Monday, December 1, 2008

Snow Outside? Pick Up a Book

I just finished John Galligan's new fly fishing mystery - The Clinch Knot (Bleakhouse)- and wanted to give some Trout Buddha good karma for an excellent read. My comments might be a bit biased - John lives in Madison, teaches at MATC, and is always very willing to chat about fly fishing and writing (even to a hack like me).

This is the third installment in the series that features Ned "Dog" Oglive. The first two novels include - The Nail Knot (2005) and The Blood Knot (2007). The Dog is a trout bum with a difficult past, who lives out of an old RV, and is trying to drink and fly fish away some bad memories. The Clinch Knot leaves the streams of Wisconsin found in the first two installments and heads to Montana. The change of scenery does not change Dog's luck as he finds himself working to solve the mystery surrounding the death of Jesse Ringer and the arrest of her boyfriend D'Ontario Sneed. Nice read, wonderful characters, the fishing components are always dead on and the bottom line - I care about what happens to Dog. This novel reveals a bit more about why the Dog is drinking and fishing his way across the west. All the more reason to root for him.

Some other authors have made fly fishing central to the mystery genre but they seem to be very light reading. For my money John Galligan's series is the most "literary". I can't wait to see what happens to the Dog next (Surgeon's Knot? Arbor Knot?) I hope this isn't the end of the line for the Dog.

Enjoy the read!
Trout Buddha

The Clinch Knot Summary (from Bleakhouse):

The Dog is in Livingston, Montana, daydreaming about fishing the ‘Stone and, as usual, subsisting on Swisher Sweets, vodka-Tang, and the hope that pretending to forget will be enough.

He’s forged a few tenuous friendships, and now finds himself watching from the bank as troubled local girl Jesse Ringer leads D’Ontario Sneed into the swift current of young love. It’s sweet, really … but some of the locals object to the relationship on the basis of Sneed’s skin color.

Then the unthinkable: vibrant, wild Jesse is found shot in the head, and Sneed is passed out in her car, gun beside him, window seams taped, and engine running. Sneed is hospitalized for severe carbon monoxide poisoning and can’t string together a sentence to defend himself, so it falls to the Dog.

If only the Dog could run from his life without ending up in the tangle and snarl of the lives of others. A man who wants to lose himself in the current must be careful of his backcast; it’ll always keep him tethered to a life he’s trying to forget.


  1. I'm always on the lookout for new fish reading material. I enjoyed your summary and have added John's books to my "to read" list (way too long of a list). I've enjoyed your other posts too. It's nice to read more blogs from outside my insular Rocky Mountain west. Good karma back at you for sharing!

    Any chance of sending one of those Brutta pizzas this way? I'm hankering for a good pie. And I agree on Wendell Berry being an American treasure - love his stuff!

  2. Thanks for the note. Looking forward to checking out Cutthroat Stalker. Trout Buddha.