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

Bad Things Happen (David Loogan #1)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  3,727 ratings  ·  717 reviews
David Loogan is leading a new and quietly anonymous life in a new town. But his solitude is broken when he finds himself drawn into a friendship with Tom Kristoll, the melancholy publisher of the crime magazine Gray Streets - and into an affair with Laura, Tom's sleek blond wife.

When Tom offers him a job as an editor, Loogan sees no harm in accepting. What he doesn't reali
Paperback, 420 pages
Published July 8th 2010 by Ebury Press (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 Happen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bad Things Happen

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
An excellent first novel by an author new to me. Several friends gave this a 4 star review. I don't usually give out so many stars for a mystery-thriller, but Dolan deserves it for this effort & this is a self-contained great start to a series.

The characters were excellent. Each was well drawn, an individual without stereotypes or overbearing explanation. It's someone you meet, a slow realization, subtly & fully fed. That includes the mysterious main character that we slowly learn more
While it did take me one month to finish this book, I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy it. Yes, I just executed a double negative (the double dribble of the writing world) for those of you who only approve of appropriate grammatical choices. But I wanted to prove and emphasize a point. And my point is that I really did enjoy BAD THINGS HAPPEN. I was appropriately amused and entertained, as I filled my life with hugs and kisses and machine guns.

David Loogan can juggle more than just oranges, and he ha
James Thane
This is an excellent first novel--a witty, literate tale with great characters--that grabs you from the opening line: "The shovel has to meet certain requirements."

A man who calls himself David Loogan arrives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and on a whim, submits a story to Gray Streets, a literary crime journal. The magazine's editor, Tom Kristoll, is impressed with Loogan's abilities and persuades him to come to work as an editor for the magazine. In short order, David and Tom become close friends.

If this book were a story in Gray Streets, it would have had an editor.

If this book were a story in Gray Streets, the editor would have made Harry Dolan change at least some of the references to Elizabeth's raven hair to black hair. (I swear, he never refers to it as black--it is always raven.

If this book were a story in Gray Streets, the editor would have deleted at least two or three or four or fifteen of the who-knows-how-many plot twists. (Makes you want to scream Enough Already!)

If this boo
I don't know if I can really say I liked this book. It made me curious, and kept me reading. I like the writing style and I was intrigued by the main character. Not bad for a first novel, but still flawed: first of all, there were far, far too many twists - it got exhausting trying to keep track of everything after awhile. There were also too many times when one character would say to another: "if this were a story...." which of course it was, but it started to feel like the author was getting t ...more
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book but once I started I had a hard time putting it down. It's not a thriller but a story that turns out to be very fascinating. It was actually fun to read. Talk about sharp and witty dialogue.

David Loogan is a stranger in town, and on an impulse, drops off a manuscript he writes to Gray Streets, a local magazine run by Tom Kristoll who likes the story. Tom is so impressed with David that he ends up giving him a job as editor. As time goes on,
Often times while I sit in my rented house recovering from a exhausting day making love to my bosses wife by rewriting the same short story over and over (of which I will never publish by the way) I receive a call from my boss (who I have known all of three months) asking that I come to his house to help him remove and bury the body of a alleged intruder. Seems he doesn't want the complications of calling the authorities. I say "sure, why not"? All this and I am less than 1/5 into the book. Plea ...more
I'm not an expert, and because of that I rarely write reviews. But I did decide to write out a blurb on this one because I found the writing to be in tolerable. Maybe the style just wasn't for me, it was so distacting I couldn't finish it. Every little thing was over explained, as if the author was writting to a two year old.

Jim Thomsen
"Bad Things Happen" deserves all the praise it's gotten. It's smart, literate, tight and perfectly plotted.

I've rarely read a book so full of first-rate dialogue, and its deft skewering of author egos and its fresh insight into how publishing sausage is made lends to the long list of the book's endless delights. It is the rare mystery novel that cheerfully tosses overboard everything that isn't pure fifth-gear story. No stopping to smell the flowers — or describe them — here, thank you very muc
Rob Kitchin
Bad Things Happen, for the most part, is a fairly clever book that draws liberally from across the crime fiction cannon to use various mystery tropes to construct the plot. The writing is workmanlike but very readable and there are some nice touches and humour. And yet, whilst I enjoyed it, I wasn’t bowled over by the story. On reflection I think there are two things that hinder Bad Things Happen from being a stellar book, which it’s easy to imagine it could have been. First, I felt the book was ...more
I think part of why I liked this book so much is that it was a departure from the dull cozies we so often read in my mystery book club. It was actually mysterious, I couldn't figure out the killer(s) for a change, the patterns I usually look for in mysteries weren't there making it easy (or making me think it was easy in some of the better ones). I didn't have much thought to spare on what was really going on because there was always something making me start the next chapter rather than take ti ...more
This is the most annoying book I've finished in a long time, and I only finished it because my wife assured me that it improved after the first fifteen pages, the most self-indulgent and annoying opening I've read in years.

Author Harry Dolan's education in philosophy and dabbling in fiction writing with Frederick Busch become weighty handicaps to his writing a mystery. He's so interested in a convoluted plot with occasional allusions to classic Noir (Raymond Chandler, for example), that he forge
I just finished a few heavy novels and wanted something a little pulp, a little noir and a little light.
This book popped up with some decent reviews so I thought I would go for it.
Well, I got "light," but this was really not a very good book. A fast read, yes as it's simple style and pacing lends itself to a quick journey, but not a very good one.
The book felt contrived. Always reaching to try and fool and be clever, but coming across as just trying too hard.
The characters felt like parodies of
Here's the review I posted at MADreads:

Sometimes I'm reluctant to write a review of a book. Not because the book was bad but because it was good. So good that I know I won't be able to do it justice with my own words. Bad Things Happen is just such a book. Harry Dolan crosses Raymond Chandleresque noir with Quentin Tarantino's rapid-fire dialog and complicated plotting style. All this leavened with enough dry wit to make a Jane Austen fan sit up and take n

I thoroughly enjoyed this first novel (mystery) by an author who lives in Ann Arbor and who sets the book in Ann Arbor. Mr. Dolan's tone and language is consistent, talented, and reminiscent of classic "noir," including both in the dialogue and exposition. The plot is intricate (multiple bodies pile up) and at the same time smoothly logical. He includes just enough suspects to keep the reader guessing (not too many, not too few, but just right) along with unexpected yet plausible plot twists and ...more
This is a crime novel about authors of crime novels. These authors have always to remind themselves that they are not characters of a crime novel. Centerpiece of this crime novel is a crime novel that has never been published. One of the reasons for that is that the novel in question (“Liars, Thieves and, Innocent Men”) had too many characters and too many topics inessential to the plot. Truth is that the novel out of the question (“Plans Go Wrong, Bad Things Happen, People Die”) has also too ma ...more
Jim Loter
In the final pages of this literary mystery novel, one of the characters declares the proceedings to be "tedious." I feel that's an apt summary of this book.

After "mysterious" loner David Loogan helps his boss - the editor of Gray Streets, a literary magazine for mystery stories - bury a body the titular "bad things" begin to happen. Bodies pile up and suspicions are cast on David and the writers who are attached to the magazine. The central conceit - that the victims and suspects are all someho

Back-cover blurbs should serve to sell a novel, but those adorning Harry Dolan's Bad Things Happen almost made me put it down. When Nelson DeMille, Karin Slaughter and James Patterson heap kudos on a book, I start thinking, "Yeah, I bet this will end up being a hyper-commercialized title, the kind of mindless mystery that gives the term 'beach read' a bad name." But while Bad Things Happen certainly has mainstream appeal, Dolan possesses more erudition, good humor and p
I liked the idea of magazine writers in a novel trying to figure out a crime as if they were writing fiction.

The main character, the mysterious Mr. Loogan, arrives in the university town of Ann Arbor, Mich. and tries his hand at writing stories for the local magazine, Grey Streets. He is "discovered" and hired as an editor for the magazine by publisher Tom Kristoll. When Tom's apparent suicide turns out to be murder, Mr. Loogan becomes involved.

Loogan bowed his head and his eyes were lost in s
I thoroughly enjoyed "Bad Things Happen" by Harry Dolan...which is so deliciously written that it could also be titled "what is really happening". When a book starts out "The man who calls himself David Loogan" has you wondering from the beginning just what is real and what is not to be believed. The man who calls himself David Loogan is leading a quiet life in Ann Arbor, Michigan, working as an editor at a mystery magazine called "Gray Streets". One night the magazine's owner/editor and h ...more
Jun 26, 2010 stormhawk rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to stormhawk by: mollyjr
I have the good fortune to have a friend who works in a bookstore. Everybody who reads a lot should have a good friend who works in a bookstore. They get all of the best new books first, and, if you're really lucky, they have an innate sense of who might like what book ... my friend takes a lot of pleasure in matching books to people. She's not merely good at this, she's great. She'll thrust a book into your hands and say, "I think you'll like this," even if it's a book that you might not ordina ...more
Sep 29, 2013 Riley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good mystery
Shelves: 2009
Note: Harry's entry was my favorite from the 2007-2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest, and I am SO EXCITED to finally have a copy of the finished manuscript!

I have been anticipating this book for a year now, and Harry Dolan did not let me down. His style/voice is efficient, but there's an excellent wit and richness to it, without it ever feeling indulgent or amateur.

My plan this morning (around page 45) was to read "a few more pages," but once I hit around page 70, I could not stop. I
Thomas Bruso
"Bad Things Happen" is a harrowingly complicated debut novel that every mystery author wishes he could steal and call his own.

Abounding with deep characterizations and twisty storylines, Dolan's first attempt at novel writing is an exceptional and deserving result of great storytelling.

Enters David Loogan, a shady writer with a dark, tense story of his own to tell--a horrific past he wishes he could leave quiet. But from the novel's opening line, "The shovel has to meet certain requirements," Do
This literary mystery took off with "The shovel has to meet certain requirements." It just kept going with multiple murders, plot twists and lots of publishing industry detail. The hero, David Loogan, is very attractive on many levels, in addition to being properly flawed. A great read.

p.162: "What was the theme? he wanted to know. If we had to describe a Gray Streets story in one sentence, what would it be? Tom had an answer ready, almost as if he had expected the question: 'Plans go wrong, bad
Mar 22, 2011 Merredith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
This was a random pick from the new books shelf at the library, but I'm glad I got it. This is about a guy who is hiding something, who moves to a little college town, and by chance becomes an editor at a little mystery literary journal. He also becomes best friends with the guy who owns it, and lovers with that guy's wife. I imagined this little publication to be like the Alfred Hitchcock Presents publications i'd get each month in the mail when I was younger. (I miss those!). The whole book ha ...more
Ashland Mystery Oregon
Loved this book! Mysterious David Loogan lives a quiet, anonymous life in Ann Arbor, and is hired on as an editor at Gray Streets, a mystery magazine. He has an affair with the publisher's wife, and the publisher turns up dead. Who done it?

What's so clever about this book, and so funny too is that the characters, Loogan chief among them, approach the murder investigation as if it were one of the mysteries that they've read or written. All of the tropes you've come to expect in crime fiction, all
Mark Zieg
I can't honestly call this a "good" book, but it surely is a fun one -- the literary equivalent of a Snickers bar. This is grim and gritty crime noir, delivered in a deadpan sardonic drawl that never takes itself too seriously.

In a delightfully perverse twist, not only is the principle murder victim a mystery pulp editor -- slain with Shakespeare, no less -- but the entire stable of suspects are themselves mystery writers and genre junkies. Thus, nearly every conversation provides opportunity f
This is a well-written book with an intriguing main character. I liked David Loogan even though he is mysterious and I didn't get to know him very well. I also liked the detective Elizabeth Waishkey and her daughter Sarah. Bad Things Happen is a complex "whodunnit" novel and I enjoyed it until I got to the last 50 pages or so when I thought, okay, enough is enough. It's getting ridiculous now. I can't complain (specifically) about what I thought was the biggest problem of the book because that w ...more

Bad Things Happen is another murder mystery and again had a little bit of -but intense- passion/affair/love going on, which I really like. The story/plot provides a background to David Loogan which you will not find out by reading the second book, VBM. David Loogan was originally called Darrell Malone. He comes in contact with crime when he kills a guy/thief in self-defense on his date with a girl, Charlotte, on the rooftop of a parking garage he designed.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Starvation Lake
  • Faces of the Gone (Carter Ross Mystery #1)
  • The Little Sleep (Mark Genevich, #1)
  • The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)
  • Dead Anyway
  • Redemption Street (Moe Prager, #2)
  • The Blade Itself
  • Expiration Date
  • The Four Last Things (Roth, #1)
  • Safer
  • The Suspect
  • Borderlands (Inspector Devlin, #1)
  • Trail Of Blood (Theresa MacLean #3)
  • The 13th Hour
  • Old City Hall (Detective Greene, #1)
  • Original Skin (Aector McAvoy, #2)
  • The Damage Done
  • The Herring Seller's Apprentice
HARRY DOLAN is the author of the mystery/suspense novels BAD THINGS HAPPEN (2009), VERY BAD MEN (2011), and THE LAST DEAD GIRL (January 2014). He graduated from Colgate University, where he majored in philosophy and studied fiction-writing with the novelist Frederick Busch. A native of Rome, New York, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
More about Harry Dolan...

Other Books in the Series

David Loogan (3 books)
  • Very Bad Men
  • The Last Dead Girl (David Loogan, #3)
Very Bad Men The Last Dead Girl (David Loogan, #3)

Share This Book