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.
Shifting between past and present, Langan (House of Windows) builds terrifying scenes, but this fish tale ultimately gets bogged down in a story within a story set in the wilds of upstate New York. Coworkers Dan and Abe have both lost their wives, and Abe has found comfort in fishing. He eventually asks Dan to go with him, beginning a tentative friendship. When Dan suggests they head to Dutchman's Creek one day, they're warned off by a man named Howard who spins a tale of terror that Abe and Dan find unlikely at best. At first, Abe (who narrates) and Dan seem to be the book's focus, yet the tale that Howard tells takes up the most pages. Although the mythology is genuinely creepy, it suffers from meandering prose and overshadows the equally intriguing friendship between the two men. A deliciously dark conclusion only partially redeems this waterlogged effort.
This book was amazing! Highly recommend if you’re a fan of dark fantasy.