book cover of The Legend of Charlie Fish

The Legend of Charlie Fish

A novel by

“Odd, creepy, funny, The Black Lagoon meets the Six Gun universe. High up on the way-cool factor. You need this.”
—Joe R. Lansdale, Edgar Award–winning author of the Hap and Leonard series

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.

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.

Genre: Horror

Praise for this book

"A fantastic novel about the power of family, be they blood, human or not. Of love and loyalty and strange talents. Of heat and violence and storms and a Fishman. A tight heart-filled tapestry of almost alternate history that hits all the notes I crave in weird fiction. I adored it." - John Boden

"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

"A winsome tale of wondrous misfits and unlikely kinships, The Legend of Charlie Fish channels all the wit and melancholy of the great Charles Portis. Part adventure story, part lament, the whole is a triumph of voice and heart." - Andy Davidson

"As imaginative as it is delightfully surprising. From the very first pages, Galveston and the Great Storm come alive alongside a cast of unique and compelling characters. The lyrical prose and sense of foreboding as undeniable as the first gusts of a hurricane make for an utterly charming and haunting tale." - KC Grifant

"The monsters are human, the humans are monsters, and hope still lives in Pandora's Box. It is a tale of today in yesterday's clothes. Beautifully written." - Del Howison

"A Weird Western novel of singular power. Mixing equal parts of Elmore Leonard toughness and Joe R. Lansdale wit in a Charles Portis-shaped shaker, The Legend of Charlie Fish is an old fashioned cocktail readers will savor." - C S Humble

"A fantastic work of dark historical fiction, in the spirit of Lansdale, Gorman, Pronzini, and McMurtry." - Brian Keene

"Odd, creepy, funny, The Black Lagoon meets the Six Gun universe. You need this." - Joe R Lansdale

"Equal parts touching and bizarre, The Legend of Charlie Fish is a weird western with heart, and is a completely delightful read from start to finish." - David Liss

"Rountree deftly casts his characters into dangerous waters and tells a lyrical, stormy tale of chosen family that is wonderfully hopeful, even amidst loss and hardship. I loved it." - Patrick Swenson

"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

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