Open Reading Period Selection


ISBN: 978-1-62557-034-5
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Live Caught

Publication Date: April 2022


Participating in the 2024 PopSugar reading challenge? Read Live Caught  for prompt number 2: a bildungsroman.

Live Caught is the story of Lenny, who finds himself out of options. He’s lost his arm to his abusive older brothers and lost his bearing within his family. Desperate to escape and determined not to lose hope, Lenny steals a skiff and attempts to ride the Carolina rivers from his family’s farm deep in the western North Carolina mountains all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. When a storm sinks his boat, he is suddenly in the hands of a profanity-slinging priest, whose illegal drug operation provides food and wages for the local parish. Snared within a power struggle between a crooked cop and the priest, Lenny must once again rely on the thinnest shred of hope in his attempt to escape.

This is a survival adventure that dives deep into the mystifying relationship between hope and choice and examines the peril of remaining in an untenable situation or taking that terrifying first step towards change.




Daniels’ language in this book is both mesmerizing and terrifying, a master class in extracting every drop of drama. Its unique alchemy has ingredients from A Clockwork Orange and Huckleberry Finn—and whatever that oddball combo makes you imagine, this book is better.
Joshua Mohr, author of Model Citizen and Damascus

In Live Caught, R. Cathey Daniels’s beautifully hypnotic debut novel, Lenny dreams of escaping to the sea. His gritty, complicated journey offers him constant temptations and choices as he makes his way through a pageant of flawed saints and frightening sinners, including the violent brothers who have left him “a one-armed boy in a hell of mess.” In the wild, poetic world Daniels has created, Lenny betrays and is betrayed, steals and is stolen from, and harms and protects as he turns to face his life, urgently trying to solve the riddles of his hardscrabble home and past.
Sarah Stone, author of Hungry Ghost Theater

Live Caught is about the long shadows–-of family, of childhood, of siblings, and of memory’s sleight of hand. And like any Southern novel worthy of the name, there is madness, fatal misunderstandings, and images cut with a brutal and beautiful scalpel.
Thomas M. Atkinson, author of Tiki Man and Strobe Life

The characters in R. Cathey Daniels’ Live Caught are unforgettable. From the opening pages, I was captivated by the vulnerable yet intrepid Lenny, a one-armed kid searching for the safe home he’s never had and the profanity-slinging priest with a lucrative secret who offers him an elusive salvation. Daniels writes from the dark part of the soul, and the result is an unfiltered voice of elegance and style, an alchemy of meaning and heart. You’ll be dreaming this story in a North Carolina accent. I did.

Grant Faulkner, author of All the Comfort Sin Can Provide

About the Author

R. Cathey Daniels

R. Cathey Daniels grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a master’s degree in education. She taught high school mathematics in East Tennessee prior to becoming an award-winning newspaper reporter for The Oak Ridger, covering education as well as science coming out of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She is a 2016 graduate of the Stanford University Novel Writing Program, won first prize in the 2018 Retreat West First Chapter Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the 2020 University of New Orleans Press Novel Contest. Her novel, Live Caught, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (June, 2022). When she isn’t writing, she can be found at Crossfit, in her garden, hiking, or shooting hoops with her grandkids.

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