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Catfish Lullaby

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Lewis is a town of secrets.

There have long been rumors of something unnatural in the swamp, and more than one person has gone missing. Many blame the Royce family while others believe in a local monster, rising from the dark waters.

As a child, Caleb witnessed something inexplicable the night the Royce place mysteriously burned to the ground. As an a
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Paperback, 110 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Broken Eye Books
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Emily
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Everything she was holding inside wanted to come out and devour the world."

Catfish Lullaby is the first book I've read by AC Wise, and it was good! It's a witchy novella set in a small town with secrets, which is obviously the best setup you can have for a book.

This book is pretty mysterious, and I liked not being entirely sure where it was headed. The first half of the book is a coming-of-age story, and the second half is about the same characters as adults. Although the book is s
...more
Hailey Piper
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I struggle to classify this novella. Swamp Gothic? Southern Cosmic? Weaving between tall tale and horror from the shadows that hug our world, Catfish Lullaby crosses decades to tell the story of Caleb and Cere against a dark legacy. I enjoyed that no matter his age, Caleb's observations we're never perfectly reliable because objectivity seems a fleeting idea at best. AC Wise is a pro as skewing the boundaries of our dimension, leaving the world less solid, as if everything we see is only our imp ...more
David H.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, novella
This is a novella of two halves, following the same character (Caleb) across two points decades apart. From the beginning it's set up as a horror story with a mysterious, little-seen family next door. Through assisting his father the sheriff, Caleb finds and sees more than he wished to, and his connection with the girl Cere made for an interesting backbone to the tale. We get a Southern Gothic with a gay black kid and some Lovecraftian (?) overtones. I did really appreciate the ending Wise gave ...more
kari
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The idea was intriguing. The novella itself - a little jarring, feeling disjointed at places, and it felt like it could use some more editing. Still, it's an engaging, atmospheric story drawing from Southern Gothic myths and tropes.
Maria Haskins
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With this novella, A.C. Wise proves once again that she is a wonderful storyteller and an writer of gorgeous, lyrical prose. Catfish Lullaby is both gripping and powerful as it tells the story of Caleb and Cere and the bloody history (and twisted magic) that brings them together as children, and then again later as adults. Fantasy and horror, love and family are woven together into a rich and moving tale. The ending opens up new vistas of horror and literally left me gasping.
E.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
You never forget what you're reading during momentous times in your life...ahem. BUT let's talk about how great and creepy this work is. If you have a hankering for Southern Gothic, where Things Just Ain't Right, this is the book for you. The story follows Caleb (gay! black! cinnamon roll???) and Cere (witchy??? furious! capable!) from their tormented childhoods to their tormented adulthoods, and gives readers a Very Creepy Monster on top of it. If you loved The Toll from Cherie Priest, you will ...more
Anne
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Caleb is a young black boy without a mother who lives on the edge of the swamp in the town of Lewis, down by the Bayou. When he is a boy, he discovers his neighbor's house on fire and helps to save the girl who set the fire.

It turns out that all is not well in the town of Lewis.

Cere was born to destroy the world. Her father, a sorcerer and erstwhile preacher, was bound and determine to murder a man/spirit/creature/monster named Catfish John. The best way to destroy something bigger than the wo
...more
C
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am normally reserved when giving written works 5 stars, but it goes without saying that A. C. Wise shows vast potential in her thoroughly entertaining supernatural story that is brimming with the bizarre. She clearly knows how to write a very engaging story with enough depth and mystery to keep the page turning, with characters the reader can actually care for, and with the right amount of horror to keep the reader satisfied. No word wasted, no filler in, and no over-explanation of things mund ...more
Caroline
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating exploration of childhood, small-town myths, and how people learn hate and distrust -- and love. Plenty of strong relationships to keep this from getting bleak, and a good keep-you-up-late bogeyman.
Beth Roberts
Adding A. C. Wise to the list of horror authors who will cause me to auto-buy an anthology. This ticked a lot of boxes, but especially the folklore roots. I still don't like Lovecraft but this is empathetic Lovecraft, modern Lovecraft. The fact that the main character is gay, while irrelevant to me, would've driven Lovecraft batshit, so I like that.

I really, really liked this one.

Actual Rating: 5 stars
Format: Kindle
Source: Amazon
Current ebook price: $4.99
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A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories which have appeared in print and online in publications such as Uncanny, Shimmer, Apex, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2015, and Year's Best Weird Fiction Volume 1, among other places. Her collections, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again, and The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, are available from Lethe Press. In ...more