Review: The Fourth Fisherman

The Fourth Fisherman
by Joe Kissack

When searching for my next book to review, I came across this title, “The Fourth Fisherman”, and I was drawn to the story of three men drifting on the ocean waters for more than nine months.  Not knowing the ratio between the two stories, I decided to pick this book as my next read.

The Fourth Fisherman takes the story of three Mexican fisherman stranded at sea and infuses into the tale a fourth fisherman, Joe Kissack.  When Joe is told about the survival of these three fishermen – Jesus, Salvador, and Lucio, he is drawn to their story.  Drifting on the ocean for over nine months strikes a chord with him, and he begins to realize how much he has drifted in his own life.  While tracking down the survivors, Joe discovers some hard truths about himself.  Talking with these men, and knowing their faith in God was integral to their survival, Joe decides their story is one the world needs to hear.  As he begins to build on this idea, he encounters others who are interested in hearing not only the story of the fisherman, but of his own personal struggle and how he found contentment in Christ.

I have mixed feelings about this book…part of me loved the story, but another part felt the stories were very different, or at least that’s the way it read; I just couldn’t connect the two stories together. Plus I felt that there wasn’t enough information about the survivors after they were rescued.  It seemed once these three men made it home, their tale was over when in reality I’m sure there was a BIG adjustment period before they were able to continue their life (or maybe not, but the reader is never given that information).  From this point forward, the book’s main focus is on Joe and his drive to see this story developed into a movie.

The book’s format began with changing chapters; one chapter about the fishermen, the next about Joe, but once the fishermen were rescued that format changed and most chapters thereafter were about Joe with little mention of Jesue, Salvador, and Lucio.  Because of this change in format, I think the story suffered a little as the reader never really finds out the ending to the fishermen’s story besides them being rescued and returned home.  This brings me to another point; if the intent of the book was to talk about Joe’s personal struggles, then it should have been written differently – without the changing chapters.  Instead all chapters should have been focused on Joe, with references to the fisherman and how their struggle affected him and his life.  Or, if the main focus of the book was really about the fishermen and how their faith saw them through, then I think the parts about the author should have been limited.  As is, I think the book is a book about Joe Kissack and his life more than the fishermen.

Personally I think those who pick up this book because of their interest in the stranded fishermen are going to be disappointed.  This book is not a memoir of the fishermen’s journey; although you do get to know a little about them and the months they were at sea.  This book is more about Mr. Kissack and how the story of the fishermen brought to light some areas in his life that needed attention – mainly his marriage.

Overall I enjoyed reading The Fourth Fisherman, although it wasn’t what I had originally expected. The author writes as one would speak, which made the book easy to read.  I thought both stories were interesting, but again, the stories fit together awkwardly in the book.  Even though the book didn’t blend well for me, I do think Joe Kissack has a heart to see this story shared.  His desire for people to be touched by the faith of the fishermen seems to be a true one, and I hope he succeeds in getting this story told.  His personal story is also an encouraging one that I believe will touch people.

This book is geared towards the adult reader.  If you are married, this might be a book of interest since the majority of the book is focused on Joe’s marriage.  Likewise, if you are interested in the fishermen then you will enjoy the parts focused around them.

For more information about the book and the author’s vision to see this story shared, visit


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing GroupI was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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