Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

Buying a shovel in a big box store isn’t necessarily a harbinger of bad things.  Or is it? Possibly, if you go by the name of David Loogan and bad things happenyou’re the one buying the shovel – and the cashier swears that she knows you from somewhere.  But let’s not get ahead too far.

David Loogan, despite a need to cover up his past, is an honorable man.  He rents a house in Ann Arbor near the university and lives a quiet life.  By chance, he sees a copy of Gray Streets, a locally published mystery magazine, and decides to write a story for them.  Several revisions later, he meets Tom Kristoll, the publisher of Gray Streets, becomes quick friends with him, gets hired as an editor for Gray Streets, and has an affair with Tom’s wife.  Needless to say, there’s a body to bury, and it won’t be the last, as Tom gets pushed from the sixth story window of the Gray Streets office.

There are lots of suspects here.  Loogan may be the most obvious one.  There’s also the group of local published authors that serve as Gray Streets board of directors.  What kind of dirt do they have in their backgrounds?

Bad Things Happen is a noirish mystery about mystery writers that keeps you hanging with the best.  The dialogue clicks along and there are plenty of good twists in the plot.  The book definitely kept me going to the end.  David Loogan is the main character, and you will root for him even as you question his motives and his shady past life.  Elizabeth Waishkey, the police detective assigned to the Tom Kristoll case, is another likeable character – a highly dedicated officer who juggles a home life with work.  She is sympathetic to Loogan even as she has her doubts about him.  The two strike up a friendship of sorts and manage to get into the same pool of danger.

It’s worth a vacation read.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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