The Nail Knot - book cover

The Nail Knot

by John Galligan

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Simon & Schuster | Mystery to Me

A real treat.

—Library Journal


The going has gotten tough, and Ned “Dog” Oglivie has gone fishing. Fly fishing. For trout. All across America. At least until his money runs out . . .

Driven by tragedy to turn his back on human society, the Dog is on a quest to fish himself into oblivion. And he’s nearly made it. Playing the back highways of America in a wounded old RV . . . provisioned with a supply of peanut butter sandwiches, bad cigars, and vodka-Tang . . . armed with a loaded pistol (for when the money runs out) . . . the Dog is nearly at the end of his tether when he rolls into little Black Earth, Wisconsin, intending to fish the yellow sally stonefly hatch . . . and finds a body instead.

Who killed Jake Jacobs, fellow fly fisher and late-coming agitator who was trying to save Black Earth Creek? Why was Jacobs disfigured in such a peculiar way? Why does the Dog give a damn? Can he rekindle his faith and interest in humankind? By caring about the death of a stranger, can the Dog recover his own life? Can he untie The Nail Knot?


Galligan portrays the radiantly quirky characters with deft strokes, pulling their strings with panache and outlining their world with humor and acceptance. A real treat.

—Library Journal

The Nail Knot is a sure-handed first cast in a new outdoor mystery series that will appeal to trout hounds and tenderfeet alike. Keep your eye on John Galligan and Bleak House Books.

—Sean Doolittle

Goodreads icon


Book review: ‘The Nail Knot’ by John Galligan, The County Line by  Larry Ballwahn – June 2021

Murder, mystery and the great outdoors, Salmon Arms Observer column by James Murray – November 2019

Casting Around Book Review: The Nail Knot by John Galligan – January 2011

Mystery* review: JOHN GALLIGAN – The Nail Knot and other fly-fishing mysteries – 2007