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The Flood (Blackwater #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  670 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
Elinor Dammert was rescued from her room in the flood-isolated hotel. What strange mission brought her there? How did she survive her isolation? Why was she in the Alabama town of Perdido that Easter morning in 1919?

These questions would never be answered because larger and even more terrifying ones would be asked. She soon would become a strange presence in the wealthy Ca
Paperback, 189 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by Avon Books
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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic, horror, southern
”The town rotted beneath a wide sheet of stinking, still black water, which only now was beginning to recede. The pediments and gables and chimneys of houses that had not been broken up and washed away jutted up through the black shining surface of the flood, stone and brick and wooden emblems of distress. But no assistance came to their silent summonses, and driftwood and unidentifiable detritus and scraps of clothing and household furnishings swept against them and were caught and formed reeki ...more
Michael Mcdowell (June 1, 1950 – December 27, 1999) was a talented writer who is perhaps best known for his work on the screenplay for the Tim Burton film "Beetlejuice".

His final, unfinished novel "Candles Burning" was completed by novelist Tabitha King and published in 2006.

McDowell wrote fiction at night while supporting himself through teaching and secretarial work. Six early novels with titles like "Venus Restored" and "Blood and Glitter" went unpublished and are still unpublished.

His publis
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Michael McDowell died of AIDS in 1999. He was taken from the publishing world way too soon.

I'm a southerner and a big fan of southern gothic literature. McDowell wrote a series called Blackwater that tells the story of a southern family's rise and fall, all due to a stranger who showed up in town one day.

I'm including an article I wrote for my library's blog about this wonderful author. Please search down his books and read them. You won't be disappointed.

Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Horror and Southern Gothic tales
Recommended to Char by: Tressa Fancher

This book has it all for any horror fan!

Creepy creature masquerading as human? Check!

Southern gothic style tale set in a small town? Check!

Horrible happenings surrounded in mystery? Check!

Vivid characters and scenes that are easily and perfectly rendered in your mind? Check!

All the small town, gossipy mean-ness and the grit of day to day life? Check!

Combine all that yumminess with a writer possessing a mastery of the language, without being too cheesy, without being pretentious, and with an eye
Jonathan Janz
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I used to think of amazing Southern Gothic writers, some names that always popped into my head were Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, Harry Crews, and Erskine Caldwell.

After reading THE ELEMENTALS and THE FLOOD (BLACKWATER #1), I now think of Michael McDowell too. That I group him with the above writers should tell you everything about how much I love his work and respect him as a storyteller.

So...yeah. Five stars. McDowell is incredible.
Anthony Vacca
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A charming comedy of Southern manners starring a family of wealthy mill owners is interrupted by the arrival of a town-swallowing flood and an amphibious woman with ambition for aristocracy. As the first entry in McDowell's Blackwater, The Flood takes the melodramatics of the family saga (i.e. those unassailable passions and their inevitable betrayals that span generations and keep soap operas on air for decades) and enlivens all the impropriety with a whimsical flair for horror. A breezy deligh ...more
This is my fifth Review Month review.

Does anyone else remember that great romp of a soap opera, Dark Shadows from the 60s and early 70s?


I've always loved that show, even though I wasn't exactly around when it originally aired. Every episode had deliciously cheesy dialogue and I think the series had some great storylines, with the best of course being Barnabas's first shows.

I'm currently reading the fourth book in this series, and the whole time I've read the series I've felt like this was almost
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
I can forgive a book a slow plot if the characters are great. But in this book, the plot was slow, and the characters were rather dull. This feels like just a prologue to the series really, which is fine, but I felt like it should have either been about half the length, or should have had more going on in the middle. All of the hints of creepiness from the beginning were lost for most of the book. And those creepy bits were great, so I was pretty disappointed when they were gone.

I’m not sure if
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Most of us tend to pick a side in a book we are reading. It is almost impossible to do that here. If there weren't one incident with a boy and a whirlpool, it would be easy. The only thing that made me lean towards one is how obnoxiously annoying the other one was throughout the book.

Elinor Dammert just appeared in a flooded hotel room to be 'rescued' by Oscar Caskey and Bray Sugarwhite. From the first moment you know there is something strange about her. She conveniently lost her other suitcase
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, favorites
The Flood is the first in a series of six books in Michael McDowell's BLACKWATER series. This was a fantastic start that had everything you could want to satisfy those that love Southern Gothic books, and leave you wanting to continue the series immediately. A strange woman, stranded by a flood, is rescued in town. What follows in this book is how she takes to life in town and sets about marrying into one of the richest, most influential families there. Elinor is a mysterious character that I ca ...more
Jon Recluse
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
When a deluge floods a small Alabama town, it leaves something more than river mud behind.....something unexpected.

And so begins the saga of the Caskey family, in an atmospheric tale of pure, unfiltered Southern Gothic; smooth as moonshine and slicker than red river mud.
McDowell blends small town life in the Old South with an engaging mystery, scathing social commentary that almost becomes a comedy of manners if it didn't ring so true, and a hint of the supernatural, which trickles through this
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Flood is the first book in the Blackwater series. If you are a fan of Southern Gothic, then I think that you will enjoy Michael McDowell style. A flood wipes out the town of Perdido, Alabama in 1919. Oscar Caskey and Bray Sugarwhite rescue Elinor Dammert, who is stranded at the Osceola Hotel. Oscar and Bray bring Elinor back to Caskey household. Elinor seems to win most of the hearts of the Caskey family, with the exception of Mary Love and Sister. The Caskey's are the rich family in Perdido ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern-gothic
"The Flood" is a classic Southern Gothic tale and a great introduction to McDowell's "Blackwater" series.

Set in 1919 Perdido, Alabama, the mysterious Elinor seemingly emerges from floodwaters with no past and no proof other than her word of who she is or where she has come from. She establishes herself in the hearts of the Perdido citizenry and becomes an integral part of the Caskey family. All the while, something mysterious and possibly dark is going on in the background.

Odd characters, a dark
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is more creepy and weird than scary. I was not expecting the ending at all. Obviously since this is only the first book, it is going to make me read the second book to find anything out. So, I will have to read that too, because there is something super creepy about Elinor but this first book isn't going to give up too many of her secrets quite yet. So since now I have to know…………...

This is an easy fun read with a creepy swampy southern gothic feel to it. I'll read the second one.
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
In an Alabama town there was a flood, two men on a boat came across a woman in distress stranded and saved her, eventually the floods went away. Who was Elinor Caskey? Where did she come from?
This is a intriguing story of people becoming used to Elinor and who she is. Well written and left eager to read next book.
This is my kind of comfort book. This is my kind of chick-lit. I hope the river swallows everyone whole.
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
BLACKWATER: The Complete Caskey Family Saga
The Flood, Book One
by +Michael McDowell, Rest In Peace
Horror Aficionados, September 2014, Buddy Read

(view spoiler)
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
While the Blackwater epic is spread out over 6 books, it reads super fast – it took me just a week to plow through them. It's a unique mixture of one of those 70s sweeping family sagas (ala The Thorn Birds) with the southern gothic horror of which McDowell was a master. The star of the book is an inhuman monster who crawls up from the depths of the river to live as a human (with lapses, naturally) among the rich Caskey family, and who eventually becomes the matriarch of this cast of richly drawn ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for fans of horror! If you can get your hands on this series I would recommend it because its awesome. The family is bizarre and Miz Elinor has enough mystery to pack a punch. The violence is vivid, but subtle. The author gives you an idea of what's goin on but do you really? This one left me with quite the surprise at the end so I can't wait to get to the second book! 5 stars for me:)
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Stephen King recommended author. He says: “McDowell must now be regarded as the finest writer of paperback originals in America.”

Anyone hear of this series? My sister, mother, and I raved about it years ago when we read all the books. May have to re-read them to see if they stand up to the test of time.
Alexa "Naps" Snow
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely wonderful

Michael McDowell never disappointed me so far. It's wonderful to have the series and not one book. Great tension, well built. He's characters is always deep and strong. In Blackwater part 1, you don't know which character to like and you'll love it.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I bought the first three books in one volume and somehow forgot that they were all individual stories in the series so I read them one right after the other with no time to process. An unwise decision that I shall not repeat when it comes to the next three. I quite enjoyed this book and its two successors, but I think I would have been able to enjoy them all more if I had slowed down and remembered that it was not in fact, one entire book. EXCELLENT choice if you're looking for southern gothic. ...more
Leah Polcar
Two caveats for my review. The first, I can't properly say that The Flood deserves 4 stars. It may very well deserve 5, but as reading The Flood kicked off a super McDowell Blackwater mega-read-a-thon, from which I am still recovering, I can no longer distinguish one book from another. (This is a testament of course to the strength of the first book and the series, but we'll get to that). My second caveat? This is the only review of the series I am posting since I figure that either you read ...more
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
Who is Elinor Dammert?...

In 1919 the town of Perdido, Alabama floods and the residents must evacuate to higher ground. On one of the last boat trips out to make sure everyone has reached safety, Oscar Caskey & his servant Bray come across Elinor Dammert in a flooded out building. No one is sure how she got there or where she came from but she inserts herself into the town and the wealthy Caskey family with ease...
I knew after I read The Elementals that I just had to read more of McDowell's
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Last year I went on a Micheal McDowell tear and re-purchased the Blackwater series. Long ago silly me offered the series to a friend who moved and never returned them.

This a brilliant series blending horror, mystery, romance, hatred and power with plenty of weirdness and wonder. And water. Water is a real character, silent, deadly and hungry.

This time I am not lending out the books.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly quiet, with more of a brooding sense of watery dread than outright horror, this is for the horror readers with patience for a tale told across generations, built on the backs of strong characters and a beautifully drawn sense of place, rather than anything resembling a fast-moving plot. And yet... and yet. There's real horror beneath the placid surface. The tone is set early as you realize just what it is that occupies the heart of this tale... but as the townspeople come to accept ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed this book it was a little slower than what I would have liked. One of my main problems is Elinor...she isn’t written like the rest of the characters and up until the end seems just one dimensional, it may be on purpose to make her seem more mysterious but I would have liked to see a little more from her than what was given especially after poor Buster.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The 80's had many wonderful things. But whenever I get nostalgic, I don't think about portable cassette players. No: family sagas. That was the shit. I spent half my childhood reading these florid tales of fortune and misfortune, and watching anachronistic television mini-series. Quality was not an issue. Sadly, my tastes have matured, and now I would probably not find The Thorn Birds or War and Remembrance as enthralling as I used to. I will, however, always have a soft spot for the genre.

Roger Bailey
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror, suspense
I really did like this book, but at the end there was a major instance of frustration. There is a new school teacher in town and even though the townspeople don't know it, it is made clear to the reader that she is supernatural. What are the range of her powers? What are her motives? Those are questions the answers of which are not revealed and that gives us a sense of suspense. That suspense keeps the book a page turner throughout. But then there is a major problem at the end. Those questions a ...more
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Horror Aficionados : The Flood (Blackwater #1) 63 68 Sep 15, 2014 01:25PM  
Does anyone know how to get the complete series 2 18 Nov 09, 2012 04:01PM  
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Michael McDowell is a prolific horror writer who has distinguished himself with a varied body of work within the genre. He was born in Enterprise, Alabama, in 1950 and died of AIDS-related illness in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1999.

His first horror novel, The Amulet, relates the tragedies that befall various individuals who come in possession of a supernatural bracelet in a small town.

In McDowell'
More about Michael McDowell

Other books in the series

Blackwater (6 books)
  • The Levee (Blackwater, #2)
  • The House (Blackwater, #3)
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“That was the great misconception about men: because they dealt with money, because they could hire someone on and later fire him, because they alone filled state assemblies and were elected congressional representatives, everyone thought they had power. Yet all the hiring and firing, the land deals and the lumber contracts, the complicated process for putting through a constitutional amendment-these were only bluster. They were blinds to disguise the fact of men's real powerlessness in life. Men controlled the legislatures, but when it came down to it, they didn't control themselves. Men had failed to study their own minds sufficiently, and because of this failure they were at the mercy of fleeting passions; men, much more than women, were moved by petty jealousies and the desire for petty revenges. Because they enjoyed their enormous but superficial power, men had never been forced to know themselves the way that women, in their adversity and superficial subservience, had been forced to learn about the workings of their brains and their emotions.” 1 likes
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