The Fisherman is a 2016 horror novel by John Langan. This turns fishing into an entirely different enterprise -a dangerous activity that must be undertaken with care, or at least in places known to be safe. It's a story of loss and coping and obsession and how wanting a thing can lead to tragedy. Women are motivating characters here but not real people for plot purposes. This is a man's tale, and everything is centered on how a man sees things and reacts. I found it engrossing.
from the back of the book:
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.The New York Journal of Books calls it "profound" and says,
At times, the novel calls upon the spookier elements of classic horror authors such as M. R. James, Ambrose Bierce, and H. P. Lovecraft. There are Moby-Dick like instances of seafaring tension and wonder. And the novel’s Russian nesting doll-like narrative structure is reminiscent at times of Frankenstein, layering tales within tales.The New York Times calls it "superb" and says, "Langan writes elegant prose, and the novel’s rolling, unpredictable flow has a distinctive rhythm, the rise and fall of its characters’ real grief. These fishermen are restless men, immobilized but never truly at peace." Publishers Weekly has a less positive review.
There are so many rich descriptions in everything from the novel’s various Catskill settings to many a character’s physique. The reader can practically smell the humid air, can hear the gurgle of running water ... and feel cold, wet flesh beneath their fingertips.