Regular price: $29.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919. On the surface, Elinor is gracious, charming, anxious to belong in Perdido, and eager to marry Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of Perdido's first family. But her beautiful exterior hides a shocking secret. Beneath the waters of the Perdido River, she turns into something terrifying, a creature whispered about in stories that have chilled the residents of Perdido for generations. Some of those who observe her rituals in the river will never be seen again....

Originally published as a series of six volumes in 1983, Blackwater is the crowning achievement of Michael McDowell, author of the Southern Gothic classics Cold Moon Over Babylon and The Elementals and screenwriter of Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. This first-ever one-volume edition will allow a new generation of listeners to discover this modern horror classic.

©1983, 2017 Michael McDowell (P)2017 Valancourt Books LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    950
  • 4 Stars
    330
  • 3 Stars
    106
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    24

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,082
  • 4 Stars
    191
  • 3 Stars
    49
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    9

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    866
  • 4 Stars
    288
  • 3 Stars
    121
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    30
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A 6 Star Worthy Epic!

Just wow. This story encompasses so much I would completely fail at an adequate synopsis of any kind. First though, narration. Matt Godfrey has made my list of top 5 best narrators. I would happily purchase anything read by him as I believe he could make even the most intolerable writing sound amazing. His characters are so distinct. I just loved hearing the way he read James and Queenie in particular. Yes. This is 30 hours long. But it isn’t a grueling day to day account. The story spans decades and sometimes years pass in chunks. I was never bored or felt like the story was tedious in any way. I loved every minute. Each character is incredibly unique and I enjoyed getting to know them. I am typically a fan of horror/creepy type novels. This one satisfies some part of that but not to a great extent. There are some somewhat gruesome descriptions but they are few. Mostly I was happily drawn into the Caskey family and was sorry when it all came to an end. If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would.

72 of 74 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • r.
  • 12-20-17

Excellent

If Steven King had written Fried Green Tomatoes, it might have gone something like this. Loved it!

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastically horrifying!

Beautifully written. A wonderfully ghostly mystery. Poetic in its meticulously researched dialog of the era and absolutely terrifying.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Epic Family Saga

At first the narrator put me off this book. Because it was written by one of my top 2 authors, I pushed through. I'm so glad I did. I absolutely loved the character development. So in depth that I became completely invested in each individual's story. The story had me totally enraptured from front to back. There are SO many facets to this thing that I'd be remiss to TRY to begin to tell. USE YOUR CREDIT HERE!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely PHENOMENAL!

Blackwater: The Complete Saga on audio is absolutely phenomenal! Phenomenal! That's right, it's so good, it deserves two PHENOMENALS.

First-about the book itself. Michael McDowell was a force to be reckoned with as far as writing about family dynamics. If you've read The Elementals, Gilded Needles, or Cold Moon over Babylon, (and if you haven't you SHOULD), you already know that McDowell writes about families like no one else. Now imagine those books expanded to cover several generations of one family, in this case The Caskeys, and you might have an inkling of how great a work of literature, (that's right, I'm calling it literature), Blackwater really is.

Starting with a huge flood in Perdido, Alabama and a mysterious woman found in a partially flooded hotel and ending with another flood in the same town, there is a symmetry here not often found in horror fiction. Perhaps it's because Blackwater isn't really a horror novel, (or series of novels, as it was originally released back in the 80's), at all. I would describe it more as a Southern Gothic soap opera or family saga, with supernatural and horrific elements.

One of the things I adore about McDowell, and there are many of them, (click http://charlene.booklikes.com/post/13... for my essay on McDowell's work), is how he treats horrifying supernatural events as if they were no big deal. Somehow, the way he does that makes the event even more horrifying, if that makes any sense.

Of course, as I mentioned above, McDowell writes family dynamics like no one else and this book proves it. Throughout generations even, McDowell is at the top of his game writing about this family with its rich men and domineering women. Being from Alabama himself, the authenticity of the family's bearing and standing in their community of Perdido is never in doubt. His insights into human behavior are unmatched and beautifully written-without fail. Here's a quote from the first book of this novel,The Flood, (which takes place in the early 1920's):

"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."


I could go on and on about McDowell, as many of you already know, but now I'd like to address the narration of this story by Alabama native Matt Godfrey.

I just don't have the words to describe how McDowell's words, combined with Godfrey's narration, made me feel. Together, they made a great work even greater. Godfrey's voicing was so true to the source material it made the Caskey voices come alive. ALIVE, I say! I laughed out loud many times, and I cried a few times too.

I most especially adored his voicing of James and of Oscar. Don't get me wrong, I loved these characters back when I first read the books a few years ago; but with Matt's voice attached to them, they became larger than life. It was easy for me to recognize who was talking just by the inflections and changes of tone. I've never listened to an audio book where it was easier for me to identify who was who, just by how the narrator voiced them. I've listened to a lot of audios over the last few years, and that's never happened to me-at least not in a book with as many characters as Blackwater. That's why I say now, with no reservations, that this is the BEST audiobook I've ever read. PERIOD.

I hope that I've convinced you to give this audio a try by giving it my HIGHEST recommendation. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you do give it a go.

You can get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07...

*I received this audiobook free, from the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **Further, I consider Matt Godfrey a friend, even thought we've never met, but this review IS my honest opinion.**

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • s
  • 01-26-18

Just finished Blackwater...

“Damn, that was awesome.”
Excellent narration,
excellent character development,
excellent undertones of supernatural entwined in the story. And above all, it’s an interesting description of a Southern family making its way through four generations in the early to mid 1900s. Enjoyed every moment.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

It's *One of Those*

Hopefully, all of us are familiar with those great surprise novels that we stumble upon, work into slowly, then wish it would never end. Even with a favorite author, there are works we might not love as much as the one that put that author on our top shelf. McDowell was one of those authors that I stumbled upon while searching deeply into reviews here on Audible. Before Blackwater, I'd read a couple of this author's books and thought they were comfortably entertaining -- nothing spectacular on the level of hardcore horror that scars you for life, but solidly above the middle-grounders in a genre that I either love or hate, depending on the novel. Before researching the author a bit, I was convinced he was a Writer, a man that knew how to create atmosphere and lay down a good ghosty story that leaves you looking at the world a little differently, maybe even a little suspiciously--over your shoulder.

Blackwater: TCS is a multigenerational family saga, the kind you work your way into and feel like you know the clan; you watch them grow up, stumble, succeed, you care about them or dispise them. This was a slow start for me, but I have never spent 30 hours with a book that I enjoyed so much once I was hooked. It begins ominously, at the turn of the 20th century after the Perdido River has flooded the entire Alabama town named for the muddy red river. Were you to read the book, an *Introduction* provided would tell you: [quote]*it is the story of how a river monster disguised herself as a woman and married into that family (the wealthy Caskey family), eventually becoming its matriarch, and guiding its varied members to their fates, for good and for ill.*
About the *horror* element -- this is horror like Toni Morrison's *Beloved* was horror. A better genre to squeeze this into would be Southern Gothic, Magical Realism, or Speculative Fiction. McDowell has been praised by authors such as Peter Straub, Anne Rice, and Stephen King, the latter stating that McDowell was one of the "finest writers of paperback originals in America today” and one of the most underrated authors of horror. It was this compilation of McDowell's six Caskey Family novellas that inspired King to write books in the serialized format (The Green Mile, The Tower). King's wife Tabitha completed McDowell's novel Candles Burning (2006) after McDowell's death in 1999. If you decide to look into this Alabama-born author's very original work and writings, you'll find he wrote the screenplay for some popular movies (Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Thinner, Tales From the Darkside, etc.) and that he collaborated with Hitchcock, Stephen King, among others, before his death at the age of 49.

In my opinion, Blackwater is McDowell's crowning achievement. It is rich with the feel of a small southern town situated along the banks of a dark and moody river. Like a vein pumping life or death into the people that rely on its waters, the old river is alive and knows what lies in the hearts and souls of the citizens of Perdido. I'm glad I had not read the *Introduction* provided in the print copy of this book, and that I found out about the *river monster* as I listened. SHE is first sighted sitting primly in a flooded and abandoned hotel lobby, mysteriously composed and ambiguous. Her red hair is the color of the Perdido mud still stirred into the water around her knees. Like a cross between Disney's Ariel and one of the mythological mermaids froms old sailor's stories, you will sense that Elinor is immediately a beautiful but dangerous siren with the Perdido water coursing through her veins. She is a force of nature herself, a creature of logic instead of conscience, that straddles how we define good and evil. Had McDowell lived longer, I believe he would have returned to the eternal Perdido river, that he had more stories to dredge up from that muddy swift water that flowed into bottomless whirlpools and never gave up its dead.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • coreybeth
  • Cincinnati, OH, United States
  • 10-24-17

Best book I've read in a long while!

Wow! Awesome story....VERY character driven. The "monster" is subtle and you're on pins & needles wondering whether it will in deed finally gain control. It's a generational saga and EVERY character is well developed & believable! Spooky parts peppered throughout but the "family" is definitely the main character in this story! I don't want to spoil the fun but I'm confused with a few parts. The creatures are born looking like creatures & quickly change to humans yet one grand daughter creature was thrown into the river lovingly never to be spoken of again. why not keep her too? It starts in the early 1900's in Alabama.and follows the generations through the years. I like how the deceased family members are still spoken of. Alot of times it's as if they had never been in the story at all. Overall it is a GREAT story! I'm not even finished yet. Back to Eleanor and the Casky clan.............

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tawney
  • Dash Point, WA, United States
  • 12-04-17

narrator is a genius!

what a fun listen! I was glued from start to finish. where has this been?

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this book!

If you could sum up Blackwater: The Complete Saga in three words, what would they be?

Mysterious, Wealthy, Southerners

What other book might you compare Blackwater: The Complete Saga to and why?

Downton Abbey of the South

What about Matt Godfrey’s performance did you like?

An excellent performance of the various characters.

Who was the most memorable character of Blackwater: The Complete Saga and why?

The widower uncle.

Any additional comments?

I loved it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David brine
  • 03-22-18

outstanding a true classic in the making

absolutely amazing one of those rare books that has you feeling gutted when it finishes considering it was wrote in 1984 can't understand why it's never been made into a movie

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul McLernon
  • 02-28-18

Exceptional!!

had never heard of this book before, but decided to give it a go...was mesmerized from start to finish, and quite amused in parts!! fantastic story and superb narration... highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Farniboy
  • 02-15-18

A Supernatural To Kill A Mockingbird.

This book is an oddity. Its the history of an extended family, the Caskeys, and the Alabama town of Perdido that they live in, over a period of 60 years. In the 80's this book was released as a series of books that have been collected and released as a single volume. I was an avid horror reader back in the day and I've never heard of the books but with a recommendation by Stephen King I took a punt. There are some great characters (like To Kill a Mockingbird.) and interesting situations, punctuated by moments of real horror.

I think this will be a marmite book. You will love it, or hate it. It maybe a little to leisurely for some people but I loved it and a thirty hour listen for a credit, is always worth investing in.

A good narration of literally hundreds of characters by Matt Godfrey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-18

story of monsters

A simple tale of monsters both human and none human. interesting period and fantastic descriptions throughout. longwinded for not alot but you definitely grow attached to the characters.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Wendy Unsworth
  • 06-20-18

Well told but too long

Oh my goodness! Reading other reviews I see I am in a minority who found this story far too drawn out. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it. As I came to the last chapter I was actually sorry, on one hand, to say goodbye to the Caskey family and yet, on the other, quite relieved!
A saga, of course, is a saga and not a short story and I see that this was originally published in several parts. Perhaps, had I listened to the book in parts (an Audible book magnificently narrated by Matt Godfrey) instead of going straight through, I would have found it less daunting.
About the story: It opens after a devastating flood has inundated the town of Perdido, Alabama. No one has completely escaped the fury, not even the wealthy Caskey family. During the aftermath, a woman, Elinor Dammert, is found stranded in a hotel room and is taken in by the family.
And so the saga begins…
It’s part family history, part horror, though, apart from a few key moments the horror is very low key.
It quickly becomes clear that Elinor is not the stranded newcomer in need of shelter that she claims to be and she does indeed prove to be the central figure in this complex cast of characters. Her motivations were less clear. The survival of her species? She certainly is also capable of very human traits like revenge.

The Caskey’s unremitting wealth despite many family members being either too disinterested or simply incapable of contributing to the business was, at times, hard to believe. The way in which certain actions and attitudes were explained also left me wide eyed. However, the sheer scale of the story was impressive and the characters finely drawn.
Although I did not know this author before, I see he wrote other well received works and I am tempted to try another in the future.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ms Claire Stokoe
  • 05-23-18

Epic family history and horror tale

Such an enjoyable book, superbly read .. really worth a download. The charaters are so well written and you follow them like old friends through the years

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Francis
  • 05-15-18

Oh, I just loved this saga!!!

Started listening with mixed feelings but as I got into the book, I could not put it down, such a fascinating story line. I loved the length of the saga which gave me a good couple of weeks of pleasure. Adored the accent of the narrator which enhanced to story no end. So sad to have finished it and am on my second listen!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 05-07-18

Superb

Description doesn't do it justice - go with the flow and immerse yourself in this saga.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-18

Wonderful escape

Thoroughly enjoyed this book with the highs and lows, the ebbs and flows of the caskey family. Enjoyed every minute of their history and was sad when it ended. Will have to revisit this in the near future. Very well written mix of soap and horror. Well worth the read. Narrator was fantastic also considering the amount of characters to cover well done.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • poshdog
  • 05-02-18

Dynastic saga rather than horror

Thoroughly enjoyed this but I had expected a horror story set in the deep south. This is a tale of the birth of a dynasty with occasional hints and nods to something darker.