Book Reviews

In The River by Jeremy Robert Johnson Review

An intensely moving tale of survival and madness along the river’s edge. A father and son fishing lesson become a nightmarish voyage to the sea in this visionary testament to the lengths we will go for those we love.

100% of JRJ’s first month of royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Portland Homeless Family Solutions to aid them in the difficult work of helping families with children find safety and security during times of struggle.

Amazon | Goodreads

Horror After Dark Review

I received this novella in a recent Nightworms subscription box. You can find out more about this amazing horror box by clicking here.

This little book looks innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Soothing waves of blue and green grace the cover. Perhaps it is about an adorable sea monster or maybe a meaner one who is crunching and munching its way through a bunch of B-movie characters who kind of, sort of deserve everything they get.

It isn’t either of those things.

In The River is a deadly serious examination of pain and madness and it is one of those books that will not leave you after you turn the last page. It seeps under your skin and even now, quite a few days later, the images and emotions still bubble to the surface of my brain and continue to haunt me. I assumed I was going to give it a read in-between the bigger books and move along feeling accomplished that I finished a book in a few hours. That didn’t happen. I finished it quickly enough because I had to know what happened but I found myself unable to start up anything else for several days and watched tv and listened to podcasts in order to clear my head instead. 

So be warned, this one may be slight but it will wound you deeply and if it doesn’t I fear for you a little.

I can’t tell you much about the plot and honestly I am struggling with this review. I have put it off for days and days because I didn’t want to think about it. I’ll only say that it’s about a man and his boy and a fishing expedition that doesn’t end at all the way it should’ve ended. It hits you with a grueling image and prose that says only just enough to destroy you and just when you begin to believe that you’re ready to continue on and see where it leads and that you’ve perhaps recovered emotionally, it smacks you again with another terrible image for good measure. This is true horror, people, the kind that leaves scars on your soul.

In The River is not an easy read there is no way around that. If you’re looking for light and fluffy save this for another day. It is incredibly moving and incredibly painful and it made me feel all the anguish. For that alone, this book gets all five stars. If you’re up for a good gutting, give it a read. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Read Kimberly’s 5 Star review here!

About The Author

Jeremy Robert Johnson is the author of the critically-acclaimed collection ENTROPY IN BLOOM as well as the breakthrough cult novel SKULLCRACK CITY. His fiction has been acclaimed by The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly, authors such as David Wong and Jack Ketchum, and has appeared internationally in numerous anthologies and magazines. In 2008 he worked with The Mars Volta to tell the story behind their Grammy Winning album The Bedlam in Goliath. In 2010 he spoke about weirdness and metaphor as a survival tool at the Fractal 10 conference in Medellin, Colombia. Jeremy is at work on a host of new books. For more information:


Scary books make everything so much better! I've been reading them since I was a wee, weird little thing and grew up with a steady diet of King, Koontz, Barker, and Brite and will read and watch just about anything with a hint of darkness.


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