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Bad Things Happen

(David Loogan #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  5,512 ratings  ·  944 reviews
The man who calls himself David Loogan is leading a quiet, anonymous life in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He’s hoping to escape a violent past he would rather forget. 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. Wh ...more
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published July 23rd 2009 by Putnam Adult (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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***3.5 Stars*** This mystery was an appealing debut novel, noirish in style and tone. I listened to an audio which may not have been the best format for enjoyment. Keeping track of the many subplots and secondary characters was challenging at times. I frequently read suspense novels; and, honestly they are often forgettable. This one was impressive with clever literary references and a cut above the others that I’ve read. I look forward to finding more novels by this author.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bayb-2018

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;
James Thane
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
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.

Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 about. I
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: robert-s-reads
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
J.K. Grice
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I read this book 7 years ago and still recall the feeling of mediocrity as I turned the pages. For me personally, the starred reviews were hype with regard to how Dolan handled this novel.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, thriller
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
Larry H
I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, and there's nothing more frustrating than when I can figure out where the plot is going or who the murderer is before it's revealed. When a book keeps me guessing, I'm hooked. And that's why I loved Harry Dolan's debut novel, Bad Things Happen. I had my suspicions about where the plot would go. Sometimes I was right and sometimes I was wrong, but the book took so many twists and turns, I found myself surprised from time to time, and not because of random ...more
Dec 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 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,
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jim Loter
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*
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
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
Jul 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
David R. Dowdy
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
In a time when politicians have blown past any sense of normal, one needs fiction that is all the more convoluted. That's how BTH feels with its multitude of twists. A novel that even Stephen King and I can agree on at that.

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
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was really interesting on several levels. I'd never heard of this author before and was delightfully sucked into the story immediately. Also delighted to see he has other books already published and is young and, hopefully, still writing. The story itself was kind of convoluted about authors and jealousies. But, even now finished there is still a mystery about the main protagonist. And a second in the series. So... excellent!
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A complex murder mystery or I should say, a multiple murder mystery with multiple suspects with a variety of motives seriously challenged my level of deductive reasoning. Mysterious stranger David Loogan arrives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and manages to be hired as an editor by Tom, the publisher of "Gray Streets", a crime fiction literary magazine. David and Tom become friends, David begins an affair with Tom's beguiling wife Lauren and shortly thereafter as the title alludes, bad things happen. Ex ...more
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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

Sep 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
It seems like lately I’ve been reading a lot of debut novels. I didn’t plan it, but on several occasions I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Such was the case when I picked up “Bad things happen” by first time novelist Harry Dolan.

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)
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: d, 2016

"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.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, series, mystery, debut
This book already has 856 reviews so whatever I was going to say has probably already been said.

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
3.5 stars

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,
Don Gorman
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
(3 1/2). This is about as entertaining as it can be. An interesting and engaging protagonist, a lady detective with a teenage daughter who is really attracted to him, and a whole cast of mystery writers who are up to all kinds of mischief. This story draws you in right from the beginning and builds very nicely. A couple of great twists at the end make it even better. I sure hope we get another David Loogan story because this one was a gas.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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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 Y ...more

Other books in the series

David Loogan (3 books)
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