A new book in the nationally bestselling series that has wowed critics and readers alike. David Loogan returns! Loogan is living in Ann Arbor with Detective Elizabeth Waishkey and her daughter, Sarah. He's settled into a quiet routine as editor of the mystery magazine "Gray Streets"-until one day he finds a manuscript outside his door. It begins: ""I killed Henry Kormoran."" Anthony Lark has a list of names-Terry Dawtrey, Sutton Bell, Henry Kormoran. To his eyes, the names glow red on the page. They move. They breathe. The people on the list have little in common except that seventeen years ago they were involved in a notorious robbery. And now Anthony Lark is hunting them down, and he won't stop until every one of them is dead.
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.
Not quite a 4 star read, but darn close & anyone who looks over my ratings will see that I usually rate this sort of book with only 3 stars. Dolan has a really twisty mind, though. Motivations are not what they seem & everyone has secrets that slowly come together into a wonderful ending. I'm very impressed by how well Dolan managed all the bits & pieces. Every time I wondered how the mystery could get deeper, Dolan did it in such an unexpected, perfect way that I almost chortled with delight.
The first book was better simply because the hero was also part of the mystery. While this book stands well enough alone, I don't think David Loogan was all that well drawn, so don't start with this book. You must read the first else he's a rather lackluster hero. He's an every-man with an over developed sense of justice & curiosity that doesn't seem quite 'real' without the history of the first book.
The point of view changed a bit too frequently. It may have really bothered me if I was reading for extended periods of time. As it was, my reading was choppy, 30 minutes here & there, so I could roll with it pretty easily.
There is a third book & I'd be interested if it was reasonably priced. $11 for the Kindle edition is too steep, though. If it was $5 or under, I'd snatch it up, even though I don't really want to read another right now.
3 1/2 - An ARC won through Librarything and a thrilling story with strong characters. Logan, editor of Grey Streets, is at times amusing and at times brash, his girlfriend, she of the glass beads, is a dtective who is called to investigate a dead body at the same time Logan receives a manuscript detailing the murder. Alot of suspense, twists and turns as they try to figure out the perpetrator of the crimes. Good read for all suspense afficiendos.
I attended an author reading when Mr. Dolan's first book, "Bad Things Happen," was published and found the contrast between the author - to this roomful of strangers: quiet, reserved, read from the book, that was it, no questions, nothing, looked pained in front of an audience, a total cipher - and the fabulous, complex book he'd written to be striking. Happily, none of that complexity has been blown entirely on the first book - this second title, "Very Bad Men," is really complex, maybe a wee bit over much (but only a teensy bit), with all kinds of unexpected plot twists and turns, all set in the fabulous Ann Arbor, Michigan locale. Mr. Dolan's brain is a wondrous thing! And he writes really well, too - just enough noir to keep things fun, but not over the top.
The book takes place during a hot Michigan summer (the really hot bit that straddles July to August), and as in "Bad Things Happen" Mr. Dolan sticks to geography and local color authenticity - really fun for Ann Arborites and Michigan alums who miss the joint.
It is a decent second novel, but I don't like it as its prequel Bad Things Happen, the opening is very strong (the murderer is so very damn clever and creative), the developments of the murderer's POV and the schemes about the politician's family are good too. The ending isn't bad either, but it is a weak comparing with the breathtaking opening.
There is kind of a leap from Bad Things Happen to this book since David is now living with Elizabeth and her daughter, Sarah. David is the editor of Grey Streets magazine, the job that he accepted near the end of the first book. Considering how little time he spends in the office, one wonders when the next issue will be published.
There is an intricate plot with a large cast of characters. What I was told about this book before reading it was that it was like an episode of "Columbo" because we know the bad guy at the beginning of the book and we watch the detective pursue him. But that information was incorrect; we know who the killer is at the beginning of the book but not who the bad guys are. The sheriff snaps the cuffs on the killer with 210 pages left in the book.
The book is not without flaws - several reviewers have gone into detail, but there was plenty here for me to like. I like the killer, a color-graphemic synesthete. I like David, the mystery magazine editor that fantasies are made of. Elizabeth is OK as the girlfriend (Very much like David Rosenfelt's character, Laurie, and oh so much better than Robert B. Parker's Suze) and her daughter, Sarah, is very personable as is Nick, the other teenager in the book. Since it's too late to read the prequel The Last Dead Girl in chronological order, I'm saving it for later and looking forward to reading The Man in the Crooked Hat next.
This new novel from the author of the acclaimed “Bad Things Happen,” his writing debut, has no ‘sophomore book’ problems. “Very Bad Men” immediately engages the reader, and one is quickly drawn into this compelling tale of murder, specifically, the murder of two men who were part of a bank robbery seventeen years ago, and the attempted murder of a third. All three men had been convicted, and served jail time of varying lengths. But what could be the motive? These three men had not seen nor contacted one another in all the intervening years. And the killer – for his identity is quickly revealed – is not a cool, professional hit man; that is immediately made clear.
David Loogan, the editor-in-chief of a mystery magazine, receives, in a plain, unmarked envelope, what at first glance appears to be a manuscript, only several pages long, bearing no signature, the first line of which reads “I killed Henry Kormoran . . . “ Loogan, who lives with his ‘significant other,’ Elizabeth Waishkey, an Ann Arbor, Michigan, detective, and her precocious 16-year-old daughter, ultimately begins a kind of parallel and unofficial investigation.
Each character in the novel is wonderfully well-drawn. These include the killer, who suffers from synesthesia, a rare affliction which results in a confusion of the senses, with words taking on dimensions far beyond their ‘normal’ printed appearance, according to his emotional reaction to them; Lucy Navarro, a young and rather endearing reporter, who comes up with a bizarre theory of the motive for the crimes;assorted politicians and their ‘handlers, among others. The writer invokes some wildly disparate images: Occam and his razor, Aristotle, jazz musician Charlie Parker; mystery authors Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly; and a theme: “We all want to be known. To be seen for who we really are.” There are carefully placed, and easily missed clues, and startling and unexpected twists in this engrossing novel, which is highly recommended.
I remember coming across Harry Dolan's work in the 2008 Amazon novel contest. His prose was clean and compelling. Tinged with a gallows humor. Very Bad Men is no different. While mysteries are not my preferred genre, the author pulls me into his story with sparse, compelling dialog and provocative situations. One of my favorite scenes involves killer Anthony Lark and a curious neighbor across the hall.
She knocks at his door because her cat has gone missing. She wants to give him a flyer in case he sees the cat. She is Indian with long black hair. He wants to get rid of her but she lingers. She keeps looking past him into his apartment. Perhaps she thinks he is hiding the cat. He invites her into his apartment. She asks many questions. Where is he from? What does he do? She spills the drink he offers her on herself and asks to use his washroom. Was it any accident or intentional? She journeys deeper into his apartment. He finds her annoying and thinks of how easy it would be to fish the butcher knife out of the drawer and make her disappear. The way she lingers, we start to hope Anthony Lark does just that. Why won't she leave? The ambiguity of this character is riveting. The six page chapter is delicious.
If you enjoy good writing, you can't go wrong with Very Bad Men.
I didn't like this book at all. I missed the first one in the series so that may have something to do with why I found the protagonist so lackluster and underdeveloped. The awkwardly named David Loogan edits a small mystery magazine (a job that would pay next to nothing and since he barely finishes editing one story in the course of the book I kept wondering how the hell he supported himself). One day he finds a ms. outside the door to his office, where the writer takes responsibility for the murder of a local man, and details his plans to kill a few others. Believing it to be true, David and his detective girlfriend go off in search of the truth behind the mystery manuscript. Many, many characters are introduced, few of which register with enough singularity so that you remember them. I kept asking myself, who's this guy again? Which character is he? An overload of twists and turns never seemed organic to the book but more of a device to show off how clever the author is. And he is, but his awkward POV changes and drawn out exposition gradually made me disengage emotionally from the book. I didn't believe a word of it. It's not that I don't recognize the author's talent -- but more that his windbag style made me lose all patience with his book. It's a matter of taste, that's all.
Harry Dolan had me from the beginning of the book. It starts with David Loogan's memory which sets the tone with terrific ambience - I could feel what kind of character Loogan was going to be from that first moment. I hadn't read Dolan's other book about Loogan but I didn't need to as this story gave me just enough to detail to help me feel comfortable with the original characters. Loogan is the editor for Gray Streets a mystery magazine where he receives a very interesting notebook - more of a manuscript - that starts with "I killed Harry Korman in his apartment on Linden Street" at the very moment Loogan's partner, Elizabeth Waishkey, a police detective finds Harry Korman, indeed dead in his apartment. From there the story goes from one fast-paced clue/red herring to another. On the way Dolan introduces us to some terrific characters, including Sarah, Elizabeth's precocious teenage daughter, a senator, and a beguiling lady reporter and are just a few of the well-developed characters. The end left me breathless after such a roller coaster ride. At first I was dissatisfied with the ending but then I realized that Dolan did a beautiful job tying the end back to the beginning and I was satisfied.
The author clearly has a thing for hair. In the first book I lost count of all the raven locks and chestnut tresses that spilled over the pages. Unfortunately, the hair porn persists in book number two. Not only are the raven locks still around, now people's pants are being compared to raven hair. As in: "her slacks were the color of her raven hair". So, black slacks. Gotcha. It's a minor detail, I know, but I can't seem to get over it. What compels a man to obsess about women's hair so much? I want to know! Ok, the hair isn't the only thing I minded. The narrative shifting between first and third person was jarring. I guess I should be grateful that the hair didn't get its own voice. Nevertheless, it's a suspensful, perfectly entertaining crime novel if you can overlook these things.
Terrific follow up to Bad Things Happen with David Loogan continuing his exploits, this time looking into an old bank robbery and its possible connection to a promising politician and a disturbed man bent on revenge. Dolan is a fantastic writer and the plot moves along swiftly with everything coming to a satisfactory resolution. Plenty of mystery in this one with well-designed revelations along the way. 4.5 stars.
I listened to this more than six years ago, and, somewhat to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I say that because, although has been overwhelmingly classified as a mystery, its structure is more like a thriller. We know from the beginning that Anthony Lark is the killer, and that David Loogan, an editor and sometime writer, is the "detective." In fact, Elizabeth, with whom he lives along with her teenage daughter, is a police detective. The motivation for Lark is the mystery, and figuring out why is a route to finding him.
At this late date, I'll keep this short. My sentiments have already been stated by several other reviewers; the review by Sandy expresses them at least as well as I could. The bonus for me is that the action takes place in and around Ann Arbor, where I lived for many years, and is also the home of the author. I'll read more of Dolan.
The setting is Ann Arbor, where I live, but somehow there was no thrill in seeing familiar landmarks spelled out on the page. Maybe that's because the book just never grabbed me. I realized about 2/3 of the way through that the missing element was a clear motivation for the protagonist to act like a detective. He's a magazine editor, not a professional sleuth. His domestic partner is the detective. So why is he compelled to hunt the killer? He's certainly not authorized to do some of what he does. Were his history made clear (apparently it's made clear in the precursor to this book, which I didn't read), then I'd have happily hopped on for the ride. Most books with sequels reiterate the core elements in each book, so that the reader is not obliged to have plowed through the early ones to appreciate the later ones. Each should stand on its own. Having said all this, it's clear this writer has talent for writing cliffhangers. Each chapter ends (conscientiously) dripping mystery. But it's a talent that struck me as superficial - similar to using a play-script format to set words on a page and then calling oneself a playwright.
Once I realized why I couldn't cotton to the story, I couldn't keep reading. I read about 350 pages, with about 40 left to go, but I just couldn't pick the book up again.
A complex plot in this new thriller from Harry Dolan, the second to feature mystery magazine editor David Loogan and his live-in girl friend, Detective Elizabeth Waishkey.
We know the killer right off. Anthony Lark and it's tied into a seventeen year old bank robbery attempt. Five men, one killed, the driver escaped, never to be heard from, and the other three captured, but not before one of them shot a Sheriff that wandered into the bank right in the middle of things, leaving him in a wheelchair. The shooter got thirty years, the other two lesser sentences and had lived clean lives since then.
Lark leaves a manuscript at Loogan's office laying out his aim to kill them all.
While all this is going on, we learn that the daughter of the paraplegic ex-sheriff is running for the Senate, her father-in-law is retiring, and there's a young reporter stirring things up about the old robbery and the connection with the would-be politician.
Plot twists keep coming in this one, keeping me off balance all the way through as I kept trying to figure where the author was taking the story.
David Loogan is back, and the bad guys better beware. Just like in the highly enjoyable first book, readers can expect lots of twists and layers, intriguing characters, and even more from intrepid police detective Elizabeth and her precocious daughter Sarah. Of course, the main appeal is the protagonist. Harry Dolan has created a winning main character in Loogan, a mystery magazine editor and reluctant gumshoe who is reminiscent of the creations of Robert B. Parker or even Chandler and Hammett. This series is a must for mystery lovers.
Not quite as entertaining as Dolan's first novel, Bad Things Happen, which had the wonderful links to the publishing world, it's still as unusual and complicated. Loogan is an interesting character as is the relationship between him and Elizabeth. I'll read more of Dolan.
I was surprised that I liked this book so much. It was very suspenseful and filled with a lot of mysteries. They seemed to contradict each other and confused me many times, but in the end, they all made sense and connected with each other logically. The solution to the whole complicated web of lies and secrets really paid off.
Second in the series about mystery magazine editor David Loogan, who always seems to be in a position of helping police (including his lover, detective Elizabeth Waishkey) investigate murders (even when they don't want his help). This time, the victims are some of the men who robbed a bank and crippled a sheriff about 17 years earlier. Good mystery and some interesting characters.
Harry Dolan is one of those authors who, when I finish a book, I immediately start looking for the next one. It's easier if you discover those authors after they've written a dozen books or so, otherwise the wait is agonizing!
"Very Bad Men" - written by Harry Dolan and published in 2011 by the Penguin Group. This mystery starts slowly, but picks up steam pretty quickly. David Loogan edits a mystery magazine called "Gray Streets" and teams up with police detective Elizabeth Waishkey when an unsigned manuscript comes his way detailing murders recently committed and more to come. Loogan tells the reader, "We'll have to put aside the usual rules, because this is a story that doesn't want to follow them. It has its own ideas." An assortment of characters are introduced, some dead and some not, and soon the lines that connect them all begin to make sense. The manuscript writer has to deal with synesthesia, an interesting characteristic I've encountered in other books, in this case causing letters and words he reads to move and shimmer with color. I enjoyed this solid mystery, more of a puzzle and low on the graphic violence meter, and would like to try the previous Loogan story and especially the subsequent one, "The Last Dead Girl," which sounds exciting.
17 years ago 5 men attempted a brazen robbery of a bank in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During their attempted escape, they were confronted by a policeman. One robber was killed, the police officer was shot and paralyzed, three were taken into custody and one got away, causing a hit and run in the process.
In today's time, Anthony Lark has begun to kill the people involved in the robbery. His reason remains unclear. David Loogan an editor of a mystery magazine receives an unsigned confessional from Lark and an intent to kill again. Loogan is in a relationship with Detective Elizabeth Waishkey and they soon find themselves in a tangled mass of lies and cover-ups beginning at least 17 years ago and affecting a wide range of people today. They try to stay one step ahead of Lark while trying to figure out who he is and why he feels driven to commit multiple murders.
Dolan has written a novel with a likable lead character and well drawn secondary ones. The book is engaging and had an old-fashioned, straightforward quality while still keeping you unsure and turning the pages.
This is my first Dolan novel, but I will definitely be back for more.
Ironic that the main character, David Loogan, is an editor. This book could have been easily 25% shorter without much effort. It would have been a better book. Sometimes I was skimming just to get through it!
This is the follow up to Dolan's excellent "Bad Things Happen", with a core of returning characters. David Loogan has recovered from the events in the previous book & is living a more settled life. He shares a home with Elizabeth, a detective & her teen daughter Sarah. He's now the senior editor at "Gray Streets", a crime fiction magazine & is used to receiving unsolicited manuscripts. But not like this one. He's left a short story about 3 murders: 2 down & 1 to go. The details of the second one catch his eye as the address is the same as the call Elizabeth just took about a dead body. When they look into the first one, they find that man was also killed a few days ago. They scramble to locate the third man listed & are able to save him after he's attacked. Then the digging starts. The three men have something in common. Seventeen years ago, they attempted a bank job in Sault Ste. Marie that went horribly wrong. A cop showed up to do his banking & before it was all over, one robber was dead, one got away, these three were caught & the cop was shot. The get away driver who escaped was never identified & the cop ended up in a wheelchair. His daughter is now running for senator & the whole thing is being dredged up by the press. Into the investigation stumbles Lucy Navarro. She works for a tabloid & what she lacks in experience she makes for in persistence. Although she's less than forthcoming, David takes a shine to her & is more than a little worried when she disappears. In alternating chapters, we meet Anthony Lark, the man responsible for the growing pile of bodies. We know from the start he's the killer but it's only as the story progresses we learn about him & his motivation. As Elizabeth & david come at the investigation from different perspectives, the names of influential people start to pop up, making them wonder who is really behind the whole mess. David focuses on finding Lucy while Elizabeth leads the local detective squad. And before long she begins to think her colleagues in Sault Ste. Marie aren't telling her all they know. The plot is extremely complex with twists & hidden agendas everywhere. But it never feels muddled. Instead the author leads you through, slowly revealing clues & alliances that will alter what you thought you knew, as more details come to light. Not everyone is who they say they are & when old relationships are uncovered it completely changes the focus of the investigation. This is a smart, taut, well written thriller that will keep you on your toes. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down because I just had to know how it would end. We know the identity of the killer from the get go but that didn't diminish the tension at all as we realize there is a much larger & far reaching conspiracy at work. The prose is clean & uncluttered. It flows so well that the pages fly by, pulling you into the story. The characters are fully realized & whether you like them or not, they feel real. You may also be surprised by how your feelings about some of them do a complete 180 by the end. This is a book that sucks you right in. The fast pace action is complimented by subtle clues & surprising twists. Add a clever plot & compelling cast & you've got an entertaining read that keeps you guessing 'til the end.
I always know I will enjoy a book from the Amy Einhorn Books imprint of Putnam Books. Most of the ones I have read are by female authors- Kathryn Stockett's The Help, Sarah Blake's The Postmistress, Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters, and Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot. All of these books have strong female protagonists, which is part of the appeal for me.
The latest book from the imprint has a male protagonist- Harry Dolan's Very Bad Men. It is the second novel in the series featuring David Loogan, an editor for a mystery magazine who lives with Elizabeth, a detective, and her teenage daughter Sarah, in Michigan.
Loogan gets drawn into the case of Anthony Lark, a man who has murdered two men and is on his way to murdering another. All of the dead men were involved 17 years ago with a bank robbery that went bad, leaving a robber and a cop dead, and another cop paralyzed from the waist down.
The story is told mainly from the points of view of Loogan and Lark. Both men are interesting characters, and seeing the story from each of their perspectives makes this a much stronger book.
Senate candidate Callie Spencer, whose father is the paralyzed cop, is involved in the murders. But is she a target, a participant in the murders, or is Lark trying to protect her? Lucy Navarro, a reporter for a tabloid newspaper, is snooping around, and Loogan becomes her protector of sorts. When she gets too close to the truth and disappears, Loogan gets angry.
Dolan takes care to create fully realized characters. I particularly enjoyed his portraits of the teenagers; Elizabeth's daughter Sarah, and Nick, the teenage son and brother of two of Lark's targets, were really on the money for me.
The mystery of why Lark is killing these men is complicated and the reason really comes out of left field. I have to say I had absolutely no idea where it would end up, but it was a crazy trip getting there. If the author left clues as to what motivated Lark to kill, I did not pick them up. I found it satisfying that I really did not know where he was going until the end.
This novel is crackling good literary crime fiction; it put me in mind of Sara Paretsky's novels. I'm going to seek out the first novel in the series and anxiously await the third one.
David Loogan is a mystery magazine editor who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his girlfriend, police detective Elizabeth Waishkey, and her teenaged daughter, Sarah. David and Elizabeth generally keep their professional lives separate; but when he receives an unsolicited nonfiction manuscript laying out the details of two recent murders, David has to share his findings with Elizabeth. The killer, Anthony Lark, has even provided the name of his next victim. Given that Lark has chosen to communicate with Loogan, David cannot merely pass on information; he becomes intimately involved in the investigation.
Seventeen years earlier, Lark was involved in a bank robbery that appears to be the instrument that has provided him with the names of the people that he feels compelled to murder. He suffers from a form of synesthesia that makes the names of these people appear in an undulating red color when written down. Although the old crime seemed to be resolved, there was a lot of information that never came out, and which David begins to uncover. The web that is woven is far reaching, with major implications for a local politician and grave danger to a young female reporter who is trying to break the story. Lark is an interesting villain—he seems almost reluctant to kill, which sometimes messes up his careful planning, but he is driven to complete the task. At times, he is quite creative (and coldblooded) in his efforts to set the victims up.
Aside from the interesting antagonist, the book offers a nicely complex (but somewhat convoluted) plot and a witty narrator. The main flaw in the book for me had to do with how involved David was in the inquiry, to the point where he and Elizabeth were often working together to resolve the case. It didn’t seem feasible to me that a professional police detective would allow a civilian so much participation in the investigation.
VERY BAD MEN is the second book in the David Loogan series, the first being BAD THINGS HAPPEN. I enjoyed both books but do wonder how Dolan will manage to marry Loogan’s career as a magazine editor with investigating crimes while avoiding the implausibility of making him a quasi partner to his detective girlfriend.
The case that entangles Detective Waishkey and Buttinski Editor Loogan brings forward a 17 year old bank robbery in Sault Ste. Marie, and those who were involved, may have been, couldn't possibly be and everyone remotely connected between Brimley and Dearborn. We have a fistful of suspects who might be the getaway driver who got away before the robbers appeared on the sidewalk with the loot, a manuscript left on the floor outside the offices of Gray Streets Magazine with a confession, a manifesto for next-in-line, a nuisance Brenda Starr wannabe, a senatorial campaign, the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and bullets that show up minus a gun in the strangest places. All set in Michigan's steamy July. I confess to being especially keen as Brimley is where my godparents have a house, the little aside anecdote about a used bookstore in Ann Arbor has players I know personally, and there's a woman who works the cosmetic counter at Macy's who, until this March, could have been my sister. Oh. And the cafe at Crazy Wisdom. I read 3/4 of this second Dolan novel last night, finishing with one foot on the floor and one eye closed in bed, thinking I could stop with just this one more paragraph before shutting the light. Not so much. This one takes corkscrew to the next level-more like macrame-twist within thicker twists. At 4:47 am I sat up and AHA! knew the key player. I was right. I was also totally wrong. That's Dolan's gift for storytelling. You can relax, buckle up and let him do the driving. He sure knows his way around a story.
Very Bad Men is a Very Good Thriller. It starts with a hit list containing three names. The man hunting those three is scarily unstable. But there is more - much more - to the events which inevitably follow. The twists are clever, the surprises neat and plausible because the plotting is meticulous. One or two coincidences are necessary but nothing outrageous; life, after all, has its share of coincidences.
The author cleverly keeps the narrative moving by adopting various viewpoints, but never in a way that confuses. The dialogue is smart and the characters interesting: David, the magazine editor, and the woman he lives with, the detective Elizabeth, are a convenient partnership even though there is frequently a feeling that proper police procedure would militate against the way they work together.
Never mind. This is a thriller that teases without overt betrayal, putting me in mind of another best-seller read many years ago - Ira Levin's A Kiss Before Dying.
Second book by author Dolan but I was impressed with the effort. Think I might have to read his first one. There are a vast array of characters in the book and a vast array of murders. Of course all you have to do is figure out who did what to whom. I am being somewhat tongue and cheek but the story line is more complex than most modern mysteries. The principal character is a editor of a mystery magazine who get an anonymous letter indicating a plot to kill several individuals. His wife is a police woman and he more than her will solve the case but plenty of twists and action along the way. My only criticism he the author seems to rehash some events in the book over and over (The details of a bank robbery in which five people were involved.) It is over 400 pages and I think it could have been sliced down a bit. But on the whole an entertaining read.