Bad Things Happen
This story reminds me of a contest that was used to promote a science fiction mini-series a while back. The plot of the mini-series revolved around multiple murders, and people entering the contest had to try to solve the crimes. Well the solution was VERY tricky and I was completely wrong. 😏
To get on with the review:
A mysterious man who calls himself David Loogan arrives in Ann Arbor and rents a furnished house near the University of Michigan. Loogan, who has no job, hangs out at coffee shops; ...more
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, 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 ...more
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 about. I ...more
David Loogan can juggle more than just oranges, and he ha ...more
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, ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
The story has a noir quality of presenting an everyday, straightforward murder that soon throws our protagonist into a deep pit of muck where the struggle to separate fact from conjecture seems impossible to overcome.
The more one learns, the more one finds what he knows is no ...more
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...more
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 ...more
The book was unsettling for many reasons. First and foremost because the reader doesn’t know who the protagonist is for the bulk of the book. He is referred to for the most part as ‘the man who calls himself David Loogan’. Who is he really? An ex-cop (therefore a good guy) ...more
"Witty, sophisticated, suspenseful and endless fun..." -- The Washington Post
The man who calls himself DAVID LOOGAN is hoping to escape a violent past by leading a quiet, anonymous life in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But his solitude is broken when he finds himself drawn into a friendship with Tom Kristoll, publisher of the mystery 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. ...more
I apparently wasn't paying attention and missed reading any of Dolan's books until now. Left to my own devices, I'm more likely to read mysteries with a cutesy title or cats on the cover. But there were these two women in the library and one of them was telling the other one that if she was looking for something to read, she should really read Harry Dolan's new book. She recommended it so highly, tha ...more
An excellent debut novel by a Michigan-based crime author that had somehow slipped by me. Written along the lines of the old noir classics, the dialogue and characters are spare and non-descriptive, which only adds to the book's readability. (The more spare the writing, the less likely it is to be done well. This is done well.) Multiple red herrings and twisty turns--a very enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading more by Dolan.
My one solid complaint is that it's set in Ann Arbor, ...more
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 ...more