Bad Things Happen (David Loogan Series #1)

Bad Things Happen (David Loogan Series #1)

3.9 66
by Harry Dolan

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"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

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"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. When Tom offers him a job as an editor, Loogan sees no harm in accepting. What he doesn't realize is that the stories in Gray Streets tend to follow a simple formula: Plans go wrong. Bad things happen. People die." "Elizabeth Waishkey is a single mother raising a fifteen-year-old daughter. She's also the most talented detective in the Ann Arbor Police Department. But when Tom Kristoll turns up dead, she doesn't quite know what to make of David Loogan. Is he a killer, or an ally who might help her find the truth? Loogan, for his part, would like to trust her, but he has his own agenda. He suspects his friend's death is part of a much larger puzzle, and he's not going to wait for someone else to put the pieces together. As Loogan and Elizabeth navigate their way through the Kristolls' world, they find no shortage of people with motives for murder, from a young graduate student obsessed with Laura Kristoll to a trio of bestselling writers, all of them with secrets they don't want uncovered." As the deaths start mounting up - some of them echoing stories published in Gray Streets - Loogan begins to look more and more like the most promising suspect. Soon it becomes clear that only Elizabeth can find the path to solving both the murders and the mystery of Loogan himself. But by the time she unravels the twistedskein, Loogan may be indicted for murder - or more likely, become the next victim.

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
…droll and delightful…If I say that the novel is as well plotted as Agatha Christie at her best, I don't mean to make it sound old-fashioned; it's not. Even more than Christie, this novel reminded me of Patricia Highsmith…It's witty, sophisticated, suspenseful and endless fun—a novel to be savored by people who know and love good crime fiction, and the best first novel I've read this year.
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
…you better believe [Dolan] has a gift for storytelling. Although the plot is fairly outlandish, the narrative comes with startling developments and nicely tricky reversals. There's also something appealingly offbeat about the wry, dry tone of its academic humor, which has much to do with the self-important authors who figure in the hectic plot
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Dolan's highly praised debut has shades of Elmore Leonard in its realistic dialogue that is at once over-the-top but true to form. The story takes place in Ann Arbor, Mich., where David Loogan has just accepted a position at Gray Streets mystery magazine—and embarked on an affair with his new boss's wife. It's not long before bodies begin turning up left and right, and a young investigator is involved. Abby Erik Davies delivers a performance so raw and exposed that listening becomes less a choice and more a compulsion. It's brilliant on every level. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, May 25). (July)
Library Journal
Shortly after a man who calls himself David Loogan arrives in Ann Arbor, he gets a job as assistant editor to Tom Kristoll and begins sleeping with Tom's wife, Laura. Then Tom asks him to help bury a body lying in the office of Gray Streets, the mystery magazine they edit. When Tom is found dead six floors below his office window, Det. Elizabeth Waishkey begins to investigate—and so does Loogan. Several other murders occur, all of which seem linked somehow to Gray Streets and to its various authors. Loogan himself becomes a suspect and potential victim but continues investigating while on the run from the police. Dolan has fun contrasting real and fictional detecting, and all the characters are keenly aware of this, too. VERDICT For a debut novelist, Dolan, a freelance editor, is unusually skilled in narrative. His humor shows not only in the fiction-vs.-reality theme but also in the twists and turns of plot and language that keep the characters and the reader guessing—and engrossed. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy twisty and witty crime thrillers. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 3/1/09.]—Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Kirkus Reviews
Dolan's debut thriller begins simply enough, with two men burying a third in a forested section of Ann Arbor's Marshall Park. From there, it gets ever more loopy, far-fetched and baroque. Rolling stone David Loogan (not his real name) has been working as an editor for the literary magazine Gray Streets. He has a good relationship with his boss, Tom Kristoll, and an even better relationship with his boss's wife. But he's a secretive man who keeps to himself, and that doesn't change when Tom asks him to help dispose of a body. Michael Beccanti was an ex-con with a long history of break-ins who came to his office to rob him, Tom explains; he bashed the intruder in self-defense. It's not long before David discovers that Tom's story is a tissue of lies, but by then the body is resting in Ann Arbor's good green earth, followed shortly by the remains of Tom, who allegedly took a header out his office window. Police detective Elizabeth Waishkey, not fooled by the suicide angle, identifies the obvious suspect in Tom's murder just in time to hear that he's died as well, apparently by his own hand. Though David and Elizabeth are clearly attracted to one another, their investigations take them in separate directions, a divergence that becomes even more pronounced when a retired New York cop turns up with a story about David's past that sends his quarry packing. Although the resulting tale fits Tom's definition of Gray Streets fiction-"Plans go wrong, bad things happen, people die"-Elizabeth keeps telling David that "this isn't a story in Gray Streets," and she's right. There are far too many violent deaths, plot twists, ghostwriters, red herrings, guilty secrets, false theories, unconnectedmurderers, come-from-nowhere revelations and 11th-hour switcheroos for any self-respecting literary journal. On the other hand, Dolan has provided a seven-course banquet for readers with a taste for deliriously overplotted pulp with just enough polish to keep them from feeling guilty.

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
David Loogan Series, #1
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range:
18 Years


What People are saying about this

Douglas Preston
"From the astringent first sentence -- 'The shovel has to meet certain requirements' -- Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan builds like a Midwestern thunderhead into an atmosphere of darkness, dread, and impending doom. It is a hypnotically readable novel, with richly wrought characters, a corkscrew plot, and dialog worthy of Elmore Leonard. What a breathtaking debut."--(Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence and Blasphemy)
Nelson DeMille
"A wonderfully moody and atmospheric story reminiscent of the masters of the noir mysteries. Tightly plotted, sophisticated, and engrossing, this is a winner."
James Patterson
"Bad Things Happen is a very smart, well-written roller coaster ride that is always threatening to hurl the reader out into roaring empty space. Go along for the thrill ride!"
Karin Slaughter
"Bad Things Happen is a tense read that keeps you tightly in its grip until the very last page. Harry Dolan has written an incredibly rich, smart read reminiscent of A Simple Plan or Presumed Innocent -- not to mention that it's just a damn good story. Readers are in for a breathless ride."

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