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Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm. But dark forces are at work in the bayou, And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm. But dark forces are at work in the bayou, And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda on a desperate, dangerous path, forcing her to consider what she is willing to sacrifice to keep her loved ones safe.


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Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm. But dark forces are at work in the bayou, And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm. But dark forces are at work in the bayou, And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda on a desperate, dangerous path, forcing her to consider what she is willing to sacrifice to keep her loved ones safe.

30 review for The Boatman's Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I never would have read this book if it hadn't been on Netgalley. And that would have been a damned shame. This story is everything I dislike in a book. Too damned hot and swampy! Well, by the time I finished this book, I was thinking that living alone in this place would be great for me. Not near as great as someplace with icebergs, a huge picture window and a woodstove, but close! This story had atmosphere. I took it into my dreams at night. I didn't want to, but I'd fall asleep to the light of I never would have read this book if it hadn't been on Netgalley. And that would have been a damned shame. This story is everything I dislike in a book. Too damned hot and swampy! Well, by the time I finished this book, I was thinking that living alone in this place would be great for me. Not near as great as someplace with icebergs, a huge picture window and a woodstove, but close! This story had atmosphere. I took it into my dreams at night. I didn't want to, but I'd fall asleep to the light of it on my Kindle, and down we'd go! I loved these people! They were everything I would never want to know. But, here. In this book, they got me! This is one of those books that I will revisit again. Just because I will need to be in their company again. Mr. Davidson did an excellent job on building this tiny section of the world. I'll be reading more! My thanks to the publishers, the author and netgalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Char

    From the first harrowing scenes all the way until the bittersweet end, this book had me enthralled! Set along the rivers and bayous of Arkansas, this tale is about Miranda, and how she manages keeps her life afloat. Running drugs for the bad guys to help her support the local "witch" and the special boy the witch hides and cares for. Discarded and left for dead, this boy is very special indeed-and so is Miranda. A bow-hunting woman of the bayou, she is not to be taken lightly. The drug runners, f From the first harrowing scenes all the way until the bittersweet end, this book had me enthralled! Set along the rivers and bayous of Arkansas, this tale is about Miranda, and how she manages keeps her life afloat. Running drugs for the bad guys to help her support the local "witch" and the special boy the witch hides and cares for. Discarded and left for dead, this boy is very special indeed-and so is Miranda. A bow-hunting woman of the bayou, she is not to be taken lightly. The drug runners, featuring locals and bikers, a dwarf of man as their main grower, and a mad preacher man who basically does whatever he wants. Among these men, there is nothing considered taboo, and I mean nothing. Will Miranda, the witch and the boy be able to continue to survive and live life as they have been? You'll have to read this to find out! In addition to the characters I've already mentioned, I also need to highlight the hot and humid atmosphere. All the bug infested routes throughout the bayou, rivers and streams. The old homes near the river that aren't fully vacated, but are crumbling prey to the humidity, the mold, and the heat. The old mercantile that Miranda's father once owned, falling prey to dust and disuse after her father died. In my head I pictured all of this perfectly and as such, these locations became characters to me as well. I remain impressed with Andy Davidson's style of writing and how effortlessly he combines things like small town life, witches, Russian fairy tales and so on. He does it so deftly that I never questioned any of it. It just WAS. Davidson created people I feel for because they feel real. Then he put them all in danger and I found it difficult to pull myself away. I read his previous book IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN last year, and I knew I was on to something unique with this author. Now, with THE BOATMAN'S DAUGHTER I'm more sure than ever that Davidson is the real deal and I will sign up for anything he writes from here on out. Highly Recommended! Available everywhere tomorrow, but you can pre-order here: https://amzn.to/2ShAxoi *Thanks go out to the author who saw my desperate plea for an ARC and sent me one in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    Originally published at Cemetery Dance Feb. 5th https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/... Last year, if I talked about highly anticipated novels in 2020, The Boatman’s Daughter was at the top of my list. This is Bram Stoker Award finalist Andy Davidson’s second novel. His debut, In the Valley of the Sun (2017) was one of the best books I read last year. Sometimes when I love a book so much, I worry about the follow-up novel not meeting that high standard set by the predecessor. In the case of David Originally published at Cemetery Dance Feb. 5th https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/... Last year, if I talked about highly anticipated novels in 2020, The Boatman’s Daughter was at the top of my list. This is Bram Stoker Award finalist Andy Davidson’s second novel. His debut, In the Valley of the Sun (2017) was one of the best books I read last year. Sometimes when I love a book so much, I worry about the follow-up novel not meeting that high standard set by the predecessor. In the case of Davidson, there was not a doubt in my mind he would write something equally fantastic. 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. The protagonist, twenty-one year old Miranda Crabtree, wins your heart as she navigates the Bayou of the American South. She’s a smuggler, running goods on her ferry for an unstable employer and charismatic preacher named Billy Cotton. Cotton’s backstory reads like a Grimm fairytale; better left unspoken in a review in order to preserve reader discovery. Miranda encounters a variety of obstacles as she struggles to uphold moral integrity and appease her inner sense of justice in her chaotic environment. I absolutely love her. She is unpredictable and made some interesting choices along the way, but she was also relatable—acting on her emotions and disobeying orders from authority figures. Davidson’s storytelling voice is bewitching. The story has a magnetic hold on its audience—making it virtually impossible to stop turning the pages. I was amazed at the depth of character Davidson assigns to all the major players in this story. They all have unique voices, motivations and agendas adding a rich complexity to the story that is wildly entertaining. There is a strong visual imagery to his world building—the reader can “see” every scene play out in full color. Davidson employs descriptions of sight, textures, smells, sounds—anything in order to paint the picture vividly for the reader. It’s an immersive experience I won’t soon forget. Fans of supernatural, southern gothic horror should find this book completely satisfying. Andy Davidson is a master storyteller.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Latasha

    Rounded up from 3.5 This was one of my most highly anticipated reads for 2020. I love the title, the cover, the description of the book. Sadly it did not live up to the hype that i built for it. I wanted there to be more supernatural and folkloric elements to the story. Most of the horror was very much real world horror. Miranda, our leading lady, was ok but i really wanted to know more about Iska and the things that lived in the swamp and her bath house! The story was ok but it wasn't what i exp Rounded up from 3.5 This was one of my most highly anticipated reads for 2020. I love the title, the cover, the description of the book. Sadly it did not live up to the hype that i built for it. I wanted there to be more supernatural and folkloric elements to the story. Most of the horror was very much real world horror. Miranda, our leading lady, was ok but i really wanted to know more about Iska and the things that lived in the swamp and her bath house! The story was ok but it wasn't what i expected. By the 60% mark, i was ready for it to be over. The ending was nice, i felt everything had been tied up. Even though this one wasn't as great as i had hoped for, i would still read more by this author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

    Review will be published in the March/April Rue Morgue magazine Real quick: I loved every page. Davidson is magic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Rating: 10/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Boatman’s Daughter for review consideration. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel. An utterly enthralling southern gothic. When it comes to gorgeous prose, not many hold a candle. This oily black piece of supernatural fiction is going to stay with me. These are the words I tweeted out upon starting this novel and now hold even truer having finished it. Davidson’s sophomore novel Rating: 10/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Boatman’s Daughter for review consideration. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel. An utterly enthralling southern gothic. When it comes to gorgeous prose, not many hold a candle. This oily black piece of supernatural fiction is going to stay with me. These are the words I tweeted out upon starting this novel and now hold even truer having finished it. Davidson’s sophomore novel is one of the best pieces of horror fiction I have ever read. Its like ‘The Shape of Water’ meets Robert McCammon’s ‘Gone South’, but oh such much more. I knew when I put down ‘In The Valley of the Sun’ that Davidson was a special talent. His ability to not only write descriptive world-building, but completely immerse the reader in it is astounding. I could feel the humidity rising off the pages, the insects crawling over my arms, and my legs getting caught in the bog. I saw myself alongside Miranda Crabtree as she navigated the channels in her Jon Boat, cutting through the brush and undergrowth that blocked our paths. TBD doesn’t lack for characters with a story full of drug runners, an evil old preacher, a corrupt deputy, a witch, a special boy, and of course our bow-hunting girl of the hour. Every bit of the cast is given their own voice and become unique puzzle pieces to the ultimate climax, and with that comes some of the weirdest fiction I have come across that rivals that of Gaiman. Russian fairy tales mixed with the mysteriousness of the bayou is something to behold. Andy didn’t win a Bram Stoker Award for his debut. He looks like a shoo-in with this one. I cannot recommend The Boatman’s Daughter enough.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Ray

    Flowing and beautiful writing. I was swept along on this supernatural tale of Miranda, the extra-special boy she loves like a brother and the witch who took her in when she was young. She continued with the drug running setup that her father was doing,that took place on the Arkansas bayou. Don't underestimate her and the inherit strength she possesses. As you are swept along you encounter violent, beautiful and vicious characters that set you on edge, leave you in awe. The background and atmosph Flowing and beautiful writing. I was swept along on this supernatural tale of Miranda, the extra-special boy she loves like a brother and the witch who took her in when she was young. She continued with the drug running setup that her father was doing,that took place on the Arkansas bayou. Don't underestimate her and the inherit strength she possesses. As you are swept along you encounter violent, beautiful and vicious characters that set you on edge, leave you in awe. The background and atmosphere become characters that place you in this highly charged, mystical tale in which you can only slowly climb out of.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    Review to follow...

  9. 4 out of 5

    posthuman

    The compelling setting, original characters and gorgeous prose of The Boatman's Daughter portend its potential to be one of the great horror novels of the past few years, but on the whole it reads like an early draft that could use a hefty dollop of additional polish. I would like to support the bold risks taken in publishing a book like this, but it was more frustrating than enjoyable. A dark, swamp-water take on magical realism and Russian fairy tales clashes with rural drug dealers and pimps i The compelling setting, original characters and gorgeous prose of The Boatman's Daughter portend its potential to be one of the great horror novels of the past few years, but on the whole it reads like an early draft that could use a hefty dollop of additional polish. I would like to support the bold risks taken in publishing a book like this, but it was more frustrating than enjoyable. A dark, swamp-water take on magical realism and Russian fairy tales clashes with rural drug dealers and pimps in the backwoods of Arkansas. Miranda Crabtree loses her father during a storm, ferrying a witch across the bayou with a strange web-footed child in tow. Years later, she is a young woman earning a living by smuggling drugs in her father's boat while helping the witch raise the boy. When she makes her usual drop, instead of being paid with cash, in turn she is ordered to take back a severed head in a styrofoam cooler and then a young girl who has been drugged. Instead of doing as she's told, she brings the girl to the witch to draw out the poison, setting up a confrontation with the rest of the criminal organization: Charlie Riddle, a sadistic, crooked cop; John Avery, a perpetually stoned dwarf with a biracial newborn baby; a biker gang on the other side of the river; and Billy Cotton, the seemingly insane preacher who runs the entire operation as his church sits in ruins. This sounds like the setup for a riveting story, particularly with Davidson laying down breathtaking passages with vivid imagery: Miranda went into the trees at the top of the ridge behind the cabin and came out at the edge of the shallow gorge that cut through the island. Some dozen feet below the tree line, the gray and white striated rock curved above an emerald inlet, where tufts of sweet flag and purple-blooming spiderwort grew along the water’s edge. Unfortunately some critical problems get in the way of the narrative. These characters have interesting backstories, but they behave oddly, in ways that seem like an author pulling marionette strings to move them toward an arbitrary and unsatisfying climax, rather than people making believable choices. I didn't feel a connection with any of them for the first few chapters, and then when I finally started to care, they made irrational choices that no amount of descriptive imagery could atone for. There are nuggets of lush poetry in the author's prose, but the relentless, breathless pace is exhausting and distracts from the story at times. As the book progresses, the chapters get shorter and shorter in a frenetic rhythm. This technique worked in Max Porter's Lanny with snippets of dialogue that conveyed characterization, but here we don't linger on any character long enough to care about them. Lots of rambling descriptions of dreamlike visions that establish atmosphere and mood without contributing to the narrative. There is also a great deal of repetition that might work in a poem but makes The Boatman's Daughter feel unpolished.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie (That's What She Read)

    3.5ish I'm conflicted because I love Andy Davidson's writing style. The book had such an evocative setting and a gritty Southern gothic feel to it, but it lost me with all the fantasy elements. I know readers that enjoy fantasy and folklorish elements are going to connect to this one more than I did. I found the story a bit disorienting toward the end. I will definitely read his next book

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle // Certainly Lost

    The novel begins from the perspective of Miranda Crabtree, the eponymous boatman’s daughter, on the night that will alter the course of her life forever. She is only eleven when she accompanies her father and an old witch to the preacher’s house for the birth of his child. What was to be a routine delivery turns unspeakably dark, and her confusion and alarm throughout the rest of the night’s events are palpable. The introduction was appropriately gripping for a novel described as, “a supernatura The novel begins from the perspective of Miranda Crabtree, the eponymous boatman’s daughter, on the night that will alter the course of her life forever. She is only eleven when she accompanies her father and an old witch to the preacher’s house for the birth of his child. What was to be a routine delivery turns unspeakably dark, and her confusion and alarm throughout the rest of the night’s events are palpable. The introduction was appropriately gripping for a novel described as, “a supernatural thriller about a young woman facing down ancient forces in the depths of the bayou.” The story picks back up more than a decade later, where Miranda is now a young adult, ferrying contraband for the old preacher and his cronies in order to survive and protect those she cares about. We’re told that this job is coming to an end, as she has been promised that she just needs to do a few final runs before they’ll stop asking for her assistance. To be perfectly honest, the first half of this book is a slog. The book sinks under the weight of its dense prose and what is supposed to be mounting tension doesn’t feel like much of anything when the story is so slow to get rolling. It’s hard to care much about the characters for a while as well, as (aside from one notable exception), none are particularly endearing. They’re tired and worn out from their hard, unforgiving lives, and this weariness gets passed on to the reader. At about the midpoint, the novel begins to pick up the pace and get more interesting, as the final runs Miranda has been asked to make grow more and more dark. Even then, however, the pacing is nearly glacial and, while I cared more about some of the characters, the increasing sense of, “nothing is going to go right for these people, everything will likely continue to be horrible,” kept me from mustering up enough hope to be eager for the end. I simply felt resigned to it and found myself frequently checking the progress on my Kindle to see how much longer it would drag on. The slow pacing seemed very deliberate and designed to let the reader marinade in the tension and the humid heat of the bayou, but it just didn’t hit home for me. I can see why so many have praised it highly, but it just ended up not being my cup of tea. I felt that the rich, almost languid descriptions took away from the story and weighted it down heavily rather than drawing me into its world. The characters, while interesting in some ways, never felt fully developed and were hard to appreciate or care about. I would have loved to see more of the supernatural forces that were at play, but the true horror was in what the humans did to themselves and each other. The mythical forces felt tacked-on rather than an integral part of the story. Overall, I wouldn’t say that the novel was bad, but I was disappointed. I can see where it worked well for others and why so many reviewers loved it, but I just didn’t get the same impression from it. I’d give it a two out of five stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jen (LOHF/Book Den)

    I mentioned in my review of Where the Crawdads Sing earlier this year that five star reviews can be so hard for me to write sometimes. I don't always have the words to capture the "feeling" of what I'm reading. And that feeling is what I seek when I lose myself in a book. When I tagged The Boatman's Daughter as read on Goodreads, I posted in my review space "Eeek. This feels impossible to review right now." It still feels that way. After loving In the Valley of Sun so much, I was really looking f I mentioned in my review of Where the Crawdads Sing earlier this year that five star reviews can be so hard for me to write sometimes. I don't always have the words to capture the "feeling" of what I'm reading. And that feeling is what I seek when I lose myself in a book. When I tagged The Boatman's Daughter as read on Goodreads, I posted in my review space "Eeek. This feels impossible to review right now." It still feels that way. After loving In the Valley of Sun so much, I was really looking forward to reading The Boatman's Daughter and entering one of Davidson's worlds again. This time I was a more experienced reader and knew to slow down and savor what was inside. Davidson's books are an amazing mix of prose, setting, and character, and I highly recommend that you lose yourself in one of them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney)

    Andy Davidson knows how to write my darkest dreams! This is a story about Miranda, who is raised by a witch and makes runs through a swamp for a mad and dying Preacher to support a castaway child. It's got everything I ever want in a book. Archery, a misfit family, mad and outlandishly creepy villains, the occult, ancient demons, and is set in an untamed swamp overrun by kudzu. Yes yes yes. Not to mention the lush writing I was looking forward to after reading In the Valley of the Sun. I felt as Andy Davidson knows how to write my darkest dreams! This is a story about Miranda, who is raised by a witch and makes runs through a swamp for a mad and dying Preacher to support a castaway child. It's got everything I ever want in a book. Archery, a misfit family, mad and outlandishly creepy villains, the occult, ancient demons, and is set in an untamed swamp overrun by kudzu. Yes yes yes. Not to mention the lush writing I was looking forward to after reading In the Valley of the Sun. I felt as though there was not a spare word in place, everything was just as it should be to tell this story and the action never once let up.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I'm setting this one aside. I'm just in a weird reading place right now and I'm struggling to get into this one. I feel like not much has happened, and I haven't had it click for me yet.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    Miranda runs drugs in and out of the bayou, deals with wicked preachers and a corrupt sheriff in the only way she knows because since her father died she has only herself to depend on. She also takes care of a special boy who lives hidden away with a witch deep in the swamp. Soon another will need to be rescued and it will take every magic trick and survival skill Miranda knows to control this strange world and take care of those who are defenseless. The book feels very mysterious like a horror Miranda runs drugs in and out of the bayou, deals with wicked preachers and a corrupt sheriff in the only way she knows because since her father died she has only herself to depend on. She also takes care of a special boy who lives hidden away with a witch deep in the swamp. Soon another will need to be rescued and it will take every magic trick and survival skill Miranda knows to control this strange world and take care of those who are defenseless. The book feels very mysterious like a horror story mixed with Eastern European fairy tales. It is a look at innocence, special abilities and the darkness that dwells in some people's souls. It looks at religion and people in power and pits them against children that are treated like sacrificial lambs. Violence on every page but the author excels in painting a picture of this strange world that is so vivid you can almost feel the damp heavy earth and hear the song of the cicadas. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)

    This book pulled me in slowly and before I knew it I was halfway through and fully invested in this swamp of outcasts. The writing is lush and utterly descriptive; you hear the water sloshing and feel the heat from the Bayou. The characters are real and fascinating...a group of broken people just trying to get by as they plot their next move and end up caught in drug trade that turns sinister. I fell in love with one character in particular and was worried beyond belief on what would happen to the This book pulled me in slowly and before I knew it I was halfway through and fully invested in this swamp of outcasts. The writing is lush and utterly descriptive; you hear the water sloshing and feel the heat from the Bayou. The characters are real and fascinating...a group of broken people just trying to get by as they plot their next move and end up caught in drug trade that turns sinister. I fell in love with one character in particular and was worried beyond belief on what would happen to them. Thankful to report the ending is both mysterious and soothing. The Boatman's Daughter will kick you in the heart and mess with your head. It's a wonderful book that I don't know how to categorize...Horror with heart and a touch of fantasy. I'm sad it's over already 😭

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    In the publisher synopsis it likens this work of Andy Davidson’s to Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill. Usually when synopsis throws about names all willy-nilly, that is a big red flag of bullshit. It never even occurred to me that would be even close to accurate. And yet…it kind of was. Maybe. Doesn’t matter, though, because it was pretty darn good all on its own. It however came dangerously close to getting too fantasy for me here and there and then it would come around and I could settle back in. Nicel In the publisher synopsis it likens this work of Andy Davidson’s to Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill. Usually when synopsis throws about names all willy-nilly, that is a big red flag of bullshit. It never even occurred to me that would be even close to accurate. And yet…it kind of was. Maybe. Doesn’t matter, though, because it was pretty darn good all on its own. It however came dangerously close to getting too fantasy for me here and there and then it would come around and I could settle back in. Nicely done, Andy Davidson. No comparisons needed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shane Sullivan

    I had really high hopes for this book but was very disappointed. The writing is overly descriptive and every other sentence is a metaphor. It’s extremely slow moving (I had to listen to it at double speed, occasionally even triple speed). For me this book had an excellent premise with so much promise but was ultimately a complete bore.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meg Bleep

    DNF Wordy descriptions don't make writing good. Very little action, little characterization, and lack of tension left me disinterested. Decided not to force myself to continue.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Naomi V

    "I've sent devils to hell. I've dug graves for the bodies never buried and called things that crawled right out of the ground. I took the poison of a moccasin. I took the worst of the river and the worst of men. I took it all and I'm still alive." I was surprised by this one. I started reading expecting a story packed with horror and mythology. I mean, we get snippets of it, but I feel this is more of a crime/thriller novel with supernatural elements (not necessarily a bad thing, it's just not wh "I've sent devils to hell. I've dug graves for the bodies never buried and called things that crawled right out of the ground. I took the poison of a moccasin. I took the worst of the river and the worst of men. I took it all and I'm still alive." I was surprised by this one. I started reading expecting a story packed with horror and mythology. I mean, we get snippets of it, but I feel this is more of a crime/thriller novel with supernatural elements (not necessarily a bad thing, it's just not what I was expecting). Set in the swampy bayous of Arkansas, we are given the heart-rending story of Miranda Crabtree, the Boatman's daughter. After a fateful night which led to the mysterious death of her father, Miranda ends up under the care of an old witch along with a mutant fish-boy 'Littlefish'. In order to provide for her bizarre little family, Miranda is forced into running drugs across the bayou for the insane preacher, Billy Cotton and the cruel constable Charlie Riddle. Unknown to them, the actions of Billy Cotton on the fateful night have stirred up supernatural forces that will impact on all their lives. Davidson skillfully illustrates the scenic atmosphere of the bayou and creates characters that will capture your heart and characters that you will utterly despise. Even some of the most evil characters in novels have a slight glimmer of good in them deep down, but not Charlie Riddle; he is nasty through and through. The downside for me was that the Leshii concept seemed to disintegrate towards the end and I was left feeling like there was no point to it whatsoever. For example, (view spoiler)[ why did the Leshii want the boy so bad? What was Miranda trading places with the boy for? If the Leshii just wanted the death of Billy Cotton, then why didn't it just let events carry out by themselves? Maybe I missed something? (hide spoiler)]

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kay

    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. "Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm." Kind of a weird, eerie, obscure story. The writing is a bit disjointed but compelling, once I got the hang of it. 3☆

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I just could not get into this one but did finish.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Larrabee

    Fascinating, intricate characters. The hero, Miranda, the boatman's daughter, lives a solitary life in the Arkansas bayou. She's a young woman, skilled at skimming through the water in her skiff, and adept with a bow and arrow. Like the best heroes, she comes alive and attacks her enemies to protect someone she loves, my favorite character, Littlefish, who was murdered by his father (the evil, rapist, drug-dealing preacher), as soon as he was born. A Russian witch, Ishka, brings him back to life Fascinating, intricate characters. The hero, Miranda, the boatman's daughter, lives a solitary life in the Arkansas bayou. She's a young woman, skilled at skimming through the water in her skiff, and adept with a bow and arrow. Like the best heroes, she comes alive and attacks her enemies to protect someone she loves, my favorite character, Littlefish, who was murdered by his father (the evil, rapist, drug-dealing preacher), as soon as he was born. A Russian witch, Ishka, brings him back to life, and raises him in her hidden retreat, deep in the bayou. Miranda visits him often, and he calls her Sister. She brings him comic books, and teaches him sign language, which he executes with his swiftly moving webbed hands. Danger comes at her everywhere in the bayou. The wildlife is dangerous. The weather is dangerous. The most dangerous foes of all are human, however: a sly, fat, would-be rapist, one-eyed sheriff, and the aforementioned homicidal preacher. The writing is lyrical, poetic and original. "Beyond this swamp, beyond these sweltering lands, there were other worlds. Places she could have gone. People she could have been. She felt them now, these other selves, stirring like ghosts in the grave of her soul." Even the descriptions of horrifically creative violent encounters dazzle the reader's senses with the sounds, smells and sights of eyeballs popping and machetes hacking through soft flesh and stubborn bones. The Boatman's Daughter is a fast and exciting journey through treacherous swampland made more treacherous by its murderous inhabitants.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Drenning

    Loved this book so much.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Review Coming to Booklist and the blog soon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Philip Haagensen

    Looking online at the University of Mississippi’s creative writing curriculum, the entry states that “The respected bi-monthly journal Poets and Writers recently ranked the University of Mississippi’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program 38th among the nation’s top 50 programs”. Listen, I’ve got your solution to jumping higher up on that list, U of M. It’s alumnus Andy Davidson. His first novel, “In the Valley of the Sun”, was a damn fine gritty, sweat stained vampire novel full of mem Looking online at the University of Mississippi’s creative writing curriculum, the entry states that “The respected bi-monthly journal Poets and Writers recently ranked the University of Mississippi’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program 38th among the nation’s top 50 programs”. Listen, I’ve got your solution to jumping higher up on that list, U of M. It’s alumnus Andy Davidson. His first novel, “In the Valley of the Sun”, was a damn fine gritty, sweat stained vampire novel full of memorable characters and grisly goings on. Left me eager for the follow up, “The Boatman’s Daughter”. And truly, it most definitely did not disappoint. Davidson spins the tale of a sordid cast of characters, all well defined and carefully presented. There are no less than 7 major characters in the book and they’ll all leave their imprint on you. Davidson carves out the story of 21 year old Miranda, ferrying dope to make ends meet for a fire and brimstone preacher by way of his crooked lawman associate through the swamps of Texarkana. The mad preacher is dying of cancer with one last task to complete for his long dead wife involving some unthinkable sacrificial evil. Others are coming to claim the preacher’s trade. Still other characters want an end to the whole evil routine. All the while a swamp witch surveys the drama and prepares. And a couple innocents can’t make heads or tales of what is about to get real and just do their best to survive. Sound overwhelming? It should be. But Davidson plots the story to absolute perfection and paces it magnificently as the pages turn themselves. He jumps from one point of view to another without losing steam and seamlessly propels the narrative to its harrowing conclusion. His prose is flawless and, in places, concise, yet your mind takes the simple and lush descriptive and fills in the detail effortlessly. This is as fine as it gets for an author. He never overwrites or becomes self indulgent; he chooses his words carefully to convey the optimum impact and lets your mind do the heavy lifting. His descriptors are so visceral you *feel* the swamp and the atmosphere all around you, drenching you in sweat and grit and gore. He masterfully makes you feel every gnat, chigger, and snake pestering his cast of characters. His vivid detail brings the swamp alive (literally!). All the while you’re keeping your mental scorecard up to date as he rotates chapters between characters without losing any of the narratives. Effortlessly. And there’s a fine, nasty tale to be told here, steeped in European folklore and southern sensibilities by way of true crime nastiness and supernatural subplots. And it all dovetails to a satisfying finality which will leave you aching for more. 400 pages go by quicker than a cottonmouth strike. And when it’s over, you want more. Hey University of Mississippi—if Andy Davidson is indicative of graduates from your Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, there is no way you stay ranked at #38. This is how it’s done. 5 out of 5 stars and highest recommendation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    OUT 2/11!! 4.5 stars to Davidson's action-packed, swamp magic filled, anxiety inducing thrill ride, THE BOATMAN'S DAUGHTER! Do you like action? Brooding? Cults? Women highly skilled with a bow and arrow? Ancient swamp magic? REVENGE?!? Obviously you do. You need to read this book asap! Real world terrors mix with volatile magic deep in the festering bayous of Arkansas. Miranda Crabtree will find herself fighting with everything she's got to protect her family from evil men. This book is bloody a OUT 2/11!! 4.5 stars to Davidson's action-packed, swamp magic filled, anxiety inducing thrill ride, THE BOATMAN'S DAUGHTER! Do you like action? Brooding? Cults? Women highly skilled with a bow and arrow? Ancient swamp magic? REVENGE?!? Obviously you do. You need to read this book asap! Real world terrors mix with volatile magic deep in the festering bayous of Arkansas. Miranda Crabtree will find herself fighting with everything she's got to protect her family from evil men. This book is bloody and terrifying, but also full of heart and found family vibes. It's like Winter's Bone meets Beast of the Southern Wild. Read my full review HERE!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    This is a gorgeous, loving, haunting work. Can't recommend it highly enough.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    What an unexpected surprise! I added The Boatman's Daughter to Horror when I shelved it, but it isn't really a supernatural horror novel like I was led to believe from the blurb. Rather, it reminded me a lot of season 1 of True Detective, the one with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The good season. When Miranda Crabtree was twelve or so, she lived through a single, terrible night of which she only remembers flashes: her father telling her to stay in the johnboat while he makes a deliver What an unexpected surprise! I added The Boatman's Daughter to Horror when I shelved it, but it isn't really a supernatural horror novel like I was led to believe from the blurb. Rather, it reminded me a lot of season 1 of True Detective, the one with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The good season. When Miranda Crabtree was twelve or so, she lived through a single, terrible night of which she only remembers flashes: her father telling her to stay in the johnboat while he makes a delivery to a congregation. Seeing visions in the trees, flashes of insight that something terrible is going to happen. Following her father to the church. Seeing the preacher at the top of the stairs, arms coated in blood. Seeing the preacher's wife - or is that Miranda's mother? A handsome young man with cornflower blue eyes, winking at her from the foot of the stairs. Miranda flees into the woods, can't find her father. She sees a tree bowed low, branches smothering a newborn baby. She tears the baby free, hears a gun shot - then two. Knows her father is dead. Can't think, have to run, have to save the baby... Miranda makes it to the boat and races home like all the demons of hell are chasing them. The rest of the novel immerses you in Miranda's world years later; a world of swamp huts and dirt floors. A world where teenaged girls turn tricks for food and drug money, and running dope up and down the river keeps Miranda's family fed. Heading this ring of depravity are former preacher Billy Cotton and Constable Charlie Riddle. Somehow, Cotton has kept his former flock close, some of whom, like Riddle, want to keep the gravy train running. Others like Cook and John Avery desperately wish they could escape from the spiderweb in which they're trapped. Then the swamp starts revealing signs the time is right for a reckoning, to those with eyes to see and the faith to believe. Can Miranda and her "brother," the baby she found all those years ago, stand up to these evil men once and for all? As I said, not really quite horror. More like good vs. evil of the human variety, with maybe some nature spirits giving a push here, a nudge there. In any case, whatever you call it, this was very, very good. Dark, gritty and atmospheric as hell. Parts of it made me want to bathe with bleach after reading - the scene with Riddle and Daisy, specifically. Andy Davidson wowed me with this one. I'll be watching out for what he writes next.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    Holy shit. This book is everything I love. A mix of True Detective (the first season...you know, the good one) and swamp magik by way of Slavic folklore, atmospheric and tense and so damn beautiful despite the brutality of it all. A mad preacher. A swamp witch. A crooked, one eyed lawman. A tough as nails female protagonist who reaches her limits and pushes right the hell through them to protect a found family of outcasts she cares about more than herself. And all the while bayou spirits beyond Holy shit. This book is everything I love. A mix of True Detective (the first season...you know, the good one) and swamp magik by way of Slavic folklore, atmospheric and tense and so damn beautiful despite the brutality of it all. A mad preacher. A swamp witch. A crooked, one eyed lawman. A tough as nails female protagonist who reaches her limits and pushes right the hell through them to protect a found family of outcasts she cares about more than herself. And all the while bayou spirits beyond the sway of human influence dwell in the darkest reaches of the cypress groves. Here’s a strange admission: I’ve long harbored a fantasy of retiring to deep recesses of the bayou, dying alone in a weird little cabin on stilts and letting the critters to which the space truly belongs reclaim my body when I’m done with it. I’ll be damned if Andy Davidson hasn’t crystallized that morbid little dream of mine with this book.

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