Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Review: "Bad Things Happen" by Harry Dolan

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 red herrings or improbable occurrences.

A man who calls himself David Loogan lives an anonymous life in Ann Arbor, MI. He meets Tom and Laura Kristoll, publishers of Grey Streets, a murder-mystery magazine, and after a time, becomes an editor. He builds a friendship with the Kristolls, and begins an affair with Laura. One night Tom asks for Loogan's help with a problem, and shortly thereafter, Tom winds up dead. And that's just the start of the mystery within a mystery within a mystery. Loogan tries to unravel the truth behind Tom's murder, and comes into contact with Detective Elisabeth Waishkey, who is investigating the crime.

I wish that some best-selling crime and mystery authors would read Dolan's book before writing another retread. Many of the characters have great depth to them and you don't know what to expect. That's what I loved about this book. I hope it's not too long before Dolan's next novel, and I hope that David and Elizabeth might return. Pick this one up if you're a fan of mystery/thrillers. You won't be disappointed.

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