Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bad Things” as Want to Read:
Bad Things
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Bad Things

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  812 ratings  ·  82 reviews
From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Intruders and The Straw Men comes a nerve-shattering story of guilt, rage, deadly secrets, and very, very . . . bad things

Three years ago, lawyer John Henderson watched his four-year-old son tumble from a jetty into the lake outside their Washington home. In a terrible instant, a life all too brief and innocent en
...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bad Things, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bad Things

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,386)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Monique
So after a week filled with way too many doctor appointments and precious reading opportunity I decided to try this story based strictly off the title as the movie Very Bad Things with Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz is one of my all time favorite movies involving the trippy and sick ways a night gone wrong proved too much for all concerned--I kinda thought this story would be full of twists and turns and suspense and all that but never really got that..The story starts off with the unexplaine ...more
Mallory Heart Reviews
A stunning, riveting, multi-layered mystery-and-more, “Bad Things” is so complex and convoluted that I can only think of Brian Freeman’s mysteries in comparison. Set in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, Oregon, then Washington State again), the settings and locales become every bit as important as the human characters; in fact, the settings are characters in their own right. Black Ridge, Washington and Marion Beach, Oregon-especially the former-are fully-fleshed, fully-dimensional charact ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/09/...

John Henderson is waiting tables at a small restaurant in the Pacific Northwest,and house sitting for a friend in the area. It’s been three years since his young son died on Lake Murdo in Black Ridge,Washington,and he’s doing his best to live life and forget,when one day he receives an email that says simply “I know what happened.” Soon,John is pulled back to Black Ridge and meets a mysterious woman who claims the same thi
...more
Jeff
I have been a fan of Michael Marshall (Smith) since I read Spares quite a few years ago. I was expecting to like this book, but instead I loved it. Much like the Straw Men Trilogy, the action drives the book, but is not the main focus. Slowly and skillfully, Marshall morphs the story from possible paranoia to unfold the mystery and reveal the supernatural cause of the "Bad Things".
The plot itself was interesting but what blew me away was the writing itself. I was completely absorbed and did not
...more
Rose
This book was very creepy. The bad things were indeed very bad. This was one of those stories where I just couldn't put the book down until I found out what happened or I'd be wondering & bothered all day so I read it in just a few hours. I liked how the theme of guilt & regret ran deep in the story of John Henderson. I've often thought those are 2 of the worst feelings in the world because there isn't much you can do to change them or get rid of them. Usually they come about through you ...more
Lynne
When bad things happen to people is it because they deserve it? When bad things happen to you do you say to yourself “What did I do to deserve this?” The whole concept of action and consequence is brought into play… At least in your mind. In the case of Michael Marshall’s protagonist in Bad Things it seems that the very ultimate in bad things has happened, his four year old son has died. As an indirect result of this tragedy his marriage has ended and his legal career waylaid.

When we meet John H
...more
Dea
Had a really slow start, I struggled to keep focused. But by the time I reached the middle I could not put the book down. I had to force myself to go sleep even though I had only one hour left in the book, but I think I saw the sun coming up over horizon. The story also left me unnerved. I think many of us have trees growing outside their bedroom windows, and I had to keep checking that it was in fact just the tree out there.

On another note, I noticed I really like the fact that nothing plays i
...more
Stephanie Murie
What an irritating book, hiding in the library, masquerading as a thriller no mention on the cover of supernatural claptrap. A really good story spoiled completely by a total cop out, rubbish, totally naff ending. I stopped the cd before the final little bit, this is the first time I've ever done that. I was so annoyed by it. What a load of codswallop grrrrrrrrrr. It was really good, forgivable in the bits where it lacked something, I suspected it would end how it did fairly close to the end but ...more
Marie
Too much supernatural stuff for me
Kelly
A gripping storyline that kept me from putting the book down until I had finished it. The day his son Scott went out on to the jetty changed John Henderson's life forever. He manages to get continue with some semblence of a life, but really he's just walking the walk. Until the day someone tells him they know what happened to his son. There starts a nightmare John never could have imagined. Keeping you gripped the entire way through and surprising you with the unravelling story every step of the ...more
Sharon
Michael Marshall's "Bad Things" starts off with a bang: a four-year-old child apparently dies of fright while his parents watch.

The action then flashes forward three years or so, with the parents divorced and living in different states. The father, James, is living in a small Oregon beach town waiting tables (a far cry from his previous career as a successful lawyer). One day, he receives an e-mail from a stranger, telling him that this person knows why his son died. Curiosity compels him to re
...more
Carrie Hinkel-Gill
This book told a story, but I really had a hard time staying engaged in it. It didn't help that I kept having the feeling I've read this story but under a different title.

However, I read it to the ending.

I understood the premise of the book, and the fact the author tried very hard to maintain the suspense throughout the story, but really, I felt at times the story tried too hard to be suspenseful.

Basically, there are events in the main character's life that you are given glimpses of, but you'
...more
Robin
I had higher hopes for this book and thought for about the first 1/4 I would really like it. However, I read about half and ended up skimming the rest. It is a suspenseful tale of a father whose life falls apart after his young son's sudden death that isn't explained (cororner said there was no reason, the boy just suddenly died). At the start of the story (a couple of years after the death of his son) the father is divorced and living on the Oregon coast, working in a small restaurant that is e ...more
Betty-Anne
I expected to be much more impressed with Michael Marshall’s Bad Things. Having read – no, devoured – many of his previous novels, I began this one with very high expectations.

Approximately the first 50 – 60 pages fully lived up to my expectations. I got very involved with the character of John Henderson and felt that I understood why he had made the decisions that he did. The set up for the mystery was also well presented and well written, and it was what kept me reading.

I began to have problem
...more
Jeremy Pardon
I loved the Straw Men books, and also enjoyed Intruders, but Bad things wasn't quite up to those lofty standards. I am starting to read a formula with his novels, first person from some bad ass tough guy type character, and then third person propelling the story along. Marshall mixes in some paranormal into his hard boiled thriller novels, but now it seems a little forced, almost like a subplot and not the main part of the story.

I'd like to see him change up his style with an upcoming book, perh
...more
Al Swanson
OK, so most of Marshall's books promise more than they deliver. By that, I mean the buildup is excellent. Really - you can't put it down. All of his books (at least, those I've read, which is most) are exactly like that. Hints (or outright examples) of grand conspiracies. Overrtones of horror and the supernatural. He keeps you guessing through the first 80% of every book. You're not sure where it's going - but you HAVE to find out.
Then the other shoe drops and it's just...not enough. The promis
...more
Bibliophile
A very peculiar book. Plotwise it's messy and disjointed. The main story line starts off briskly enough but is then completely buried in the endless logistics of the main character's rushing around in the small town where bad things happen. The rushing around is meant to convey a sense of urgency, I think, but it's more like watching a soap opera. Every other page one character is about to divulge something terribly important to another, just to be suddenly interrupted or inexplicably leave. The ...more
Nigel
We here at Sheelagh na Gig like our thrillers dark and brooding and twisty, full of foreboding, dense with danger,tingling with trepidation, minging with menace, but most of all, we like them well written. That’s why this week’s review commends to your attention Bad Things, by Michael Marshall, which has an opening that will break your heart, a story that will drag you to the edge of your seat, and a terrifyingly suspenseful climax that will dump you on the floor.

Bad Things opens with the sudden
...more
Timothy Neesam

This is an accidental re-read of the first book by Michael Marshall Smith that I discovered, several years ago. The action in Smith's books always move at breakneck speed, but in this book, being caught in a small town gives the feeling of a main character stuck in a pinball machine, ricocheting from event to event but not really moving forward. We see the different pieces fitting together but the main character doesn't. Highly atmospheric (locations in the book almost feel like characters thems
...more
Tina Hayes
Michael Marshall's "Bad Things" was a pretty good suspense/thriller. The characters were well-drawn and the story is good in general. I did enjoy the read, but there were a few parts that could have been better.

The supernatural element, while briefly explained to some degree, could have been elaborated on more to make the story really pop; I would have liked to hear more about that than Kyle. And you have to read well into the book to know that there actually is something paranormal going on and
...more
Brian Krause
As I've said, Michael Marshall Smith writes some really dark stuff. This one was a very very good read.

You have to understand when you read one of his "horror" books that some of the "dark" aspects will not be completely and fully explained in logical terms....you will need to use your imagination and stretch it to grasp some of these conclusions.

I liked this one a lot. John Henderson was a good and likable protagonist. The supporting cast was equally interesting and added significantly to the s
...more
Chavonne
My favorite thing about book clubs is that they encourage me to try books that I would never have picked up on my own. This novel starts off great--the writing is tight, though a bit too sarcastic for me, and the plot grabbed me. The first half of the book is very entertaining. Then the plot goes haywire, the characters too many to follow, a plot line is introduced that has nothing to do with nothing. The end is just ridiculous, too--instead of the gasp I expected, I ended the book with a groan. ...more
Jaime
I liked this, but I didn’t love it. It is a slow builder, which is fine, but I think I was looking for more of an underlying, subtle creepy feeling like I got from reading Rosemary’s Baby. I never felt like John was in real danger until the end.

John himself is an interesting character. He does what needs to be done without a lot of emotional wrangling, but it’s hard to get a good feel for why he is the way he is. Was he always this way, and just masked it when he was married? Or did the death of
...more
Anna
A claustrophobic feel thru the book. Lawyer Jack Henderson's life changed three years ago, when his child died. The marriage solved, and he moved away to start a new, simpler life. Now he gets pulled back to the old place when someone calls and tells him she knows what happened to his son. When he's back to the small village where the bad stuff happened, more bad things happen. And they seem to have happened already for a long, long time, always around the same families and places. Maybe a bit t ...more
Margaret
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Don
Excellent story

I really enjoyed the plot and especially the characters of this story. This is the type of book that both entertains and keeps you guessing.
Joanne Parkington
The more i read of MMS the less stars he seems to get and i think that's partly my fault for OD'ing on his books.The other reason this time is the sudden rush at the end of the book to pull this story together and the rather lazy baffling way he did it ... i felt like ' is that it' !! So, personally, the ending is a bit naff and feel's like he ran out of time ... however, everything before that is brilliant MMS stuff .... the tortured hero, the atmospheric scene's, the twist's & turn's and i ...more
Lani
I would really give this one 3 1/2 stars if that was an option. The book was very well written and it was a page turner that I stayed up until 2:30 AM reading. But I was disappointed in the end. You get to know several characters in the first person but there are so many unanswered questions. It's like the story isn't complete but not something a sequel would be able to answer since most of the characters are gone. I may look for a blog about this book to see if someone else might have an idea o ...more
David Josph
Was an ok book to read slightly dark but the writer knows how to spin a good read
Paul
I read this book because I had read and enjoyed We Are Here and this book introduces some of the characters that appear in that book. However I think it's OK to read them in either order, it's probably better to read this first.

I did enjoy this but it was darker and more horror than supernatural thriller. I think if you like Stephen King you'll enjoy this. It has that same sense of some dark and powerful brooding menace out in the woods.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 46 47 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • We Are Here
  • Bad Men
  • The Shadow of the Soul (The Dog-Faced Gods, #2)
  • The Shimmer
  • The Bone Parade
  • The Boys Are Back in Town
  • The Skin Gods (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #2)
  • The German
  • Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
  • The Soul Collector
  • Slash and Burn (Joe Hunter, #3)
  • The Orpheus Deception (Agent Micah Dalton, #2)
  • The Face of the Assassin
  • Whom the Gods Would Destroy
  • Pyres
  • The Werewolves of London (David Lydyard, #1)
  • Tom Rob Smith Trilogy
  • Gothic Short Stories (Wordsworth Classics)
2954265
A pseudonym used by Michael Marshall Smith

Michael Marshall Smith (who dropped the "Smith" to write The Straw Men) lives in north London with his wife Paula, and is currently working on screenplays and his next book, while providing two cats with somewhere warm and comfortable to sit.




Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more inf
...more
More about Michael Marshall...
The Straw Men The Intruders The Upright Man Blood of Angels Killer Move

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The cause of that happiness was gone, of course, dead and gone, but still we put our faith in places. We think that if we just lived somewhere different, everything would be okay. We believe that if we paint the stairway a bright new colour, and clear out the closets, our minds will follow. We'll take just about any ray of hope rather than accept that ninety-five per cent of the world we inhabit exists within the confines of our own skulls.” 1 likes
More quotes…