cover image The Boatman’s Daughter

The Boatman’s Daughter

Andy Davidson. MCD, $16 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-374-53855-2

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.)