Regular price: $27.99

Free with 30-day trial
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

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story.

Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman. It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it.

©2016 John Langan (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Shifting between past and present, Langan builds terrifying scenes...the mythology is genuinely creepy." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    104
  • 4 Stars
    61
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    116
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    94
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    7
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jim N
  • Chicago, IL
  • 04-20-17

The Horror of Loss

I wanted to love The Fisherman. It's been described as a literate "cosmic" (ie: Lovecraftian) horror novel and that sounded right up my alley. It gets off to a very strong start as we meet Abe and Dan, two men dealing with terrible loss who find solace together in fishing. Langan takes the time to develop these characters (particularly Abe) into people we care about. Unfortunately, just as that relationship is becoming interesting, the novel takes a left turn into a very long story within a story. It's important to the plot but the characters in this section of the book aren't as interesting or well-developed as Dan and Abe. Structurally, the story sets up what follows later but it consumes half of the novel, leaving it's main characters far behind and by the time the tale finally returns to them, it's too easy to see what's coming, making the remainder of the book somewhat anticlimactic.

There are some wonderful descriptive passages and there's no shortage of imagination. The story deals effectively with both powerful mythological concepts and human bereavement. It's a good book, certainly a cut above many of the less ambitious horror novels I've read but in the end, I think it's sabotaged a bit by it's own structure.

I'd give it 3.5 stars if that was an option.

Danny Campbell's narration is excellent.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Harrowing Novel by One of Horror's Modern Masters

Would you listen to The Fisherman again? Why?

The Fisherman unfolds like a story told by a grandfather during a storm or at a bar when the sea's too bad to catch anything. It only gets better with a second listen!

What did you like best about this story?

Langan's language is incredible.

Have you listened to any of Danny Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

n/a

If you could take any character from The Fisherman out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Abe--if only to hear the yarn from the man himself.

Any additional comments?

This Stoker Award-winning novel ushers in what will hopefully be the rise of the Weird Fiction Horror Novel. Let's hope it inspires Audible to produce his short fiction as audiobooks as well. I can't wait to hear The Wide, Carnivorous Sky!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Winded and boring

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

My three star rating of the performance probably is in due to the material. The material is written with two characters that have lost their wives so it's mainly from their two male perspectives. Not a lot of verbal variance in the tone here.

What could John Langan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

This is my first book from this author, and probably my last. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the story to take off, but it never did. When the two main characters meet and start fishing together they then learn of a body of water that has a mystery tied to it. At this point I was intrigued and I thought we were going to get going story wise. The problem is that you keep waiting and waiting and waiting and the story never takes off. The mystery is slowly resolved and exposed, but with little action or heightened heartbeat.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Danny Campbell?

I never judge narrators harshly and by that I mean less than three stars, because I blame the material. I totally understand that some audiobook listeners judge the Narrator more important. To each his own I understand. My wife for instance will stop listening to a book because of the narrator alone.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Maybe this novel should not be listed in the horror category? I'm a true horror fan and have a leaning toward apocalyptic type novels. The story to me was not so much about the main characters as the backstory. The backstory is 80% of the novel. Reading the synopsis is really kind of misleading in my opinion. If the backstory is 80%, is it really the backstory?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Story

Well written atmospheric horror story. Only flaw is a long interlude in the middle that is actually a stand alone story itself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

If Poe or Lovecraft were still around...

They'd have this book on their shelf. Great balance of wierd and ordinary. The dream-like imagery and language showed a hint of "Dagon" or "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" with the language to match. As a fan of Lovecraftian prose, this hit the mark.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great slow burn horror book

Slow burn horror with a lovecraftian twist. Fantastic narration tops of an existential take of terror. Recommended for horror fans

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • T.H.A.N.
  • PNW, Washington State
  • 05-07-17

An instant classic...

Hands down, the best audio book I've ever heard. 1st one I've ever shared, absolutely fantastic.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Beware The Fisherman!

John Langan’s The Fisherman was a frightfully good read! Who would have thought something as simple as fishing could spin such a delightfully wicked story? Langan sets the scene by introducing the narrator and his fishing buddy, Dan. He spends a considerable amount of time laying the foundations for these two characters, but the payoff is definitely worth it. By the time you become familiar with these two men and their fishing excursions, Langan drops The Fisherman folklore on you and it’s a wild ride throughout the rest of the book. I loved this story because it took a new, fresh approach to the typical horror story and sucked me in with every passage. Danny Campbell was top-notch as the choice for this audio version and his voice was perfect for the narration. Excellent read/listen for any horror fan!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Possibly worst listen, ever

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It is not possible to turn this poorly written, ridiculous story into a positive listening experience.

What was most disappointing about John Langan’s story?

The story was insipid and the writing awful. Every description was over the top. Someone was so surprised, either, “she was afraid her head would spin off”, “she spilled her water all over her shirt”... Just awful writing. And the choice to use first person narrative eliminates all suspense.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader sounded like he was 90 and the folksy tone didn’t help.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger that I wasted a credit on it. Wish it was “one that got away”.

Any additional comments?

Don’t bother. Terrible book

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The best piece of literary horror in years

John Langan's second novel, "The Fisherman," is unquestionably the most criminally underrated & ahead of its time genre masterpiece I've read in my life.

Not since the 1980's, when Malcolm McDowell's, "The Elementals," was first published - and for decades overlooked and ignored - has there been something in this genre so powerful. It took Langan over 12 years of constant writing to compete this work, which makes sense for those who've read it and can understand how hard it must have been to craft a multilayered narrative - and he makes it look so easy, which is even more impressive.

At the center of this book's various merits is a damn good story. Well, there are a lot of them in this story, but we are guided by an immediately-lovable narrator, Abe, who plays us like a fiddle, (which I guess John Langan is responsible for as Abe is a fictional character haha). But all of our fears, emotions, and piqued curiosities surface at some point in this novel, and it's when they do, and in how Langan is able to hook you in whenever he wants that extra attention, some suggestion of danger, or whatever suits the story's best interest - this is when he really shines as an author.

I cannot find words that would begin to explain how brilliantly crafted this novel is, and I've been trying to write a review for this book for months now but finally have given up on making this review as positive as it should be since there are statements I can make that begin to convey all the ways in which this novel keeps you in a state of shock as you read it. In shock because of how great the writing is, and then how impossibly addictive the story is able to be from cover to cover.

In the first handful of pages, you basically get a literature-version of the opening 10 minutes from Pixar's gut-wrenching film, "Up." No joke. We all cried like babies and saw a story with hardly any dialogue in about 10 minutes of that film, and that quality of storytelling is what you get from start to finish here. The first chapter or so is getting to know the narrator, a man you will at once feel for - like a grandfather you never had or something.

"How can a book about fishing being either interesting or scary?"

I was asked this question at dinner when recommending this novel to my friend recently. After the meal was over, she was speechless, as I gave her an overview of the novel since she wouldn't have read it anyway due to her fear or the horror genre in general. So just trust me that while this book talks A LOT about fishing, you don't need to like, care, or know the first thing about fishing to understand what happens, and you will be scared as hell - I promise you that.

This one is probably MY favorite and highest rated novel in the horror genre, as well as the weird fiction/occult subgenre of literary fiction. I love authors like Laird Barron, Adam Nevill, and Philip Fracassi - the ones who are known for being the masters of their craft. So I say with great confidence that Jonn Langan's work in this novel is up there with the quality and efficiency when it comes to cranking up (and sustaining for a ridiculous amount of time!) the dread. The anxiety and panic come on first, and those are easy to cope with if you're an avid horror fan, but then the novel starts wearing your mental guard down like a boxer taking you to the 12th round....by the end of it all, it's as though you've been psychologically broken and you will never see the world the same again.

I want to reiterate that I read this book well over 6 months ago, and it's as fresh, as potent and effectively haunting after all this time has passed. I've read dozens of other novels since this one, some were great and many are award winning debuts of short story collections etc., but none have stayed on my mind like this one. I've woken up in the night and been compelled to re-read certain chapters of this book, for reasons I can't explain other than I wanted to experience it again simply due to how magnificent written it all is.

You will cry. You will not likely he scared WHILE reading this novel as often as any other horror novel. It doesn't use that kind of approach, but rather it sinks it's line into your mind, and reels you deeper into the black void of an ocean, in a world or universe that can't exist, but still does, no matter whether it SHOULD, it's there, underneath our world. And if you can access it, which some same is possible at points in our world that are hard to find, you can in theory get what you desire most, no matter how impossible it sounds, things work different over there so you can maybe get to see your deceased children again - for example...no tricks, not a devilish villain in this tricking people into wishing for things and then granting some lame version with a catch or whatever. No, no.

Dutchman's Creek is where Der Fischer turned a town upside down with such knowledge back in the 1800s...and Abe would LOVE to tell you all about this mystery mage, and his own deceased wife, his friend that is also a widower, and how they all shared an experience that Abe somehow survived long enough to relate to us, the readers.

Hope you bite, but don't think that you'll be let go once you've let Langan set his lines on you...once you pick up the book, you're his - and that's a wonderful privilege.