Author: Harry Dolan
Publication Date: July 6, 2010
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: I received this book from the publisher for my honest review.
The shovel has to meet certain requirements. A pointed blade. A short handle, to make it maneuverable in a confined space. He finds what he needs in the gardening section of a vast department store. (pg. 1)
From the first sentence of Bad Things Happen, the reader is drawn into a mystery novel to top all mystery novels – one of the best I’ve ever read, to be perfectly honest! Who needs the shovel? What is the shovel for? Is someone burying a body? These are the immediate thoughts that run through my mind as I begin reading this book. I am hooked from the opening paragraph.
But it doesn’t stop there. No, this story only gets better and better.
The man who calls himself David Loogan is hoping to escape a violent past by living a quiet, anonymous life in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But when he’s hired as an editor at a mystery magazine, he is drawn into an affair with the sleek blond wife of the publisher, Tom Kristoll – a man who soon turns up dead.
Elizabeth Waishkey is the most talented detective in the Ann Arbor Police Department, but even she doesn’t know if Loogan is a killer or an ally who might help her find the truth. As more deaths start mounting up – some of them echoing stories published in the magazine – it’s up to Elizabeth to solve both the murders and the mystery of Loogan himself. (back cover blurb)
The man who calls himself David Loogan is a loner, a man who keeps to himself, a man clouded in mystery. Loogan is the main character in this novel, a man who is trying to shed a violent past. He makes questionable decisions, but no one can question his loyalty to his friends. I have never loved a character in a book more than I love David Loogan. The development of his character throughout the book was spot on, with the author giving the reader just enough to keep the reader interested, but not giving away too much at any given time. I loved his dialogue with his friends and with the detective, Elizabeth Waishkey. I think the author hit a home run with all of the characters in this book, but especially with the man who calls himself David Loogan.
The plot of this book moved along steadily, with many red herrings thrown in to keep the reader guessing. Nothing seem completely farfetched and I found myself shaking my head a few times and talking to the author out loud – “Mr. Dolan, you’ve really spun quite a tale here, haven’t you? I think it’s going to go one way and BAM you pull something out there from left field to completely baffle me.” I had a completely enjoyable experience with this book. I love that the mystery was not easy to figure out (and I never DID figure it out, by the way!).
This is one of the best mystery novels I have ever read. Harry Dolan has crafted an intricate plot with so many twists and turns, you will question every character, every situation, every line of dialogue, looking for hidden meaning and motive. That is what a great mystery novel is all about. I love finding a debut author whose writing is so engaging, with just the right amount of, well…everything! Well-developed characters, perfect descriptions, but not too much description that you get bogged down in it, perfect plotting, with lots of twists that keep you guessing, and with an ending that is as unexpected as it is expected. This one is getting my 5 star Crazy Amazing rating! Definitely get this one ASAP and savor it! Read it slow and enjoy every word on every page! You won’t regret it! Enjoy the ride!
I am thrilled to have the author here tomorrow for an interview, so be sure to stop back and hear what he has to say about himself and his debut novel!
I found the book’s trailer for your enjoyment, too!