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David Loogan #3

The Last Dead Girl

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A Wall Street Journal Best Mystery of 2014!

David Loogan’s dark past is revealed in this prequel to Bad Things Happen—the critically acclaimed mystery that Stephen King called a “great f***ing book.”

On a rainy night in April, a chance encounter on a lonely road draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. Jana is an enigma: living in a run-down apartment and sporting a bruise on her cheek that she refuses to explain. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie—until it’s too late. 

When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect. But as he sets out to uncover the truth about Jana, he begins to realize he’s treading a very dangerous path—and that her killer is watching every move he makes.

402 pages, Hardcover

First published January 9, 2014

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About the author

Harry Dolan

8 books393 followers
HARRY DOLAN is the author of the mystery/suspense novels BAD THINGS HAPPEN, VERY BAD MEN, THE LAST DEAD GIRL, and THE MAN IN THE CROOKED HAT. His new novel THE GOOD KILLER comes out on February 4, 2020, from The Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic. 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 368 reviews
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 2 books247k followers
April 11, 2019
”There was nothing he could do about it now. He needed to put her out of his mind. But that was part of the problem too. He kept thinking about her at odd moments. He had killed four women in his life, but she was the only one he regretted. Part of him wished she was still alive, because she was an innocent girl who had died because she’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. And part of him wished she was still alive so he could kill her again.

Sentimental K."

You could say it all started with The Night of the Condom Wrapper, but this story like most stories has peeled many layers off the onion before we are ever brought into the frame. With certainty, we can determine, that this was the night it all began for David Malone (AKA David Loogan from Bad Things Happen). He picks up his girlfriend’s work scrubs and a ripped condom wrapper flutters to the ground.

I do have to give Sophie credit there are no denials, no ridiculous stories trying to explain away the evidence, or an insulting and ludicrous attempt to somehow blame the other person for THEIR infidelity. She takes responsibility for a moment of weakness.

David Malone, understandingly upset, seething with indignation, and with a stomach churning with more than a dollop of self-pity goes for a drive. He stops to help a young woman who has just hit a deer with her car. The animal is thought to be dead, but in a moment reminiscent of the movie Starman the deer comes back to life and runs off to rut, spawn fawns, and eventually, most likely, join the cycle of life as dinner for some other creature.

He has met Jana Fletcher and after three days, three days that he doesn’t go home, he believes he has fallen in love.

She is brutally murdered.

David Malone is suspect numero uno.

David inspects houses for a living and because he works for himself he can set his own schedule. He has time to get himself in all kinds of trouble. He begins to poke around, talk to people, which puts him direct conflict with the lead investigative police detective, Frank Moretti. Things aren’t all that they seem with Moretti.

”You could tell me the truth,” I said.
“I’ve tried that. I’ve tried patience. I’ve given you more of my time than you deserve. So what will it take? Violence? Do I have to break something to get your attention?”
The tone was calm and his eyes had their usual tired look, but I caught a hint of something harder underneath, something he had to work to keep under control.”

That illusion to violence does prove to be necessary as David branches out his investigation to include Moretti. The more strings David pulls the less anything makes any sense. Jana was helping a lawyer investigate wrongly convicted incarcerated people and the last case she was working on involved a Gary Dean Pruett who was convicted for killing his wife. Neil Pruett, Gary’s little brother, is somehow caught up with Luke Daw and his cousin Eli. The cousins are shady guys that a high school teacher shouldn’t know and certainly shouldn’t be doing business with, but then high school teachers are generally good customers for pot.

So K killed Jana, and I can tell you that because no one has a clue who K is, including David.

So we have an unknown killer?

We can’t figure out why Jana was killed?

We think we know how the Daw cousins fit into the picture and we are WRONG.

We think Moretti is dirty, but we don’t know if it has anything to do with the investigation of Jana Fletcher’s murder.

As more bodies turn up it just adds more loose pieces.

Harry Dolan deftly, patiently, like a bonsai tree philosopher tells this tale of murder, sprinkling out more clues to us than what poor David knows from his investigation, but even with more information this reader was just as stumped as David. The killer K, frustratingly, is always a step ahead of me. Jana’s secrets are oh so much bigger than even my most outrageous speculation could have conjured. When it all comes together, the final reveal, I felt compelled to give Mr. Dolan some gloved, elegant applause for handling this tale of brutality with such tasteful style.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,318 reviews4,843 followers
December 13, 2021

In this 3rd book in the 'David Loogan' series, the protagonist (aka David Malone) gets involved in a murder inquiry when his girlfriend is killed. The book can be read as a standalone.


David Malone - a house inspector in Rome, New York - is engaged to a young doctor when he makes the chance acquaintance of law student Jana Fletcher. Malone falls hard for Jana and spends the next 10 days with her - until she's brutally murdered.

Malone is an early suspect but attention soon shifts elsewhere and Malone begins his own investigation. He discovers that Jana was working with a law professor on an "innocence project", trying to prove that Gary Pruett, a convicted high school teacher, didn't kill his wife.

During Malone's investigation he finds that a police detective may have suborned perjury to help convict Pruett. Moreover, other people in Jana's orbit have been attacked or murdered, including a woman living on Jana's street and the jailhouse snitch who testified against Pruett. Pruett himself claims that a couple of former students - one dead and one missing - killed his wife.

As the story moves along we learn that several people in the area, including Jana, have been harboring shocking secrets that explain the local "crime spree". To say more would spoil the surprises that Dolan packs into the story. This book's intricate structure and startling twists puts it a step above the usual mystery novel. Highly recommended.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Mandy.
319 reviews313 followers
October 29, 2016
Holy crap on a cracker. (4.5 stars) The ending didn't give me what I wanted but the rest of this book!? Holy moly. It started out weird and slow for me but once I got into the meat of the novel it took off and I couldn't get enough.

Twisted love story and murder and an unsolved mystery with so many characters that are connected but you don't really know how until the end.... seriously great book, I just wanted the ending to be a bit more. I was hoping for something of a miracle but it fell short.

Would HIGHLY recommend this book, I got this book last year when I joined a book group and put it on my shelf, another that I wish I had read before now. However, I'm intrigued and want to read more by this Harry Dolan. Fantastic author and held my attention to the last word. This was definitely a cross between Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter... it fell right in the middle of those fantastic reads.

Read this, you are missing out if you don't. An edge of your seat thriller with twists and turns you wouldn't believe.
Profile Image for Still.
567 reviews75 followers
March 15, 2020

I had to put this book aside this past Sunday (approx. 5 days ago) transfixed by the realities spreading across the world at this time. Pandemics have that effect on me according to whatever century I'm passing through.

I finished this one tonight. I can't write a review at this particular time because I don't know how to do that without unintentionally spewing forth spoiler upon spoiler.

This is one of the darkest noirs I've read in the past two years.
I'll try to give this novel its propers tomorrow or the next day.

Profile Image for Bookphile.
1,745 reviews96 followers
September 14, 2015
Crazy good. It made me want to go back and read his other two novels. More complete review to come.

Full review:

I've been hooked on Harry Dolan's mysteries ever since I got the chance to read an ARC of Bad Things Happen. David Loogan was such a mysterious, intriguing character, so when I heard that the newest book in the series would provide the reader with a look into Loogan's background, I was pretty excited. Of all Dolan's books, this one was my favorite because it resonated so powerfully. It's a bit difficult to review it without giving too much away as this book is chock full of twists and turns, but I'll try to keep the spoilers to the bare minimum.

One of the things I've always liked about Dolan's books is the mordant, dark sense of humor in them. Even when things are very grim, these are the kinds of books that offer readers a laugh. I don't think this is a gimmick because it also tends to make the darker moments in the narrative all the more shocking, and this book is no exception. One minutes I was laughing over something a character did or said, and the next minute I was gasping in shock.

The premise of this novel is very different from the previous two, and that's mostly to do with the fact that this one is very personal for Loogan/Malone. What I liked about this was that it made Loogan's actions in later novels make sense. As much as I enjoyed them, I always wondered what made him willing to put himself into such risky situations, and I think this book provides the reader with good insight into why he does make those choices. What Malone goes through in this book is pretty shattering, and it made it easy to see why he left his hometown and underwent an almost complete transformation.

Given that one of the main plots in this book centers on sexual violence, it isn't always an easy thing to read, and it's likely to be especially difficult for anyone who's a survivor of such a trauma. I thought Dolan wrote vividly but not in a lurid way. The reader is really in the head of the female victim, and I thought her portrayal was compelling and harrowing. Dolan does a nice job of parsing a person's psychology, showing what's going on in the victim's head and why she makes the choices she does. The ultimate outcome is very shocking, adding a lot of facets to the characters and making her very three-dimensional.

Really, that's one of the things Dolan does best, making his characters feel like complete people, no matter how small a role they play. As with his other books, there are a lot of excellent characters in this one, from Malone to Janna to a police officer with understandable but questionable morals. Dolan drops the reader into the center of a world, giving a sense that events have been leading up to the period in time in which the reader finds him/herself, rather than making it seem as though the story starts when the reader picks up the novel. This is the foundation of much of my attraction to Dolan's novels, and the thing that makes me eagerly snap them up as soon as a new one is available.

Once I finished this book, I immediately wanted to pick up the other two and reread them, because Loogan/Malone suddenly made so much more sense to me. My biggest regret with having finished this book is the time I'll have to spend waiting for Dolan's next.
704 reviews13 followers
October 29, 2013
Harry Dolan has been added to my list of authors who write great stuff. THE LAST DEAD GIRL was a thriller: Nothing new in the way of plot or characterization, but brilliant in execution and vision.

THE LAST DEAD GIRL is apparently a prequel to another Dolan book. I’m going to read it because I don’t see much in the way this book ended to make it suitable for a continuation. But I liked it a lot and I have high hopes.

The main character, David Loogan, is a snoopy guy, sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, breaking into houses, digging through private papers, asking impertinent questions, and following a detective who has threatened to rearrange his face if he doesn’t stop. Thankfully he doesn’t stop because, in the end, he solves a murder that no one was close to figuring out. Of course, in finding the killer, he starts a new episode of snooping that nearly does him in. I’ll stop here because I giving too much information.

Skillful plotting, realistic characterization, crisp writing, and creative suspense are elements to the novel that kept me reading non-stop until I finished it. That doesn’t happen often in my world of being suffocated by books. Harry Dolan knows how to think up a great story, get it down on paper, and grab a reader’s attention with the result. I’ll not echo Stephen King’s profane rant that this is a “great f------ book.” He already said it on the book’s cover, so I’ll just say, “Well said.”

Profile Image for Ann.
1,753 reviews26 followers
April 4, 2017
Very clever Harry Dolan. No freaking way could anyone have guessed who the killer was ahead of the reveal. Totally surprised, which is a thumbs up for me.

After the murder of his strange lover, Jana, David/the main character is pulled in different directions looking for the motive and killer. It was like looking for pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle. It was totally a WTH?!?! didn't see that coming kinda thing.

I appreciate that the author let the details unfold after the identity of the murderer "K" is revealed around the 3/4 mark. Not any loose threads by the end to keep you wandering "what about this or that". The story is slow to get started and a little strange. But as this tale unwinds it's hard to put down. A mixed bag of characters all with intertwining motives, intentions and connections. The surprising, totally creepy, sad conclusion constantly keeps you guessing.

A good break from my usual read.
Profile Image for Rob Twinem.
823 reviews36 followers
August 26, 2016
One night David Malone needs to have a break from his girlfriend Sophie when he finds out she has been unfaithful to him. He decides to go for a drive and meets by accident the beautiful and unpredictable Jane. There follows a steamy romantic interlude and when Jane is discovered dead Malone embarks on a course to reveal her killer and in so doing unleashes a spiders web of deceit, mayhem and murder. This is a fast fun read but with a list of characters I felt little sympathy for and a story line that is a little too pretentious and extreme to be taken seriously. I was pleased that I was able to require this book at a reduced "kindle" price (for a very limited period) as the present cost on Amazon is exorbitant (slightly under £12) and perhaps therefore a more appropriate description should be "highway robbery"
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,481 followers
January 21, 2014
Great book
Dead Girl is a slow starter but worth it. Dolan is stylistic in the way he uses point of view alternating first person with the main point of view character and third with the others. He also moves from the past to the present in a seamless manner. The plot is complicated and evolves in a unique manner that I loved.
Profile Image for Boris Feldman.
716 reviews36 followers
December 12, 2013
I predict that this will be the "Gone Girl" of 2014. Will be released in January. I had an ARC.
Third by this author, but a prequel. Superb plot. Has taken the writing up a level from the prior works. The perfect vacation read.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,586 reviews1,987 followers
October 4, 2014
A really good, really solid crime novel that appears at first to be simple and then unfolds into some impressively meticulous plotting that takes you by surprise is something to be treasured. I knew Harry Dolan was pretty amazing after reading BAD THINGS HAPPEN, but he continues to impress.

THE LAST DEAD GIRL has a noir-ish feel, with simple prose and a hero of few words. He often knows he's being stupid and yet he pushes forward anyway. This is a pretty common trait in this type of book. If the protagonist doesn't push stupidly forward, nothing happens. But luckily Dave Malone knows he's being stupid, knows he's pushing the boundaries, and the self-awareness goes a long way to get you on his side.

I think I can safely put Dolan on my list of super-awesome crime novelists now.
Profile Image for Amy.
90 reviews25 followers
September 11, 2020
Stephen King recommended this book, and that's all I needed. This was a great "whodunit" that kept me reading late into the night. I was totally blown away by the identity of the killer. I love to be fooled, and Dolan succeeded more than once. I will definitely read the other two books in this series!
Profile Image for Washington Post.
199 reviews22.6k followers
January 14, 2014
This is dark material, yet Dolan balances it with his portrayal of a world much like the one we know. Malone is a likable fellow, his romantic tribulations ring true, he quotes good poetry, and we cheer his determination to find Jana’s killer. This is a world in which people smoke weed, bum cigarettes and cheat on their spouses, a world in which popsicle sticks become important clues, and Malone recalls the boyhood pleasures of catching fireflies on summer evenings, even as the killer conspires to catch him.

Dolan is an inventive, offbeat writer who manages to provide an entertaining mystery and a scary look at psychopaths who do horrific things to people. His David Malone novels deserve the praise they’ve received. Most likely, we’ll keep learning more about the trouble-prone Mr. Malone for years to come.

Read our review: http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...
Profile Image for Mike.
91 reviews
March 2, 2014
This book.... Cancel all your meetings. Forward your mail. Set your out of office message. Hang the IV drip. You will check out of humanity and into Rome New York for the duration of the read.

Dolan is a master wordsmith. His name-changing protagonist David Malone (the one in the last novel that was debating which kind of shovel a person would use to dig a grave) remains a mysterious figure, yet I feel like I know him.

Quality mystery! Extreme noir!
Profile Image for Purvika.
138 reviews105 followers
July 23, 2014
The last dead girl, it has been long since I read a crime thriller in fact if I am to be frank, I prefer to watch then read. Why ? The answer is simple ; I don't get the feel while reading which I experience while watching it. The feeling of anticipation. Whenever I read a book (crime thriller), I never felt this one feeling; the completeness. Every damn time something was missing. Something that made me think of a different scene to what was present before me. Every time the feeling of discontent, the disappointment. Then I stopped reading crime thrillers. Then, I came across this book, liked its synopsis and added to TBR. It was resting there from how long is not known to me. But, this month when I was paired in a buddy read I and my buddy meera decided to read this book along with another one... As usual the disappointment clouded me when I finished the first book then came to this one...... And what I felt was beyond words. The close enough word for me will be elation. When I finished the book I felt the completeness of a story in a very splendid way. I am not a bummer for happy endings, and I will not tag the ending in any kind of way. For me there could not have been better ending than what the story had.

The plot

The plot itself was so contemplative, that one has to sit and think about what will happen next. The pace at which the story progressed gave it a haunting allure. It wasn't just a story....rather a tale. A tale of a past. This book showed how every life has a story of its own and every action creates a chain reaction. Sometimes which indeed does good and other time; Collateral Damage.

The Characters It often happens that after I finish a book my favorite characters are normally side kicks. Those who were not in limelight yet they were the tiny thread which bind the story together. But this time my favorite are not one, not two but three.

David : His determination and love for Jana never faltered even once. Even after he got a blow to his kidney. He was the only character without any shade of gray. His need to find the truth took me in. Just loved this one.

Jana : She inspired me. Her will and strength made me realize we can achieve something if we really want it to even after giving a small sacrifice. Her courage was her main trait.

K : I have never in my life experienced the direct thought of a coldblooded murderer. It was exhilarating knowing what was happening in that mind of his while carrying out his plan. It was the disturbingly exciting experience.

The End Well as I had already said there could not have been a better end then the book already had. Every thing was perfectly synchronized. In fact if the author hadn't added one tiny part I would have felt "something is missing" ....but not even once during the entire read I could point out anywhere saying "this could have happens better if done differently".......

Thank you all for reading ....I will wrap it up with my favorite quotes from the book

“I am never away from you. Even now, I shall not leave you. In another world, I shall be still that one who loves you, loves you beyond measure, beyond—”

Sometimes I think life is just one long string of accidents.”

Part of him wished she was still alive, because she was an innocent girl who had died because she’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. And part of him wished she was still alive so he could kill her again.

Sentimental K.

Recommendations : For those who seek Thriller, for whom thriller is a way to life, for those who get adrenaline from reading such tales........

Happy reading.... :)

Profile Image for switterbug (Betsey).
819 reviews752 followers
November 15, 2013
Harry Dolan’s comic noir, BAD THINGS HAPPEN, was tight and absorbing, with an even mix of cerebral and emotional energy to keep me satisfied, and characters that developed organically with the plot. That piqued my interest in reading this prequel, which clues the reader into how and why David Loogan (Malone) became interested in investigating crime, particularly murder.

It begins in David’s hometown, Rome, New York, where David is a home inspector, and engaged to a surgeon. When she admits to sleeping with a colleague, David disengages and ends up having an affair with a beautiful law student, Jana Fletcher, a first-year law student. After a ten-day intense involvement, he discovers her dead in her apartment. The rest of the story focuses on David investigating the crime, against the wishes of the lead detective, Morelli, who possesses a menacing streak. Morelli becomes Malone’s nemesis, with secrets of his own to hide.

As David probes deeper into Jana’s life, he discovers she was working on the Innocent Project, run by a veteran lawyer and aimed at helping select convicts prove that they were wrongfully convicted. Jana’s pet project, assisting a man who was convicted of killing his wife, piques David’s interest, and leads to more potential clues in her death.

Dolan provides a sleek, lean narrative that moves at a crisp pace. He builds tension and slips in a number of red herrings to throw you off the scent while you are trying to solve Jana’s murder with David, which adds a sense of immediacy to the story.

The characters are fairly described, but none so well as Jana. At times, I felt that Dolan slipped too far into genre and appointed his suspects and persons of interest with facile strokes. Some of the motivations of characters and turns of plot felt less than authentic, but Dolan constructed his connections neatly as the bodies pile up.

A few moments descended into the cartoonish, but Dolan pulled back in time to try and keep it real. This was less noir than his first book, more of a typical crime story. I had fun while I was there, but it wasn’t as engrossing as I expected. Recommended as a quick escape but not unputdownable.
Profile Image for Bonnie Brody.
1,172 reviews185 followers
December 21, 2014
One evening, after a blow-out with his fiancee, Dave Malone takes a long drive by himself. He happens onto Jana Fletcher who has hit a deer. Dave offers her help and one thing leads to another with them ending up in her apartment. Jana is mysterious. She has a large bruise on her cheek and is not forthcoming about how she got it. Dave is suspicious that someone hit her. They spend nine days together and, during that time, Jana has the feeling that someone is stalking her. Dave gets back to her apartment on their ninth evening and finds her dead. He is determined to find out what happened and why she was killed.

There is a lot of complexity and characterization in this novel which also allows for a lot of red herrings. Barring the red herrings, the novel is a delicious read and a real page-turner.

It appears that Jana is a law student who has been working on the Innocence Project with a professor. Could her work on this project be related to her murder? Then there are other murders that may be related to Jana's and they seem to pile up. Dave doesn't exactly trust the head detective on the case and they have their own run-ins.

The characters are interesting, well fleshed out and show depth. I welcomed the surprise ending and like the way the novel arrived there.
Profile Image for Maureen DeLuca.
1,025 reviews32 followers
December 6, 2016
This book had more twists and turns than a Disney 'e' ticket ride... Our main character David Malone (who at the time is engaged) meets a young lady named Jana- who on a rainy night hit a doe- David stops the car to help her out and from their a bizarre turn of events takes place.

A few days later Jana is murdered and David is hauled in as a suspect by Detective Morretti. From there David explains to the detective that he 'thinks' he can help solve the murder of Jana. It's not an overly complicated murder mystery, and you are revealed parts of the plot through the eyes of the killer, so it is not so much solving the crime , but the back story leading up to the crime.

The back-story that is gradually revealed is creepy and intriguing and bizarre and will have you turning pages -- what I found hard to believe is that David seems to put all these pieces together, bit by bit to solve all these murders- that is what just didn't work for me. For that reason I ALMOST didn't finish the book- but having invested so much into it- I figured - OK David- walk me through this and tell me what happened and why......

Normally I read series in order - I have no idea how I got book 3 before reading 1, and 2-Reviews on books 1 and 2 also seem to be quite good- just may have to do that one day !

Profile Image for Linda.
530 reviews
July 14, 2016
I confess, I didn't read this from beginning to end. I kept asking myself why David cared & would risk everything to find out what really happened to Jana. He'd only known her for 10 days before her murder. He was engaged to someone else. Why when he was cleared of being a suspect didn't he just get on with his life. Just didn't seem plausible to me. I did skim thru the middle & read the last third but this just wasn't a page turner for me.
Profile Image for Lauren.
101 reviews6 followers
November 17, 2017
Neo-noir, is that a thing? This is like that book everyone's mom reads for their book club... but well-written and laced with noir.
A true Hitchcock beginning; the Everyman-in-a-bind-he-doesn't-understand-but-damn-if-he-won't-investigate-his-way-out-of-it scenario. Clever use of multiple points-of-view and time jumps. Murder!! Suspense!! Mystery!! If you're looking for a modern Jake Gittes (I'll never read that name NOT in John Huston's creepy drawl), this is your book.
Profile Image for Janet.
207 reviews4 followers
December 10, 2017
Kind of a tangled mess of a story that stretches credulity. We’re expected to believe that the protagonist, Dave Malone, a home inspector—not a cop, not a PI, not a lawyer, not a journalist—a home inspector who apparently has a lot of time on his hands, will go to the lengths he does to investigate the murder of a woman he’s known for only 10 days and for which he himself is under suspicion. Still, I did stick with it to the end because I wanted to find out what happened, so there’s that.
Profile Image for Annette.
923 reviews26 followers
January 7, 2014
The Last Dead Girl is twisted! It's not at all what you think, and the story kept me guessing.

David and his fiance have separated after he discovers she has cheated on him. He picks up a girl, Jana, and spends the next ten days with her. Then....she is murdered. David, who naturally is a suspect, is obsessed with finding out what happened to Jana. He doesn't believe that the landlord did it -- which is the direction the police begin to take.

This story becomes such a tangled web! David begins to trace all of Jana's acquaintances, and it turns out she was trying to help prove the innocence of a man who is in jail for killing his wife. About halfway through the book, we begin to get flashbacks of Jana's life after she left her mother and decided to head to New York and try to become an actress. With the help of these flashbacks, things slowly begin to fall together, but it's totally unbelievable. (In a good way.)

Dolan can really spin a yarn. Who comes up with this stuff? I really didn't even realize that the "David" in The Last Dead Girl is the same David in Bad Things Happen. This book is a prequel, and I didn't catch the last name of the character. Anyway, it didn't really matter, and I've enjoyed all Dolan's books. I would recommend The Last Dead Girl to anyone who likes mystery/detective novels. Even though this is an adult book, I think teens will also enjoy The Last Dead Girl, so I'm going to make sure I recommend it to my mystery fans.
Profile Image for Bill.
238 reviews9 followers
January 14, 2014
Mr. Dolan has done it again. He creates believable characters, puts them into realistic settings, and then proceeds to chop down the foundations of everything you know that is good and right in this world. He tells a story that is so creepy that you hope that it could never really happen, but you are afraid that it could. You say to yourself that people couldn't really treat another human being like this, but then you think of all the news-stories that you hear about human trafficking and you aren't so sure. Everything is suspect, nothing may be what you think.

This is a very well written thriller. If you have read his other books, you know that Mr. Dolan thinks that there are some very bad men out there, who do some very bad things. If you haven't read his previous novels, then this will be a great introduction to an excellent writer. He will lead you into places that you may not want to go. This is not a book filled with blood and gore, this is a book filled with human darkness.

I can't say that I loved this book, because it is so dark, but I really enjoyed reading the story. I give it 5 Stars out of 5 and 2 Big Thumbs Up. I recommend it to fans of thrillers, who aren't afraid of the worst that men have in their souls.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com and edelweiss.com.
Profile Image for Judy.
Author 14 books22 followers
February 26, 2014
In the third installment of Harry Dolan's mystery series featuring David Loogan, we learn a segment of Loogan's (David Malone in this novel) past.

The book opens in an interview room at the Rome, NY Police Department where Malone is accused of murdering a woman he's known for 10 days. Malone is not a very convincing murder suspect, and is released.

Malone met Jana Fletcher on a rainy road 10 nights before, and they had been together ever since, until the night he came home from work and found her in a pool of blood on the living room floor. Clues abound--the murder weapon (a two-by-four that held votive candles), a box made from popsickle sticks--we just don't know what they mean yet.

In the previous days, Malone had fallen in love with Jana Fletcher, a law student at the local university. His nagging need to know more about her leads him down a twisted path few of us could imagine and through a maze of terrible crimes. Malone manages to follow the leads, often by sheer dumb luck, but mostly through using the "little grey cells". He is methodical, likable, and nice to women. This guy is a keeper!

It's is a book I couldn't put down. Welcome Harry Dolan to the mystery writing elite. Wow, I wish I could write like that! This one had it all.
Profile Image for David Ketelsen.
Author 1 book11 followers
December 30, 2013
I read Bad Things Happen a couple of years ago and was blown away. So when I won an advanced readers copy of Harry Dolan's new book, Last Dead Girl from Library Thing I was overjoyed. While this book features a much younger version of David Loogan, Dolan's ability to layer plot elements into a quilt of intrigue is even more pronounced in this book. Last Dead Girl is a real winner, a book that keeps you guessing and turning pages as it delivers shocks and surprises again and again.

If there's a theme to the book it's that chance occurrences can change your life. An argument with your mother, a fall from a tree, a friendly guitarist at a roadside restaurant, driving off in a huff, following someone to see where he's going---you just never know. Dolan uses a scattered timeline to help hide surprises until he wants you to see them---and the technique works amazingly well here. For an author with only a few books under his belt, Dolan has amazing chops and the second half of this novel is a masterly illustration of just how to structure a book.
Profile Image for Thomas Bruso.
Author 20 books183 followers
July 1, 2014
Fans of BAD THINGS HAPPEN comes another ripping good read by one of the most suspenseful authors working today.

Harry Dolan knows how to keep his readers glued to his stories. In THE LAST DEAD GIRL, told from a few different perspectives, mostly in flashbacks, the story of three dead girls makes headlines in small town America. The most recent murder revolves around a girl named Jana Fletcher. And David Logan, the man who accidentally crosses her path on a rainy night in April, is drawn into a case of unspeakable violence, joining the long list of suspects. The characters seem to fly off the page, sucking you into the riveting story.

Scary, absorbing, and saturated with suspense, the latest Harry Dolan novel is a must-read for fans of suspense and thrillers. THE LAST DEAD GIRL becomes an obsession for both Dolan's characters and the reader.
Profile Image for Valerie.
699 reviews39 followers
May 3, 2015
I found this book, a prequel to "Bad Things Happen" which I read in 2009, to be simply excellent. David Malone, or Loogan, is living in Rome, New York and is engaged to be married to a young surgeon when he meets Jana Fletcher by way of what could have been a serious accident, when a doe jumps into the middle of the road. David starts spending time with Jana, and inevitably, falls in love with her. However, Jana is murdered, and it turns out she had many secrets, as well as do most of the characters in this book. I have to say I was simply overwhelmed at all the different scenarios the author presented in telling this very, very interesting tale. As the book serves to remind the reader, how well does one really know anyone?

Mr. Dolan is a very good writer, and there is only one of his books I have not read yet, but hopefully, I will obtain a copy of that one fairly soon.
Profile Image for Marian.
287 reviews5 followers
November 30, 2016
This story was a thriller,and oh boy,was it ever.This was my very first Harry Dolan book..just saying:)You might be thinking ohh..another thriller.But this one folks,well,what got me in this thriller,was the execution of the story.I enjoyed this book very much,but I didn't see any continue in the next book.So far Im thinking that,yes,you can read this book as a stand alone..at least for now.I do have his "Bad Things Do Happen" here so we shall see as this book is a prequel to "Bad Things Do Happen.Personally,I would recommend this book if you like a great thriller!Good job Harry Dolan:)
Profile Image for Bob.
135 reviews18 followers
June 15, 2016
I can't say enough good things about a novel that will stick in my mind for a long, long time. What starts simply enough for a crime novel....guy finds girlfriend murdered....becomes an incredibly complex and eventually harrowing puzzle. The voices and time periods shift constantly, each adding to the mystery rather than confusing the path to the eventual solution.

Since it's a prequel, there's no need to worry about Harry Dolan's other two books in the series. I read them ages ago and will certainly go back and reread them again in the hope that they're this good.
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