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About the author:

Tom Phelan is the author of the acclaimed novels Nailer, The Canal Bridge, In the Season of the Daisies, Iscariot, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told, and Derrycloney.

He has also written for Newsday, the Irish Echo,, Connect magazine, and the Recorder, the journal of the American Irish Historical Society.

Phelan's first novel, In the Season of the Daisies, was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series and was a finalist for the Discover award.

Born and raised on a farm in Strahard, Mountmellick, County Laois, in the Irish midlands, Phelan now makes his home in New York.

The Canal Bridge, Phelan’s powerful novel of Ireland in the First World War, tells the story of two Irish soldiers (and the women and families they leave behind) as they struggle to survive the slaughterhouse that was Europe. A quarter of a million Irish men joined the British army and fought in the trenches in the First World War, and nearly fifty thousand died.

In the Season of the Daisies, tells of the 1921 IRA murder of a young boy and the effects on his surviving twin and on the men who witnessed the killing.

Phelan's widely praised novel Iscariot is the story of an expatriate ex-priest who returns to Ireland to face the past and stumbles across the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a young woman.

In the humorous novel Derrycloney, Phelan presents a tale of life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s. Phelan calls it his "fanfare for the common man and woman" of his childhood.

In Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told, an Irish journalist living in the UK returns to Ireland to investigate two deaths that occurred when he was a boy, deaths that he knows were murders.


Authored by Tom Phelan

Is there a serial killer in Ireland? In the midland counties of Laois and Offaly, two former members of the religious Order of Saint Kieran, which once ran Dachadoo Industrial School, are murdered within weeks of each other, their bodies found nailed to the floor.

In this gripping novel Tom Phelan once again brings the artistry and courage of his discerning eye to a disturbing and emotionally loaded subject. Nailer reveals the dark side of the Irish Catholic Church and targets decades of abuse of Ireland's most vulnerable citizens.


"A hard-hitting thriller."--Books Ireland

"A compelling story."--Leinster Express

‎"Is revenge ever justified? Tom Phelan's gripping detective story challenges his readers to grapple with the possibility that revenge should be a part of a justice system...Awesomely well-written novel."--John Walsh, editor, The Hedgemaster


Author Tom Phelan, who is a former priest, grew up in the long shadow of one of Ireland's most notorious institutions for boys, Saint Conleth's in County Offaly. The reputation of the place was such that as children, Phelan and his contemporaries were often threatened with being sent to Saint Conleth's if they didn't behave.

According to the Irish writer John McGahern, "The true history of the thirties, forties and fifties in [Ireland] has yet to be written. When it does, I believe it will be shown to have been a very dark time indeed, in which an insular Church colluded with an insecure State to bring about a society that was often bigoted, intolerant, cowardly, philistine and spiritually crippled."

Tom Phelan's Nailer is both a riveting whodunit and a deeply affecting indictment of the Catholic Church's grab for power after the British departed from Ireland. Nailer shines a light on a very dark time in Ireland's modern history.
Tom Phelan, reared on a farm in County Laois, is the author of IN THE SEASON OF THE DAISIES, ISCARIOT, DERRYCLONEY, LIES THE MUSHROOM PICKERS TOLD, and THE CANAL BRIDGE. His first novel was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series and was a finalist for the Discover Award.


Publication Date:
061543441X / 9780615434414
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.5" x 8.5"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Fiction / Literary

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