cover image The Blood Knot: A Fly Fishing Mystery

The Blood Knot: A Fly Fishing Mystery

John Galligan, . . Bleak House, $23.95 (301pp) ISBN 978-1-932557-12-1

Galligan's rewarding if grim second fly-fishing mystery (after 2003's The Nail Knot ) offers an emotionally tortured protagonist, Ned Oglivie (aka Dog), and a clan of misfits and survivors worthy of Faulkner, the Kussmauls, who coexist uneasily with each other and their Amish neighbors in remote Avalanche, Wis. Searching for oblivion on a three-year fishing trip and suffering from a vicious beaver bite, Dog is tramping through the woods one morning when he sees 10-year-old Deuce Kussmaul fire his kid-sized .22 into the body of "barn lady" Annie Adams lying in a stream. (Annie liked to paint pictures of barns.) After Deuce's mother, Eve, who's a banned Amish and a meth-user, treats Dog's beaver bite, he agrees to try to prove her son didn't kill Annie. The author brilliantly draws the Snopes-like Kussmauls while writing with flair and passion about fly-fishing, art and fate. But like J. Robert Janes's St. Cyr and Kohler series, Galligan will need to be hand-sold to reach the right audience. 20-city author tour. (Oct.)