Bryan Gruley’s first mystery, Starvation Lake, won an Anthony, a Barry, and was nominated for an Edgar—not a bad debut! (It also received a starred review from Booklist, in which our reviewer wrote: “Many good crime novels appear every month, but few have the depth and poignancy of Starvation Lake, which deserves comparison with Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River.”) His follow-up, The Hanging Tree, was widely praised as well. While Gruley’s fans wait eagerly for his next book, they can pass the time with his favorite read from the past year.
The cover of The Nail Knot calls John Galligan’s novel a mystery. The mystery is why more people haven’t gravitated to Galligan’s sinewy and erudite writing. He’s a great storyteller, and readers will love being with his itinerant, fly-fishing protagonist, Ned “Dog” Ogilvie. No, the fly-fishing won’t put you off, non-anglers, rather it’ll reel you in to Dog’s sometimes lonely, always captivating world. Don’t expect bloody corpses or exploding cars. Galligan believes deeply in the primacy of character and isn’t afraid to show Dog and his counterparts at their most vulnerable. If I attempted some of the turns of phrase Galligan pulls off with ease, I would separate a shoulder. Try The Nail Knot and you’ll want to read more about Dog.
As part of Booklist‘s Mystery Month, we’ll have more red-hot reading recommendations from red-hot authors all month long. Share your own picks in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter (#mysterymonth).