anywhere they’ve fished before...

Gee, a story about two men fishing, Johann?! I hear you cry. How BORING that must be. But believe me, that is far from the case. This ended up being one of the most memorable and imaginative books I’ve ever read. Both stories told are equally enthralling. I’m OBSESSED.

As I’ve said before, this book felt like the perfect combination of King and Lovecraft. And no, you do not need to be a Lovecraft fan to fully appreciate this. I would highly recommend The Fisherman to any horror fan, any reader, who enjoys a slow burn that builds to a terrifying conclusion.

I can’t do this book this justice - I don’t have the words. But I simply adored every single page of it! 5 billion stars.
Profile Image for Char.
1,680 reviews1,553 followers
January 21, 2019
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: https://amzn.to/2FM01US

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash and the author was kind enough to sign it for me. Thank you, sir!*
Profile Image for Matt.
936 reviews28.6k followers
October 31, 2021
“Some years ago, never mind how many, I started to fish. I’ve been fishing a long time, now, and as you might guess, I know a story or two. That’s what fishermen are, right? Storytellers. Some I’ve lived; some I’ve had from the mouths of others. Most of them are funny; they bring a smile to your face and sometimes a laugh, which are no small things…Some of my stories are what I’d call strange. I know only a few of these, but they make you scratch your head and maybe give you a little shiver, which can be a pleasure in its own way. But there’s one story – well, it’s downright awful, almost too much to be spoken. It happened going on ten years ago, on the first Saturday in June, and by the time night had fallen, I’d lost a good friend, most of my sanity, and damn near my life…”
- John Langan, The Fisherman

John Langan’s The Fisherman is a novel that makes no claims to absolute originality. To the contrary, from its very first lines – which are borrowed and repurposed from Moby Dick – Langan shows a willingness to borrow liberally from the stories that came before. Aside from Melville, he also utilizes – to good effect – the upstate New York setting and Dutch mythmaking of Washington Irvin’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In terms of theme and plot mechanics, specifically a supernatural entity willing to give you back what you’ve lost, for a price, this contains more than a few echoes of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.

What makes The Fisherman unique is how those elements are fashioned into something fresh and unexpected.

Before we get to that, a brief plot recapitulation is in order. And when I say brief, I mean it. The Fisherman is about two widowers – Abe and Dan – who end up having one unforgettable fishing trip in the waters of Dutchman’s Creek, located in the Catskill Mountains. Things get weird, then they get super weird, then they get bad, and finally they get worse. To get into many more particulars would be to risk saying too much.

Rather than focus on what happens in the book, I want to talk about its structure. What makes The Fisherman so interesting to me is the way that Langan has it unfold. Specifically, he divides the proceedings into three very different acts.

The first – narrated in the first person by Abe – tells of the growing friendship between himself and Dan, a fellow IBM worker who, like Abe, has lost his wife. Firmly grounded in real life, without a horror element in sight, Langan does a better-than-solid job evoking the complexities of grief and loss, and how the death of a person can leave the survivor in an unmapped world that only vaguely resembles the one they’ve left behind. The relationship between Abe and Dan develops through fishing, and Langan is perceptive of the way that certain people – especially men – bond through shared actions rather than shared words.

Almost the entire second act is a story-within-a-story. Spurred on by Dan, the two fishing buddies head to the Catskills, where they intend to do some angling on Dutchman’s Creek. They stop at a restaurant during a rain storm, and in a scene that is half-parody, half-homage to a standard trope, they are made to listen to the restaurant owner’s meandering tale about the dangers that await them if they venture any further.

Frankly, I abhor the nested narrative. It’s one of the main reasons that I can barely stand Joseph Conrad, even though his concepts and storylines are so great. When I read fiction, I want to be in the middle of the action. I don’t want to be held at a distance, caught in some meta-nightmare where I’m passively reading a story about a guy passively telling a story. Thus, I was initially pretty annoyed with this setup, wherein we leave Abe and Dan for an extended monologue given by a guy who heard it from another guy who heard it from a gal.

Somehow, despite my basic incredulity – how long did Abe and Dan just stand there, listening? – the substance of the restaurant owner’s soliloquy won me over. It deftly builds a mythology while also creating an atmosphere of gradually accumulating dread. Things eventually got too strange for my taste, but it can’t be said that Langan has not attempted to devise a workable supernatural system for his characters to deal with.

The third act – which jumps back to Abe as the narrator – uses the second act’s stage-setting to show what happens when Abe and Dan get to Dutchman’s Creek. Unlike the wide-ranging first section, this one mainly covers just a single day. Like I said up top, it’s fantastically bizarre, exceptionally violent, and even a little sad, though the mournful notes are overwhelmed by everything else.

Generally speaking, this is my kind of horror (though horror is not really my thing), because it is built outwards from the characters. This is not the kind of book where people exist just to die. With that said, Abe and Dan don’t necessarily make for the most memorable protagonists. Langan tries his best, but they simply didn’t make a strong enough impression on me to achieve the emotional resonance that Langan was clearly aiming for. This also hurts the ending, which is otherwise well executed.

Characters aside, the writing is very good, especially Langan’s ability to create a tactile sense of place. There were moments when I really sensed that I was out fishing with Abe. New York State is a proven commodity as a horror locale, and Langan gets the atmospherics exactly right.

The best horror I’ve read – an admittedly limited amount – doesn’t give me jump scares, or have me checking the locks and peeking under the bed. Instead, my favorites of the genre fill me with an existential dread. I’m talking about the aforementioned Pet Sematary, as well as Scott B. Smith’s The Ruins.

Inciting that kind of dread was clearly Langan’s intention. Unfortunately, for me, he fell a bit short. I liked and respected The Fisherman, but it is more an appreciation for Langan’s craft – the way he put his interlocking pieces together, how each of the three acts inform each other – than anything else. Still, if you’re looking for some minor chills, you could do a lot worse than this competently handled, professionally written account that proves there is such a thing as a bad day fishing.
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 21 books4,818 followers
June 25, 2018
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 seriously dark, deep sea, weird, black magic folklore elements, then yes--it's "Lovecraftian-ish".
I loved how the story started out with a melancholy tale of grief and loss that two, unlikely friends share and how this develops into a therapeutic relationship around fishing. Ultimately, a new story is introduced and we are immersed into a totally different narrative that has this dark, gothic flavor.
The book takes some unexpected turns that I really enjoyed--A few times, I found myself doggie paddling in the author's vast storyline and I could have used a lifeline in those moments. But I quickly found my way back to the thread I was enjoying and got reinvested in the story. So I did dock it one star for those "hard to navigate moments"
Over all, this is a great horror book for any fan of dark fiction--some truly chilling, scary moments as well. Definitely one you'll want to read at night--and on a beach vacation would be perfect!!

Profile Image for Noah.
212 reviews81 followers
April 3, 2023
Hi, so I was worried this would be one of those books that I liked looking like I liked, rather than actually… just liking it. Does that make any sense? Anyway, this is a book about fishermen. No really, it is! Oh yeah, I suppose it’s also about two coworkers, Abe and Dan, who both suffered tremendous loss and decide to go on fishing trips together in order to try to find comfort in their shared painful experiences. This goes swimmingly until Dan starts having cryptic dreams about him and Abe making a fishing spot called “The Dutchman’s Creek” their next destination. Creeeepy. I mean, not to judge the characters too harshly, but what exactly were they expecting to find at a place with a name like that! Regardless, I'm always down for a spooky story and this book definitely delivered. I think this book’s greatest strength is its eerie writing style. As the fact that we spend pages at a time inside Abe’s head without any dialogue gives the book a journal-like quality that helps to question the legitimacy of the events that happen throughout the story, making the horror all the more horrifying.

There is a bit of a lull in the narrative when a random restaurant owner halts the story to relay the entire backstory of the aforementioned creek to Abe and Dan. This basically means that there’s a large portion of this book that’s just a guy telling a story to another guy who’s telling a story... to us. I don’t know, I think this ended up taking way too much time in my opinion. My favorite horror is always in the unexplainable; when the whole thing just leaves me like, “whoa… that was messed up.” I actually think this is the one case where adding extra context actually does the book a disservice. It took some of the wind out of my sails (get it? Because the book's called The Fisherman?) But then again, even at its lowest point, I still had my eyes glued to the page! There’s a wickedness underneath every line of this book that captivated me. All in all, this novel absolutely checked all the boxes. It was grotesque, visceral, and spectacular, and then when you think that's it, at the core there’s this melancholic and frequently powerful exploration of grief. So in other words, I guess you could say I liked this book. Really liked it even.

“I felt oddly disoriented, disconnected from the diner’s chrome and glass, the way you do after you’ve finished a book or movie in which you’ve been absorbed and which hasn’t loosened its hold on you.”
Profile Image for Panagiotis.
297 reviews112 followers
August 11, 2020
Υπάρχει ένα ρεύμα στην Αμερική από συγγραφείς που πατάνε με το ένα πόδι στην λογοτεχνία τρόμου και το άλλο στην ποιοτική ή λογοτεχνιάζουσα (δεν ξέρω πως μπορεί να μεταφραστεί το literary fiction). Δηλαδή μυθοπλασία που προσεγγίζει τους φόβους του ανθρώπου μπροστά στο αλλόκοτο και το μη-καθημερινό, προσπαθώντας να μην παίξει με τις συμβάσεις του είδους, να αποφύγει τα κλισέ, προτάσσοντας χαρακτήρες, διαλόγους και ντελικάτη γραφή. Γιατί πια έχουν ανοίξει νέοι δρόμοι με τους Barron, Braunberck (το Head full of ghosts δεν με ενθουσίασε, αλλα σίγουρα ήταν ένα δείγμα καλών προθέσεων να εξευγενιστεί ο τρόμος), ο Έβενσον (αγαπημένος - διαβάστε ό,τι βρείτε από δαύτον), Buehlman (πρόσφατα συμπλήρωσε την τριάδα των αγαπημένων μου συγγραφέων, οπότε περιττό κάθε άλλο σχόλιο). Σ’ αυτούς ανήκει και ο Langan, από τους συνιδρυτές των βραβείων Shirley Jackson, με τρεις συλλογές ιστοριών και δύο μυθιστορήματα στην κατοχή του.

Μπορεί, λοιπόν, ο Λάνγκαν να σταθεί δίπλα στους Έβενσον και Μπουελμαν, που μου άνοιξαν νέους αναγνωστικούς ορίζοντες και με έκαναν να ανακαλύψω εκ νέου την τρομαχτική λογοτεχνία; Πως φαντάζει η πένα του δίπλα στις κοφτερές, απαστράπτουσες των προαναφερθέντων δύο;

Το βιβλίο του Λάνγκαν ασχολείται με παλιά ιδέα, που θα την χαρακτήριζα θεμέλιο πάνω στην οποία χτίστηκε η σύγχρονη λογοτεχνία τρόμου: το παραπέτασμα που χωρίζει αυτό την πραγματικότητα με το επέκεινα για το οποίο κάνεις μας δεν ξέρει τίποτα. Δεν θα προδώσω παραπάνω, θα αρκεστώ στο να πω πως πρόκειται για μια καθόλα Αμερικάνικη ιστορία σκότους, με μια ένθετη (εγκιβωτισμένη όπως λέγεται τελευταία) ιστορία, που ζωντανεύει γλαφυρά την Αμερική των αρχών του 20ού αιώνα, λίγο έξω από την Ν. Υόρκη, όπου μετανάστες δουλεύουν στη δημιουργία μια τεράστιας δεξαμενής νερού. Είναι η αφήγηση ενός εστιάτορα ένα βροχερό πρωινό, που προσπαθεί να αποτρέψει τον πρωταγωνιστή και τον φίλο του Νταν να αναζητήσουν ένα μυστηριώδες ποτάμι, ονόματι Dutchman’s creek.

Οι πατροπαράδοτοι αναγνώστες θα χαρούν με την Λαβκραφκική πινελιά του βιβλίου – η εγκιβωτισμένη ιστορία που έλεγα, που μου έφερε στο νου το The Case of Charles Dexter Ward και την μικρή ιστορία Herbert West - Reanimator. Παρόλο που ευτυχώς σε αυτή τη σημειολογία σταματάνε οι ομοιότητες, καθώς ο Λάνγκαν διαχειρίζεται τα κοινά υλικά με το προσωπικό του ύφος, κάτι από την μακρηγορία αυτής της ενότητας θυμίζει τον βραδυφλεγή Λάβκραφτ. Το κλίμα επικείμενης καταστροφής είναι εξαιρετικό. Θα ήταν όμως πιο εθιστικό αν ήταν κατά τι κοντύτερο. Το βιβλίο συνολικά δεν ήταν τόσο καλό όσο θα μπορούσε και αν γίνομαι απαιτητικός είναι γιατί το βιβλίο ήταν εξαιρετικά γραμμένο, είχε χαρακτήρα, είχες πρωτοκλασάτες στιγμές κλιμακούμενης φρίκης. Ποτέ δεν έκανε έκπτωση στον εξαιρετικά υψηλό λογοτεχνικό πήχη που έθεσε από τις πρώτες σελίδες, η φωνή του πρωτοπρόσωπου αφηγητή ήταν πραγματική συντροφιά, μεστή, αντρίκια, δίχως φανφάρες, δίχως δηθενιές. Λάτρεψα αυτή την μίξη ακαδημαϊκής ορθότητας και χιούμορ στη γραφή του.

Τελικά λάτρεψα πολλά σε αυτό το βιβλίο που με μια πιο αποφασιστική επιμέλεια θα ήταν αυτό που θα μπορούσε να γίνει, αλλά δεν παύει να είναι μια σπάνια, ανέλπιστη γνωριμία με έναν συγγραφέα που φαίνεται να υπόσχεται σημαντικά πράγματα. Για αυτό του δίνω ένα τετράστερο ζήτω.
Profile Image for Mindi.
862 reviews270 followers
June 25, 2018
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 to pick it up, and I'm so glad I finally did. And I'm glad that I buddy read this one with my bestie Sadie too. Amazing books are better when you experience them with friends.

I really don't want to give any part of this book away. I feel like you should go in knowing as little as possible, and just let this novel totally engulf you. I had serious trouble putting this one down. I was really trying to read it at a reasonable pace, since I was reading it with a friend, and then I got to the point where I just devoured the rest of it.

From the very first page I was in love with the writing. It felt familiar, even though I had never read a book by Langan before. I also loved the story within a story framework. One minute you are fully invested in the lives of the characters that are introduced at the beginning of the book, and then you blink and you are fully invested in an entirely different set of characters. It's seamless writing, and so well done.

I'm going to wrap this up before I say too much. Buy this book. Read it soon. It's fantastic.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
November 22, 2019
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 lots of heart and lots of emotion. On that level, alone, this would have made a very fine psychological thriller that could have gotten away with soooo much less than it did.

But Langan gave us a feast. A real feast. I thought we were going into traditional Lovecraftian territory. Books dredged up from time, creepy circumstances, old horrific histories that are just as deep and terrifying as what was happening in the present... but then the author gave us MORE. And More. And More. And I loved every single second of it.

The scope got pretty damn big. Just like those fish those storytellers like to talk about. But these stories within stories within stories kept getting bigger, more fantastical, and then, eventually, DEEP into uncommon myth, blasting away at the normal Lovecraftian line and giving us something special to sink our sharpened teeth into.

I feel lucky to have read this. This is the kind of gem I'm always keeping my eyes open for. Most of the time, books like this fall rather short of my expectations.

Not this one. This one delivers. On many levels. :)

Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
February 18, 2019
"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 about the people who had lived and worked around the stream and reservoir at Dutchman's Creek....a creek they say runs deep and dark.

Howard's tale of a time long past, which encompasses most of the novel, is filled with evil doing and the walking dead. It begins creepier than hell....lured me right in....and OMGOSH watch out for Helen! By midway though, the prose a bit heavy for my liking, I must admit I WAS READY to return to the present.

So....now at about 75%, as torrential rain continues to fall, Abe and Dan leave the diner, briefly debate the validity of the crazy story they just heard and, of course, proceed to the legendary creek of darkness and monsters....and OH what they EACH find there.

Horror lovers - do not pass this one by!

Profile Image for Gabrielle.
1,016 reviews1,184 followers
October 15, 2019
"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 (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), 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 from. I picked it up on a quiet Saturday morning: it had to be pried out of my hands at one point, but it essentially gobbled up my whole day, because I was hooked, line and sinker (fishing pun intended) by page 2.

Langan creates literary horror that is as delightful as it is chilling: it’s also not all-out horror, it is much more subtle than that. The strangeness creeps up on you slowly, mixed in with the ordinary so slowly and gently that while you are aware of it for some time, it still manages to surprise you. And then it's just... unleashed.

This is the story of Abe and Dan, and of their friendship, built as a sort of support system for their grief. Both men lost their wives to tragedies, and despite their age difference, found solace in the act of fishing together in the many rivers and streams that flow through the Hudson Valley. One day, on Dan's suggestion, they add Dutchman's Creek to their fishing itinerary, despite hearing a rather disturbing story about the spot from a diner owner. The rest of their story deserves to be read, rather than told by me.

Langan uses a framed narrative structure very cleverly, by having Abe record the story of Rainer Schmidt as told to them by the diner's cook. This adds a timeless quality to the sense of dread that builds slowly through Abe and Dan's story, the menace lurking from a distant past. While he is not the first horror writer to explore the strange and desperate places grief can take people to, he does it with incredible skill - and his cosmic horror is blood-curdling.

If you like your horror stories literary, heart-breaking, deeply human and yet utterly alien, this book is for you. Masterful.
Profile Image for Martin.
754 reviews431 followers
September 15, 2020
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 young wife to cancer right after their marriage. While short, their time together means so much to him that he never remarries and lives his life on his own - spending his free time fishing. A hobby he hasn't picked up in many years but which suddenly returned to the forefront of his mind after his wife passed.

Years of fishing later, a young colleague of his, Dan, shares a similar fate (yet much more traumatising) in losing his wife and kids in a car accident.

Hoping to lure the broken man out of his shell, Abe invites him to join him fishing - and surprisingly, Dan accepts, becoming Abe's regular fishing buddy.

One day, however, and pretty much out of the blue, Dan proposes to fish a little known place named 'Dutchman's Creek' that is barely found on any of Abe's maps. But it's there and finding this place turns these men's lives into a sequence of horrific encounters and mind-flaying realizations that might not only cost them their sanity, but their lives....

It probably sounds boring: Two guys fishing. More so when you realize this isn't the fishing version of Brokeback Mountain (as I originally assumed).

The lure of this story is definitely the way it sticks close to realism for the greatest part of it, until a story (within a story) is told to them that explains little things that happened earlier, giving them a much wider context and making you realize that, damn, something's not right here.

Of course, the ultimate showdown is a thrilling piece of horror that was definitely worth the wait (aka the hours of fishing that you spend with Abe and Dan)

This story has everything I personally look for in this genre:

I'd really love to go into further details, but I'm desperately avoiding a spoiler to allow you to experience the terror first hand :-)

I totally recommend this book, even if it left me unsettled and scared, like a good horror story probably should...

5 stars!
Profile Image for George K..
2,434 reviews318 followers
August 6, 2022
Βαθμολογία: 9/10

Η κυκλοφορία του συγκεκριμένου μυθιστορήματος στα ελληνικά είναι, κατά τη γνώμη μου, μια από τις πιο δυνατές στιγμές της φετινής εκδοτικής χρονιάς, μιας και πρόκειται για ένα από τα πιο πολυδιαβασμένα και πολυσυζητημένα μυθιστορήματα τρόμου των τελευταίων ετών. Φυσικά, ξετρελάθηκα όταν έμαθα ότι θα κυκλοφορούσε στα ελληνικά, έτρεξα να το αγοράσω αμέσως με το που έσκασε μύτη στα βιβλιοπωλεία (λίγες μέρες πριν φύγω για διακοπές), και τώρα που το διάβασα μέσα σε δυο μέρες, μπορώ να πω ότι αξίζει όλη αυτή τη φασαρία, ήταν ένα βιβλίο που με κράτησε δέσμιό του κυριολεκτικά από την πρώτη μέχρι την τελευταία σελίδα, αν και οφείλω να πω ότι ιδανική εποχή για να το διαβάσει κανείς είναι το χειμώνα (ή έστω το φθινόπωρο), με βροχή και καταιγίδες έξω, έτσι ώστε να υπάρχει και η ανάλογη ατμόσφαιρα. Από την άλλη βέβαια, καλό είναι και το καλοκαίρι, τουλάχιστον μόλις το τελειώσεις μπορείς να βγεις έξω στον ήλιο, να πας στη θάλασσα (χμ, ίσως και όχι, τώρα που το σκέφτομαι...), να πιεις κάτι δροσιστικό, και έτσι να ξεχάσεις για λίγο όλα αυτά τα εφιαλτικά και ανατριχιαστικά που διάβασες στο βιβλίο. Ναι, το βιβλίο είναι αρκετά ανατριχιαστικό, με κάμποσες σκηνές φρίκης και με αρκετά νοσηρή ατμόσφαιρα, με τον τρόπο αφήγησης να θυμίζει κάτι από τα παλιά και τα κλασικά μυθιστορήματα τρόμου που τόσο πολύ γουστάρω, και με τη γραφή να είναι ιδιαίτερα λογοτεχνική και ποιοτική. Και μου άρεσε πάρα μα πάρα πολύ αυτό το κολπάκι του συγγραφέα με την ιστορία μέσα στην ιστορία, που είναι στο δεύτερο μέρος του βιβλίου και που αποτελεί ουσιαστικά και το μεγαλύτερο κομμάτι του, η οποία από μόνη της είναι ένα διαμαντάκι στο είδος του τρόμου, όπως εδώ που τα λέμε και το πρώτο και το τρίτο μέρος. Τέλος πάντων, πρόκειται για ένα πραγματικά πολύ ενδιαφέρον, ιδιαίτερα καλογραμμένο και απολαυστικό μυθιστόρημα τρόμου με διάφορες Λαβκραφτικές πινελιές, που χάρη στην αφήγηση και όλα τα σκηνικά και την ατμόσφαιρα είναι ικανό να καθηλώσει τους αναγνώστες από την αρχή μέχρι το τέλος, καθώς και να τους δημιουργήσει ποικίλα συναισθήματα και μια παράξενη αίσθηση, σαν κάτι το κακό να είναι κάπου εκεί έξω. Όσον αφορά την ελληνική έκδοση, είναι πολύ ωραία, με προσεγμένη μετάφραση και τέλεια αισθητική. Ορμήστε... άφοβα! Υ.Γ. Τι ωραία ταινία που θα γινόταν, ίσως με σκηνοθέτη τον Ρόμπερτ Έγκερς.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,206 reviews3,210 followers
July 2, 2021
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 fishing story, but Langan did just that. I loved hearing how the men were able to heal and bond with each other through their shared love of the sport.

The story was told over three very distinct sections, which made it difficult to rate the book as a whole. I absolutely loved the first section and enjoyed the final section. However, the middle section was such a big departure from the previous narrative that it was jarring to read. The middle section just lacked the intimacy of the widow narrative that I loved so much and I found myself impatiently waiting to get back to that story.  The end of the story brought elements of cosmic horror and biblical myths into its dramatic climax which made for a satisfying ending.

Even though I did not love all the narrative choices in this novel, I would still absolutely recommend this one to anyone who appreciates well written literary horror filled with both emotional moments and cosmic events.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
October 10, 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 his life and what drew him to fishing in the first place. It wasn't super interesting but had enough tantalizing tidbits to make me hang on for what I suspected was to come.

Most of The Fisherman is the story of what befell Dutchman's creek, as told to Abe and Dan by one of the locals. It's a great piece of horror/weird/dark fiction, reminding me of Lovecraft and his contemporaries or modern authors like Laird Barron: Sinister men of magic, fish-like things, cyclopean beasts, and worlds separated from ours by uncomfortably thin boundaries.

Once the story of Rainier and company started picking up steam, I had a feeling how things would tie back into the main tale and I was right. I read a great big chunk of the book while waiting for a tire to be repaired and I couldn't understand how everyone could be sitting around chitchatting while serious shit was going down.

The ending, while a little long-winded for my taste, put a nice capstone on everything. There's really nothing I can think of to complain about with The Fisherman. It's one of those books that felt like it was written with my tastes in mind. I hate to hand out too many five star reviews but it is what it is.

The Fisherman was a fantastic book I wish I'd read years earlier. Five out of five stars.
Profile Image for Eloy Cryptkeeper.
296 reviews197 followers
October 7, 2020
"Los libros son difíciles de leer. Tienen
significados ocultos…, como si estuvieran escritos en código. Las palabras te
desafían continuamente. No quieren renunciar a sus secretos. Como una ostra
custodiando su perla"

"No todas las pérdidas son iguales, claro está. La pérdida es…, es como una escalera:
uno, aunque no lo sepa, está en lo más alto y, desde ahí, ve cómo todo es un descenso
que va más allá de la pérdida de su trabajo, sus posesiones, su casa, más allá de la
pérdida de sus padres, su cónyuge, sus hijos, hasta que sigue bajando y se convierte
en la pérdida de su propia vida… y, según he empezado a creer, más allá de esta
última incluso"

"la Biblia es el pasado; a excepción del Apocalipsis, que es el
futuro. En cuanto al presente, uno debe andarse con cuidado con respecto a lo
sobrenatural. Es algo que requiere estudio e interpretación. Dios y el diablo, el bien y
el mal, actúan, pero de una forma sutil"

Dos compañeros de trabajo, que no guardan prácticamente relación, perdieron a sus familias.
Abe quien fue el primero en sufrir la perdida encontró refugio en la pesca. Cuando dan atraviesa la misma situación Abe comienza a prestarle atención y empatizar con el y decide incluirlo en estas aventuras, a la cual dan accede. Comienzan a entablar cierta relación y compartir la pesca aunque siguen siendo bastante distantes. Dan en un momento por una misteriosa razón propone incursionar en un aun mas misterioso arroyo. Denominado El Arroyo del holandes. En una parada en el camino alguien les contara la historia y el pasado del sitio ,la cual le llego de la supuesta voz de un predicador .A partir de aquí comienza un viaje al pasado lleno de oscuridad y misterio. Girando en torno a hechiceria,pactos, presencias y la figura de alguien o algo denominado"El Pescador".

Es una historia que comienza en el presente y luego viaja muy al pasado, y es la parte mas de mayor extensión, por amplio margen. Para luego retomar la historia inicial hasta el final.
Es una historia sumamente ambiciosa y pretenciosa, lo cual se agradece. Pero tiene un resultado bipolar. Afortunadamente tiene un buen cierre

Esta muy bien escrito , tiene muy buenos conceptos y alicientes, pero la estructura que tiene, con diferentes tiempos y diferentes voces te saca un poco de eje .por momentos muy sobrecargado , en cuanto a recursos y personajes, lo que puede resultar abrumador.

Tiene claras influencias de Lovecraft y algunos otros escritores que comparten ciertas similitudes,con los cuales se han pasado la antorcha. por si quedan dudas... uno de los narradores es un tal Howard de Providence.

Probablemente se merezca el premio stoker que ganó en 2016 . pero en mi experiencia personal fue un ejercicio tremendamente agotador esta lectura, sobre todo la segunda parte.
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 36 books442 followers
June 30, 2016
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 began relaying the story of Dutchman’s Creek, as told to him by a cook at a diner they stop at before embarking on their trip, who heard it from a priest who heard it from somebody else, I was worried that this book would be reduced to a game of Telephone. I was also a bit jarred by, after having spent several long chapters with Abe and getting lost in his narrative and intonations of their ill-fated trip to Dutchman’s Creek, I was suddenly in the midst of a historical story 100 years prior.

Thankfully, the history Langan presents is rich and highly interesting, and filled with several intriguing characters. Once the horror elements begin to weave their way into the account, the story really kicks into high gear with some wonderful imagery and fantastical scenarios. I flat-out loved the mythology Langan explores here, exploiting the watery elements in both theme and object to deliver an excellent bit of cosmic horror. Langan invests us in these characters (both past and present) suitably well, and the sense of creeping dread is completely engrossing.

The biggest risk in presenting a narrative with the story-within-a-story approach is that there are effectively two endings. I found the climax to the historical segment to be much more satisfying than the present-day events, although once Abe and Dan’s stories reach their finish the moody atmosphere was scintillating enough that even though I’d finished reading this on a sunny evening I’d swear the sky was filled with dark, rain-laden clouds.

The Fisherman was the first book I’ve read by Langan, and you can mark me as suitably impressed. His writing style is very comfortable, and within a matter of pages I felt like I was right there with Abe, listening to a long fisherman’s story on the river’s shores. And while this is a densely written story, it is a compulsively readable one. Through Abe, Langan sinks his hooks in deep enough to catch you by surprise, and then you just wait for him to reel you in. Once he does, it is so very worth it.

[Note: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]
Profile Image for Michelle .
286 reviews92 followers
May 12, 2021
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 time together fishing. On one particular day they decide to go to Dutchman's creek--a fishing hole Abe has never heard of and one Dan is hesitant to reveal how he found. They mention their journey at the local diner when they stop for breakfast, and the owner gives them a stern warning in the form of a folktale.

This tale is about fifty percent of the book. It tells of the dead rising, parallel dimensions, dark and terrible powers, and a brilliant man named Rainer Schmidt. When we return to present day, the pair of fishermen, who do not heed the warning, continue to their destination where nothing but horror awaits.

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?

With masterful writing and elegant storytelling, The Fisherman is at its core a tale of grief and the lengths a person would go to to remedy that loss.

I've only read a handful of near perfect books over the years. Books like Dolores Claiborne, To Kill a Mocking bird, and The Elementals. I'm officially adding The Fisherman to that list. It's epic and dark and deep and all things wonderful.
Profile Image for Jayakrishnan.
496 reviews183 followers
January 6, 2023
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 Payne film. The middle aged IBM employee protagonist loses his wife to cancer and takes up fishing after many days of hard drinking. He makes a friend in his office, who also lost his wife and kids recently and together, the two lonely men go fishing. Things go awry when they go fishing in a remote creek not listed on the map. I liked the long build up in part one. Like in an HP Lovecraft novel/short story, the narrator announces that something horrible has taken place right at the beginning itself.

The book's major drawback is that the horror story yarn in part two went on for too long. While the story is interesting and contains many terrifying moments and thrills, it is told from the point of view of too many people. It does not really work out.

Part three when the two friends meet the horror face to face also went on for too long. The scares and the monsters were quite predictable and pedestrian. But it is with the book's final act that John Langan "hooked" me back in. The ending is terrific.

Another complaint is that I felt like I did not really know the narrator that well even after spending so many pages with him. His character and voice are too bland.

Does the book have some deep meaning? I think so. I think it is about human beings messing with things that are best left alone - whether it is nature or other cosmic beings. The book is also about loneliness and ageing.
Profile Image for Jon Recluse.
381 reviews254 followers
February 24, 2018
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 it were, they head for Dutchman's Creek......where they find a darkness deeper than any body of water, one that promises for a price.

Langan has written a fantastic novel, at turns achingly human, and gutwrenchingly horrifying. A grand tale of cosmic folklore that would have done Algernon Blackwood or Arthur Machen proud.

Highest possible recommendation.
September 3, 2019

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 the plague, actually holds a very space in my heart, and was once again reminiscent of one of my favourite books, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. A sailor and a fisherman, two figures associated with storytelling in many classic tales, make the perfect protagonists for these two, dark books: septic, aged men who are forced to believe the horrific tales they are told, since they end up witnessing them with their own eyes. On a side note, me being a linguist, the "ancient undeciphered language" topic in a horror/fantasy books never fails to rise the interest bar for me.

And finally, yes, this may not be the most original and unpredictable of books, and it falls in many clichés of the genre... I must admit that I thought: "I really saw that coming" more than a few times throughout it, but that did not disturb my enjoyment not even one bit. On the contrary, the familiarity of some themes and scenes brought it closer to my beloved classics of the genre, making me appreciate it even more. This book made me spend a fun few days!
Profile Image for Chris_P.
382 reviews269 followers
December 14, 2016
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 on horror, or a terrible one. That said, The Fisherman didn't scare me, although it did manage to send a tingle down my spine a couple of times, which is certainly no small thing, I assure you. Now, I don't mean to say that the ability to scare is all a horror novel is about. There are a bunch of other factors that make a horror novel good, such as the characters, the plot, the writing and pretty much everything that makes every other novel good. So, what do we have here?

The Fisherman belongs to what seems to be called literary horror, a term which, until recently, I wasn't familiar with. What I can say for sure is that Langan can surely write. He borrowed various elements from classic novels of the genre, basing his story on the Lovecraftian cosmic horror and, while he could have merely copied from here and there, he preferred to put his own signature to his writing and create something not exactly original, but fresh nonetheless. His writing style was what really hit home, with phrases such as
He had a lantern jaw that made him look as if he were perpetually holding something in his mouth that was too hot to swallow
Almost immediately, Jacob’s first thought—This man has a stream inside his house, too?—is replaced by another—We are not in the house, anymore—and a third—We never were
“You cut me. You son of a bitch.”
This did not seem the appropriate moment to point out that I had done so in response to his effort to crush my skull with the rock he continued to hold
which were like music to my (inner) ears.

The form of The Fisherman, however, is where its true originality lies and the detail which eventually didn't work for me. As it has been said in other reviews, there is a story within the story. The problem is, it's not clear which is within which. The main story starts normally but right when you start to sink in it, there is a flashback that extends to more than 150 pages and which ends up being longer than the one the book started with. A fact that somewhat confused me and made it hard for me to stay focused, while the endless descriptions only managed to make matters worse in that respect. I had the feeling that the story hasted when it should be slower and lagged when it should be faster, with the latter case being far more frequent. Therefore, in my opinion, the novel fails to build up the tension needed to achieve a climax and that's evident once more in the end, where all the action takes place in the chapter before last. What saved the day for me, was the clever twist in the final chapter, linking real-life events with those of the book.

An average idea and a decent execution by an obviously talented author. Yet, it left me feeling like something was annoyingly missing in the end. 2.5 is the verdict but I'll go with 3.
Profile Image for Vaso.
1,206 reviews157 followers
March 13, 2023
Ο Έιμπ και ο Νταν, είναι δύο άνδρες που η απώλεια που έχουν βιώσει, έχει στιγματίσει τη ζωή τους. Πρώτος ο Έιμπ, βρίσκει μια σανίδα σωτηρίας στο ψάρεμα και τείνει αυτή τη σανίδα στον Νταν. Για αρκετό καιρό οι δυο τους πορεύονται παρέα. Ώσπου ο Νταν προτείνει να επισκεφθούν το Ρέμα του Ολλανδού. Καθοδόν, σταματούν για πρωινό κι ο ιδιοκτήτης τους αφηγείται μια εξωπραγματική ιστορία για το Ρέμα του Ολλανδού, η οποία φαντάζει ψέμμα. Αυτό όμως δεν τους πτοεί και βρίσκουν την κοίτη του ρέματος. Βγάζουν τα συνεργα ψαρέματος και ο Έιμπ πιάνει με το καλάμι του, ένα ψάρι που μοιάζει σαν να μην ανήκει στον κόσμο ετούτο...
Είναι άραγε αληθινό, ή αποκύημα της φαντασίας τους?

Το βιβλίο είναι χωρισμένο σε τρία μέρη. Στο πρώτο μαθαίνουμε την ιστορία των δύο αντρών και το ρόλο που έπαιξε το ψάρεμα στη ζωή τους. Το δ��ύτερο μέρος, γραμμένο σε τρίτο πρόσωπο, περιέχει μια ιστορία γεμάτη σκοτεινιά, τρόμο, θάνατο, αποκρυφισμό, μαγεια και υπερφυσικά πράγματα. Ο συγγραφέας, ξεκινά με ένα απόσπασμα από το Μόμπι Ντικ, το θρυλικό έργο του Μέλβιλ και αυτό έχει το ρόλο του, μιας κι ένα από τα παράξενα του δεύτερου μέρους, είναι ένα θρυλικό τέρας ως άλλος Λεβιάθαν. Το τέχνασμα της ιστορίας μέσα στην ιστορία κάνει τον αναγνώστη να γυρίζει τις σελίδες προσδοκώντας μια κορύφωση που έρχεται στο τρίτο μέρος.
Ο Ψαράς ανήκει στο είδος των βιβλίων τρόμου, κι η ατμόσφαιρα που χτίζει ο συγγραφέας αργά και σταθερά, σίγουρα βάζει τον αναγνώστη τουλάχιστον να αισθανθεί δυσφορία και κίνδυνο. Σε αυτό βέβαια συμβάλει και η πρωτοπρόσωπη αφήγηση που χρησιμοποιεί ο συγγρ��φέας.
Θα έλεγα ότι ο Ψαράς είναι ένα βιβλίο που μιλά για τις ανθρώπινες σχέσεις, τη διαχείρηση της απώλειας και την ανάγκη των ανθρώπων να συνεχίσουν να προχωρούν...

Μπορεί η ένταση της απώλειας κι η θλίψη να μας οδηγήσει σε άγνωστα μονοπάτια?
Profile Image for Erik.
341 reviews271 followers
October 19, 2021
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 this review was an opening of that door. It was a spiritual experience, with metaphysics and philosophy and Gods and Monsters, both elder and ordinary. But it wasn’t all fancy schmancy. It had humor, too, albeit a black humor befitting the nature of this book. And just the right amount of spice of personality and humanity and voice. This reviewer was a human-being, a real person, not just some plot-synopsis spewing automaton.

And the words, oh, the words! Eldritch and arcane, of course, but also, at times, plain and commonplace. The high and the low, the pure and the profane, combined, together, revealing the illusion of their disparity.

Which isn’t to say this was a glowing review. By no means. The review was wonderful, but it didn’t state The Fisherman was wonderful. The review used this metaphor to describe the book, in which this ONE image - an image of a black-magic fisherman casting his lures in a dark ocean of souls and a great Leviathan trapped by a thousand hooks - was the book’s entire heart, its seed, its reason for being written. A great image, a great core. But everything else was constructed around that image and was not great.

And the reviewer’s disdain for the book’s Frame Narrative! You know of what I speak? In which the reader isn’t even reading the story but reading someone’s post-hoc telling of the story. Well the Fisherman does that AND ONE MORE. Half of the book is a frame narrative WITHIN A FRAME NARRATIVE! And oh this reviewer’s delicious disdain, so thick you could cut it into slices and serve it for a devil’s birthday.

Ah, I wish you could just read that review itself. Really, I do. Or that I could recreate it for you. That would be so wonderful. Quite wonderful. But you can’t and I won’t. The end.
Profile Image for Nancy.
271 reviews48 followers
February 26, 2019
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 the simple reflective act of fishing can save one's sanity and mend the heart enough to return to life among the living. (I'd add here, how much the kindness of a friend can mean during those times.) The second story is an unbelievable tale of horror that Langan places during the time of the building of the Ashokan Reservoir. By the end of the second story, when you believe you couldn't be any more creeped out, the stories merge and you get treated to a present day horror show.

Very well written, super scary, and surprisingly endearing, this is a book I'm very happy to have read. Thanks Goodread's reviewers for another great one.

Profile Image for Jamie.
1,195 reviews114 followers
April 29, 2020
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 it's certainly not needed to enjoy it.

Langan seems to strike the perfect balance in his storytelling, revealing enough background and details of the mysterious, otherworldly events to satisfy the reader, yet leaving just enough veiled to keep the imagination stoked. He's also adept both at building a taut sense of suspense and anticipation, as well as outright adrenaline fueled horror. Highly recommended, especially, but certainly not only, for Lovecraft fans!
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