Aug 8, 2009

Book Review: Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

Bad Things Happen Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solid three and a half to four stars. I liked the idea of magazine writers in a novel trying to figure out a crime as if they were writing it as fiction.

The main character, the mysterious Mr. Loogan, arrives in the university town of Ann Arbor, Mich. and tries his hand at writing stories for the local magazine, Grey Streets. He is "discovered" and hired as an editor for the magazine by publisher Tom Kristoll. Later, when Tom's apparent suicide turns out to be murder, Mr. Loogan becomes involved.

Loogan bowed his head and his eyes were lost in shadows. "If this were a story in Gray Streets, I'd catch the killer myself. It would be my responsibility."

"This isn't a story in Gray Streets, Mr. Loogan.

(from Ch. 9 of the Advance Readers Copy, which may differ from the final printed version of the novel.)

Lots of twists to this mystery plot, with several more murders, plus an affair between Loogan and Tom's wife Laura that began before Tom's death. The plot is not predictable, a sign I think of a good mystery.

The spare prose throughout reminded me of Hemingway, though there is a lot of dialogue and the book I think is longer than any of Hemingway's.

I would describe the book as a mystery written as literary fiction. Two good reasons to like it.

Advance readers copy received from the publisher for my objective review.

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Anonymous said...

I've seen this book but this is the first review I've read. It looks like a really good book!

Book Bird Dog said...

Thanks for the comment, Vicki! It was a different kind of mystery novel and I enjoyed it!

Unknown said...

very cool blog. i'm following you now. you should pop in/follow mine. i have all things books...
nice seeing you.

Anonymous said...

Being an OSU Buckeye, I would feel disloyal reading a book that takes place in Ann Arbor ;) Non Big 10 football nuts don't get it, but that's okay. Can you tell I'm eagerly awaiting football season?!

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