Sharon's Reviews > Bad Things

Bad Things by Michael Marshall Smith
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May 02, 09


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 return to the Washington state town where the death happened, and then things really take off.

This book reminded me very much of the Stephen King novels in which a stranger comes to town and is surrounded by strange incidents that everyone seems to know about and understand except himself. People all around him are dying or being hurt, and the police tell him to get out of town while the getting is good, for example.

When the "villain" is revealed, it's almost anticlimactic in this case; I started to see it coming in the constant admonitions to "leave that person alone" from the townspeople. However, the plot action that leads to this denouement reveals some new wrinkle at every turn and makes for a very cohesive and entertaining read.

(Review based on uncorrected advance reader's edition.)
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