Catfish Lullaby, by A.C. Wise

Review copy provided by Broken Eye Books. Also the author has become a convention buddy of mine.

This novella is an incredibly fast read for something this creepy and dark. I started reading it in the waiting room for a doctor’s appointment, and…it’s not the pulse-pounding raise-your-blood-pressure kind of dark fantasy. It’s the creeping-chill kind of dark fantasy, the kind that won’t show up on any monitors but will stick with you.

So. This is very Southern Gothic kind of dark fantasy, which the title is not trying to keep from you in the slightest. The title is very, very accurate in that regard. As with a lot of the best in Southern lit, there’s a lot of time and generations, there’s complicated history that people only know parts of at any given time, and there’s…dark and swampy stuff going on. Literally this time. Literal dark and swampy creepy stuff that the protagonist has to unravel if the people he cares about have any chance of making it through in one piece.

Gotta tell you the odds do not look great at several points in this, and it’s dark fantasy, so I’m not going to tell you what the survival rate is. Just…lots of bayou stuff and lots of family history, and some people who make their own families caring about each other and sticking by each other through some unimaginably dark times. Good stuff, though very far outside my usual.

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