Davidson (In the Valley of the Sun) immerses the reader in ethereal horror in this macabre contemporary thriller set in the swamps of the deep American South. Ever since Miranda Crabtree’s father died when she was 14, she’s managed to get by as a smuggler ferrying contraband through the Prosper River bayou for deranged preacher Billy Cotton. Now 21, Miranda learns that Cotton and his dwindling band of followers are planning to sacrifice his young daughter, Littlefish, who possesses the gift of “the sight,” to the darkness of the swamp, testing Miranda’s resolve to keep her head down and mind her own business. As otherworldly threats mount in the bayou, Miranda turns to an old witch named Iskra for help protecting Littlefish from her unhinged father. Miranda’s anxiety and indecision are expertly rendered, as is her love for the people she cares about. With fluid prose and nimble worldbuilding Davidson brings his eerie swamps to life. Fans of the supernatural will savor the slow-burning tension of this heady, atmospheric Southern gothic. (Feb.)
*A Most Anticipated Book of 2020 at The Chicago Review of Books, LitReactor, and Books in the Freezer
“What if I told you there was a gorgeously written novel that mixed Southern Gothic à la Flannery O’Connor, backwoods noir, and the mythic imagination of Clive Barker? Go read Andy Davidson’s lush nightmare, The Boatman’s Daughter. It put an arrow through my head and heart.”
Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts
"An inverted fairytale . . . [Andy Davidson is] an extremely talented writer who goes beyond the boundaries of genres to deliver a gripping tale."
"The remote Arkansas bayou is a swirling kaleidoscope of murder, greed, and dark, ancient magic . . . Davidson's captivating horror fable combines the visceral violence of Cormac McCarthy with his own wholly original craftsmanship, weaving rich, folkloric magic with the best elements of a gritty Southern thriller. The book's lightning-fast pace doesn't come at the expense of fully realized, flawed, and achingly human characters. Ample bloodshed is offset by beautiful prose . . . A stunning supernatural Southern Gothic."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The Boatman’s Daughter is a beautifully written Gothic chiller that will draw you in and hold you tight. Wild and wonderfula sentence-by-sentence delight.”
Michael Koryta, author of How It Happened
"Davidson's latest is another hauntingly lyrical story that draws readers in with complicated characters and a foreboding setting. Davidson's style is restrained, with a slow burn that explodes at the novel’s midpoint, making room for the plot to breathe and unravel toward the satisfying conclusion. This horror novel can claim its rightful place alongside new Southern Gothics like Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017), Daniel Woodrell's Winter’s Bone (2006), and Wiley Cash's A Land More Kind Than Home (2012)."
Becky Spratford, Booklist
"The Boatman's Daughter is a greasy, magical Southern Gothic fable. Davidson pens a vivid backdrop for his colorful characters to come alive and draw the reader into an eerie supernatural thriller."
Sadie Hartman, Mother Horror
“Andy Davidson’s bone-cracking Southern Gothic, The Boatman’s Daughter, is a noir thriller dipped in the dark mud of the bayou, packed with witches, demons, and gods. I was entangled in the dense roots of the story and the rich, aromatic prose from page one. A riveting, powerful, bloody ride you’ll never want to leave, despite the dangers within.”
Philip Fracassi, author of Behold the Void
"[Andy] Davidson immerses the reader in ethereal horror in this macabre contemporary thriller set in the swamps of the deep American South . . . With fluid prose and nimble worldbuilding Davidson brings his eerie swamps to life. Fans of the supernatural will savor the slow-burning tension of this heady, atmospheric Southern Gothic."
“This is the second novel I’ve read by Andy Davidson, which is to say that I have now visited two dark, well-realized southern landscapes full of interesting antagonists and cool set pieces. This author’s greatest strength is placehe takes you there. You can almost smell the flora in the marsh, feel the planks of the rough-built structures under your bare feet. The Boatman’s Daughter is a supernatural cousin to Daniel Woodrell’s gritty Ozarks thrillers; a sensual wetlands fable rich in sensory detail and replete with Slavic folklore.”
Christopher Buehlman, author of The Suicide Motor Club
“The Boatman’s Daughtera beautiful and brutal Southern Gothic that enchants and horrifies and hits like a wrecking ball from its opening pagesis fantastic in every sense of the word. Fans of Lansdale, Piccirilli, and McCarthy will dig this wholeheartedly, though the alchemy and magic here are Davidson’s own and mark him as a major voice in modern dark fiction.”
Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Entropy in Bloom and Skullcrack City
The remote Arkansas bayou is a swirling kaleidoscope of murder, greed, and dark, ancient magic in Bram Stoker Award finalist Davidson's second novel (In the Valley of the Sun, 2017).
The rotting Holy Day Church and Sabbath House, where the preacher Billy Cotton held his congregants in his thrall, serves as a painful reminder to 21-year-old Miranda Crabtree of the night 10 years ago when she and her father, Hiram, the boatman, took the midwife (and witch) Iskra there to deliver Cotton's son. As soon as Cotton laid eyes on the infant's mottled, scaly skin and webbed hands, he called him an abomination and tried to kill him. Iskra had other ideas, and the baby, whom Miranda called Littlefish, survived. But Hiram disappeared that night, and she's since dreamed of finding his body (because he's surely dead) and laying him to rest. It's Miranda's love for the mute, goodhearted Littlefish that has kept her going, and with Iskra's help, she's spent years running her father's general store and eventually running dope for Cotton and his cruel and corrupt deputy, Charlie Riddle, to make ends meet. Now, Billy Cotton's kingdom has crumbled around him and his body is riddled with cancer. Before dying, he's desperate to appease the angry ghost of his wife, who died in childbirth, but he'll need a sacrifice. On Miranda's last run for Riddle, she's ordered to deliver a young girl to Cotton, which she's not about to do even though she knows her refusal will start a war she might not survive. But she's ready, and the time for a reckoning has come. Davidson's captivating horror fable combines the visceral violence of Cormac McCarthy with his own wholly original craftsmanship, weaving rich, folkloric magic with the best elements of a gritty Southern thriller. The book's lightning-fast pace doesn't come at the expense of fully realized, flawed, and achingly human characters. Ample bloodshed is offset by beautiful prose, and the bad guys are really, really bad. Luckily, Miranda, a young woman forged in hardship and grief and buoyed by her love of a very special child, is a perfect foil for the evil she'll have to face.
A stunning supernatural Southern gothic.