I had a work trip coming up recently and wanted to bring a good horror novel along with me. A lot of my reading as of late had been nonfiction, and I was really looking for some good, Lovecraftian horror to immerse myself in. I did a little research, and one book in particular popped up in a few different places–The Fisherman by John Langan.
So, I took a chance, and picked up what turned out to be the best Lovecraftian horror (and one of the best horror novels, period) that I have read in years. Langan perfectly captures the mounting dread of a good Lovecraft story, and the imagery he conjures is as cosmically terrifying as anything I’ve ever read.
The Fisherman begins as a tale of two men who have both lost the people closest to them. Abe lost his wife to cancer, and Dan lost his entire family to a tragic car accident. They form a friendship around fishing, which is a therapeutic exercise for both of them. One day, Dan tells Abe about a remote fishing spot he wants to try called Dutchman’s Creek, though he’s cagey about how he found out about it, and why he wants to go there so badly.
Without getting too spilery, let’s just say Dutchman’s Creek is no ordinary fishing spot.
The places Langan takes this story made me so, so happy as a horror reader and writer. He’s the kind of writer that just operates on a different level. His character development is amazing and his descriptions spring to life in your mind. But even more impressive is his ability to build toward–and then pay off–truly terrifying moments. There is a scale to a good Lovecraftian story that is very difficult to manage effectively, and Langan manages it perfectly.
Seriously, I cannot say enough about how much I loved this book. It’s the kind of story that reminds you why you love reading horror, and as a writer I wanted to take it apart and examine it to see what I could learn from it.
You can get The Fisherman on Amazon here.