Josh Rountree’s debut novel THE LEGEND OF CHARLIE FISH officially pubs today and is now available from all finer booksellers.
Odd, creepy, funny, The Black Lagoon meets the Six Gun universe. High up on the way-cool factor. You need this.—Joe R. Lansdale, author of the Hap and Leonard series
Josh Rountree knows how to spin a yarn. Great storytelling ability bringing Charlie Fish to life so I could fall in love with him. More of his adventures would be awesome! Highly recommend this to people who enjoy magic, whimsy, characters to invest in, and an emotional journey.—Mother Horror
As an unlikely found-family flees toward Galveston, a psychic young girl bonds with Charlie Fish, an enigmatic gill-man. Meanwhile, they are pursued by bounty hunters determined to profit from the spectacle of Charlie. But the Great Storm—the worst natural disaster in U.S. history—is on its way. Josh Rountree’s strikingly original debut novel ranges effortlessly between the Gothic, pulp, literary, Western, and comedic. With his vivid imagery, evocative storytelling, and uncanny wit, Rountree enters the fine tradition of Texan storytellers, wading into True Grit by way of The Shape of Water.
A fantastic work of dark historical fiction, in the spirit of Lansdale, Gorman, Pronzini, and McMurtry.—Brian Keene, author of the Rising series
As always, Floyd Betts rides into town alone. He arrives for his father’s funeral, but he is returning to Galveston, Texas, with two orphaned siblings he has rescued. Nellie, who is descended from a long line of witches, has visions from other people’s minds. Hank, her impulsive younger brother, just wants to break out his outsized revolver.
Along the way home, Floyd, Nellie, and Hank encounter a dubious traveling salesman, Professor Finn, and his henchman, Kentucky Jim. They are struggling to capture a fish-man in order to put him on cruel display. When Nellie taps into the peril of the gentle Charlie Fish, Floyd’s makeshift family expands to include the lost, two-legged amphibian.
With the circus charlatans in pursuit, ominous winds are picking up from an impending hurricane. Meanwhile, all Charlie Fish wants is to return to his home at sea.
Set against the backdrop of the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, Rountree’s latest weaves an unforgettable tale about survival, resilience, and the power of forged relationships. Perfect for Ben Galley and Joe R. Lansdale fans, THE LEGEND OF CHARLIE FISH is a quintessential example of a weird western.—Booklist
An entertaining historical weird fantasy tale featuring a cigarette-smoking manphibian befriended by an orphaned witch girl and her gun-toting kid brother. Set in Galveston, Texas, during the deadliest hurricane to ever strike the United States, this strange self-made family not only must deal with the elements but a pair of scheming scoundrels intent on capturing Charlie as well. Author Josh Rountree knows the city of Galveston and its tragic history backwards and forwards. Recommended for those who enjoy a good ‘weird western.—Nancy A. Collins, author of Sunglasses After Dark
A paean to turn of the 20th century Galveston, Tex., Rountree’s romp of a debut novel (after the collection Fantastic Americana) combines a historical disaster with fantastical elements, including a creature who would fit right in, in the Black Lagoon. Floyd Betts meets orphaned siblings Nellie, a 12-year-old telepath, and Hank, a nine-year-old marksman, while in Old Cypress, Tex., for his father’s funeral and decides to take them back with him to Abigail Elder’s boarding house in Galveston. On the way, Floyd, Hank, and Nellie infuriate of a pair of circus charlatans calling themselves Professor Finn and Kentucky Jim by liberating the scoundrels’ big score, a human-fish hybrid the children name Charlie Fish. Nellie’s ‘whisper talk,’ or empathetic telepathy, allows her to communicate with Charlie, who longs to reunite with his fellow fish people. Meanwhile, both Professor Finn and Kentucky Jim and an incoming hurricane pose threats even after the makeshift family is welcomed at Abigail’s. Despite a somewhat unfocused plot, which jumps around in both time and alternates between Floyd and Nellie’s points of view, a sense of looming doom keeps tension high, and Rountree’s talent for scene setting is on full display in lush descriptions of the Old West. This weird western should win Rountree plenty of fans.—Publishers Weekly
Rountree excels at creating new mythology and folktales that feel like they’ve always existed, and THE LEGEND OF CHARLIE FISH is no exception. A tense, exciting, and gorgeous read that will sweep you up immediately and not let go, lingering even after you turn the last page.—A. C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling