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In The River

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  72 reviews
"In the River is a brilliant offering; the pain and strange beauty of it will wash over you and sweep you away."Scream Magazine 

"Gripping, horrifying, surreal...Think The Old Man and the Sea meets The Pearl meets Pet Sematary...But, dare I say it, In the River takes you to even darker places..."―Verbicide

An intensely moving tale of survival and madness along the river's
Kindle Edition, 130 pages
Published August 4th 2017
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4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  202 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
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-yea
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 of the rushing
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mesmeric, devastating, make-you-cringe-and-cry horror/dark fiction.
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
Bark (Has Atrocious Taste)
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, nightworms
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
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!
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.doodle.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!
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.
Cassie Lola (holo.reader)
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.)
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!
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?
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’
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.
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.

Joel Sundquist
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most intense stories I have EVER READ. It is a painful journey the main character goes through, and I mean painful in every sense of the word. I was choked up, tearing up and shocked in horror most of this book. I don't want to give away what it's all about, but holy crap. I loved it. So much emotion.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was read in one sitting! All the stars, all the feels, and all the tears!! I'm a bit broken inside and I know this book will be sitting with me for quite some time.

The father in this story tries to teach his son to be a man and learn responsibility, but I can't come to terms with the afterwards.....
Danielle Dawson
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. Powerful, haunting, horrific, memorizing. It basically feels like you're reading insanity as it builds and ebbs and flows inside a person at the peak of great loss. A very short, strong read. Not my favorite of his, and definitely very different, but no less beautifully written.
Tracy Robinson
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review up later this week.
David Veith
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All in all a enjoyable short story. Sort of sad (and even more so if you have kids) but still a good read. Liked the writing style too, sort of choppy but worked for the story. Well written.
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