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In The River

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  290 ratings  ·  86 reviews
An intensely moving tale of survival and madness along the river's edge. A father and son fishing lesson become a nightmarish voyage to the sea in this visionary testament to the lengths we will go for those we love. ...more
Kindle Edition, 130 pages
Published August 4th 2017
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Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  290 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Sadie Hartmann
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scream-mag
Review for this novella first appeared in the September/October #50 issue of SCREAM magazine.

I’m an avid reader and my favorite genre is horror. I started my “Season of Horror” in September of last year and it was supposed to end at Christmas but it didn’t. I’m now on my ninth month of non stop horror and I see no sign of growing faint or weary.
That being said, immersing oneself in a niche genre such as horror, I began to see the plot tropes, cliches and patterns emerge fairly quickly. The upsi
IN THE RIVER is the first I have read from author Jeremy Robert Johnson. As an introduction, this one could not have been any more captivating! This novella, at first glance, looked to be fairly simple in style--short, to the point, sentences, evolving into short, plain, paragraphs.

That impression was banished within the first several seconds that I read.

"River looks rough."

The words convey a beauty and a love deeper than what I was expecting. This is the tale of a father taking his seven-y
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm getting ready to read Skullcrack City with my good friend Sadie, so I thought I would end the month with this little novella from Johnson first.

Let me just say right away that I was not prepared for this! You turned the waterworks back on, Mr. Johnson. I had gone months without crying over a book. Now it's been zero days.

There is so much packed into this short novella. So much story. I'm not going to say a word about the plot, but it's about loss, pain, grief, and the lengths a person will f
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novellas
She stated it as a fact. The sun shines. The wind blows. If he dies, so do I.
In this book about a man and his young son on a fateful fishing trip and the tragedy that befalls them, author Jeremy Robert Johnson crafts an intense tale of loss and grief wrapped up in a package of powerful imagery, top-notch writing and evocative language. It's creative, original, and never goes where you expect it to. I don't want to say too much and ruin the effect of experiencing it.
The sound
The Grim Reader
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, one reason you should definitely pick up a copy of this book is because all of the first months royalties from sales will be donated to Portland Homeless Family Solutions. I didn’t request a review copy of this book, I bought it.

Those of you already familiar with the works of Jeremy Robert Johnson can rest easy in knowing that this surprise novella release from Lazy Fascist Press is yet another example of why he is held in such high regard among his peers and by readers. Johnson’s novel
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mesmeric, devastating, make-you-cringe-and-cry horror/dark fiction.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-list-2019
Wow! I’m floored. One of my favorite books of the year so far. This one was so unexpected, and so completely different from his other works, and it’s going to haunt me for quite some time. Loved it!
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This little book looks innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Soothing waves of blue and green grace the cover. Perhaps it is about an adorable sea monster or maybe a meaner one who is crunching and munching its way through a bunch of B-movie characters who kind of, sort of deserve everything they get.

It isn’t either of those things.

In The River is a deadly serious examination of pain and madness and it is one of those books that will not leave you after you turn the last page. It seeps under your skin a
In the River is refined, poignant and intimately told, with nary a wasted word. The protagonist seeks to avenge tragedy and fulfill destiny with the hand of magic as a potential ally. All of the pieces fit together impeccably to make this an amazing read, wrapping up with a truly unforgettable ending.
Benoit Lelièvre
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of these books that begin as something, morph into something completely else and end up a strange, Frankenstein-like hybrid of the two.

There's very little to dislike about In the River: it's short, unpredictable, filled with moving symbolism and has a quite tasteful ambiguity about it. It's not for everyone though. The leap from cute Hemingwayesque tribute into the occult and supernatural horror will make some readers pull the plug. I thought Jeremy Robert Johnson did a tremendous jo
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
WARNING: Horror with FEELINGS. HORROR with feelings.

What a powerful novella about loss.... done in such a unique way that for me borderlined on mythology. I weirdly got a very tiny ping of Pinocchio mixed in for some reason … don't even know why I'm admitting that - haha but it's funny where your mind goes sometimes when you're reading.

Honestly, I've been eyeing Mr. Johnson's Entropy in Bloom for a while now so when In the River showed up in Night Worm's February package I was so excited. This
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So much is nestled inside this novella by Jeremy Robert Johnson. It centers on grief, death, anguish, loss, pain, agony, guilt, and so much more. The lengths someone will go to for someone they love with every fiber of their being is on full display with In The River. I gasped and had my heart broken. One thing I loved most about this story is the format. It's like the way the words and pages are setup that it is a character all on its own. You'll see what I mean whenever you get this one. And y ...more
Audra (ouija.reads)
Similar to a river, the constant thrum of the water forcing its way downstream, this novella is a relentless, merciless force, driving the reader on and on. Once your feet get swept out from under you, there is no solid ground in sight—don’t expect leniency from the natural world Johnson has envisioned.

At the core, this is the story of a father, his grief, and the physical and spiritual journey it takes him on. In that way, it reminded me of a condensed sort of Pet Sematary maybe mixed with the
Autumn Christian
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No spoilers, but In The River is phenomenal. JRJ almost always delivers.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great bullheaded fish rises from the river and in an instant changes the course of the mans life. He runs away from all that is his world.

This story brought forth so many emotions:sadness, loss, despair, shock, guilt, angst and the love a parent holds for their child. Oh how the man suffers because he feels he couldn’t protect his boy. Wow, this is a good one to read, it draws you along, down the river and doesn’t release you until the very last page!
Tracy Robinson
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my introduction to the fiction of Jeremy Robert Johnson, and what an intro it was. I completely devoured this novella, lost in the concise yet lyrical prose and the heart-shattering events within the pages.

As an English instructor myself, I sometimes find it difficult to "turn off" that part of my brain when I read, especially when it comes to shorter fiction. It really is crucial to make every word count - to be precise when needed and to also know when to elongate those descriptions t
Danelle  @ Our-Wolves-Den
In The River by Jeremy Robert Johnson was a recommended read from (I believe ) a YouTube video book haul I happened to be watching. I thought it sounded like a good enough horror read that I bought it straight away. The book arrived at my doorstep yesterday afternoon.

Where do I even start on how this book eventually gave me a new outlook on what seems like complete "craziness" of a father. This book ended up hitting way too close to home in most areas. Did I really just say a "horror" story hit
Kelby Losack
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's like McCarthy's THE ROAD meets a river monster legend. This is one of the most intense things I read in 2017. I loved the minimalism, the emotional rawness, the way that scene with the hand made my throat swell up. ...more
David Nicholls
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book is amazing. Johnson's work is always phenomenal and In The River is perhaps his best yet.
The story of a father who takes his son to teach him how to fish, and things go horribly wrong.
I cannot begin to describe the amount of raw emotion that flows through the pages of this book. Jeremy Robert Johnson brilliantly captures the love and anxiety of parenthood, and presents it in a perfectly brutal way.
This book is a must read!
Cassie Daley
I started & finished this during my volunteering today, and twice I was asked by nearby children if I was okay.

No. I am not okay.

This is so good, 5/5, definitely recommended! A heart-wrenching story of a father trying to teach & provide for his son, and what comes after. There are other little snippets of stories toward the end as well and these were SO SAD, ahhhh. I can't handle all these feelings! (But I love it.)
Suzy Michael
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
I received this book in my Nightworms book box at the beginning of February, having not heard of the book and had no idea what it was about. I was not expecting something that would rip out my heart, stomp on it, put in a blender, I think I'm starting to quote lyrics from a song? Ok, but in all seriousness, I was not expecting such an emotional reading experience. Not with a horror novella, but it can happen and it did here. Jeremy Robert Johnson wrote a devastating and creepy novell ...more
Josh reading
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Overwhelming! As a father this book just gutted me,as I can’t even imagine such horror. Jeremy Robert Johnson has such a unique voice, I’m so excited to have finally read one of his books. Entropy in Bloom has been on my TBR for way to long and In The River has been on my radar for some time after reading reviews from several fellow book lovers.

This novella tells a story of ferocious loss and the depths a father will go to find his child beyond all hope. The journey from the river to the sea is
Tyler Spragg
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the River is an intense and gripping survival tale about the things we'll go through with the odds stacked against us, for the ones we love. A simple mistake during a lesson in the hostile wilderness leads to a revenge driven pursuit, where the right decisions aren't clear and sanity is at it's boiling point.

Also, the paperback is gorgeous inside and out. It's pocket sized so, you know, take it with you on a hike, a float downstream, take it with you to work or something. Put that perfect po
Mitch Meredith
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
A unique, weird tale of survival and grief mixed with an acid trip. That's really how I'd sum this up. This is one of those books that I did not connect with and I'm not sure I fully understood. Or, maybe it's meant to be that way? ...more
Tom Lucas
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
When you get your copy of this book, you’ll look at it diminutive size and page count and think that it will be a solid afternoon or evening read. And maybe you can gobble it up in a couple hours.

I couldn’t.

I had to parcel it out over a few nights because the story itself is a continuous punch in the gut. Father/son stories always hang heavy for me, and this was no exception. The narrative is tight and linear; the rain forest setting and indigenous protagonist were incredibly refreshing. I can’
McGrouchpants. McGrouchpants!
Rips the lid off. ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Man and boy, father and son, river and land, diverging realms, succumbed to hells with fears subdued and dominions intruded and traversed.

A ceremony and journey upon paths, across land and sea through loss, encountering something mad with hunger, Cuja, Mactatu, tribes, cave, jungle, river, dark prayers left wishing world to be undone with interloper of death between father and son with a bond forever tied together.

Stylistically the prose reads like literary voices that write with horror like tha
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sub-box-books
I’m not sure what I just read. That was dark. Really dark. And I loved it. Absent chapters and “normal” formatting this felt like one long heart wrenching essay. I was surprised by a lot in this little novella. So I don’t want to say too much so that others will be surprised too. But this is a master class in how horror (and this is horror) is also incredibly moving. I’m not sure how much was fantastical and magic and how much was just sheer delirium on the part of the main character but I don’t ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful story that is full of emotions and of a father's love for his son. After a fishing lesson that goes tragically wrong, the father sets out on a journey to find his son and save him from the monster. As the man goes slowly mad with grief his journey takes him to the sea and along the way he meets someone in the jungle who gives him a serious of quests to pass in order to save his son. In the River is a short read that is beautifully written and flows like a river all the way to the end. ...more
Kelly (BookWtch)
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
In The River tells an intimate story of a father and son, of loss and grief, and how far one will go for the ones they love. The bond between a parent and their child. I'm not a parent, and can only imagine what one reading this would feel after the last page was read.

I was not expecting the direction this book took.
Sometimes the scariest things in horror is not what's fictional, but what's real.

Every page was loaded with emotion and purpose.
Devastating, yet beautiful.

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