Book Review: The Fisherman

By John Langan

The Fisherman is a story about two men, two worlds, and what really lives beneath the water. It begins with Abe and Dan who have both recently suffered a tragic loss. This brings them together initially and a fondness for fishing quickly cements together their relationship. Soon enough, each weekend begins the same way. Both men wake up as early as possible, drive upstate to the Catskills, cast their line at the crack of dawn and pull it up at the last light of dusk.

Everything quickly takes a hard, dark turn one rainy morning. Abe and Dan listen to a cook’s horrific tale about a local stream called Dutchman’s Creek while they wait for the storm to pass. The stream itself is barely visible on the map but more folks have drowned or gone missing there than seems reasonable. Worse yet, those who have come back report sightings of lost loved ones. Naturally, for two men with recent losses, Dutchman’s Creek piques their interest. The rest of the book proves how powerful a desire to get back the ones you love can be – in this world and beyond.

Throughout the book, Langan wades deeper and deeper into his horror-filled story of dark magic, necromancy, and murder. His writing benefits greatly from a deep knowledge of the Catskills and also by being tied tightly together through the single main theme of fishing. Throughout the book, I never felt bored. The descriptions and action are quick and precise which keeps the book short and enjoyable. Overall, Langan does a great job of hooking the reader and reeling them in.

My biggest issue with the book is the shoddy editing. The version I bought and read is riddled with small but distracting spelling mistakes. Also, at times, back-to-back sentences would contradict each other. These left me a little boggled and, in one moment in particular, completely derailed me from the story. Hopefully someone picks this up and takes the time to go through and fix these mistakes because the book deserves better.

That said, the book was great. We picked it up on a friend’s recommendation. Here I am, still grappling with the choices some of the characters made. And the ending, which I find to be the hardest part of a book to please me, was fantastic. Go get it and read it and leave a comment with your thoughts.

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