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Bad Things Happen Audio CD – Audiobook, Jul 28 2009


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (July 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143144596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143144595
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 15 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,088,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Sandy TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 29 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
When I read that Stephen King called this "a great f@@king book", I had to give it a try. Now I agree with Mr. King.
Meet David Loogan, or at least the man who goes by that name. He's a quiet guy who keeps to himself, spending his days going to movies & people watching. In a cafe he finds a magazine that prints crime & detective short stories. On a lark, he writes one & take it to the mag offices. Then he rewrites it. He's caught dropping off the third version by the owner who ends up offering him a job as an editor. Tom Kristoll says he can work from home and before long the two strike up a friendship. David also meets Laura, Tom's wife, who drags him out to art galleries & initiates an affair.
One night Tom calls for a favour. Will David help him bury a body? There's more to that story but David gives him a hand, even though he doubts Tom's version of events. Soon after, he ends the affair on the same night that Tom is sent sailing out his office window.
Local detectives Elizabeth Waishkey & Carter Shan catch the case & as they dig, they find evidence of the affair as well as other questions concerning the group of authors who run the magazine. All of them have secrets & Elizabeth & Carter have to give them a harder look when a second body pops up.
Meanwhile, David begins a little detecting of his own. He wants to know the truth about the man he helped Tom bury & how he ended up dead. He meets someone (don't want to spoil it) who also has questions & they join forces. Unfortunately, it's not long before they are murdered & David is framed. He doesn't have much faith in the system & goes on the run. But when he was interviewed by Elizabeth, she struck him as an honest cop & he keeps in touch.
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Format: Audio CD
"A violent man entices his neighbor,
And leads him in a way that is not good." -- Proverbs 16:29 (NKJV)

This a rave review.

I cannot remember a first novel in a detective series that I have enjoyed as much as listening to Erik Davies read Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan. Don't miss listening to this book!

The story is so much fun to think and to talk about, it's hard to avoid spoilers . . . but I'll do my best.

First, don't read the jacket copy before starting the book. It will unfold in more delightful ways if you don't.

Second, be prepared for a story that will interest and amuse you at several different levels (as homage to mystery writing, as humor, as delicately plotted misdirection, and as a fascinating character development).

Third, don't rush. Detect as you go. There's lots to chew on and consider.

Fourth, if you know Ann Arbor, soak up the local color. Go Blue!

What is the book like? I can't give you an appropriate comparison. It's unique while displaying many wonderful characteristics of a lot of different fine detective fiction writers in their most excellent books.

Enjoy!

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 173 reviews
66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Witty, Wry and Riveting -A No Spoiler Review- May 29 2009
By Miz Ellen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Some books are delicious. BAD THINGS HAPPEN is black caviar on 'wry' toast with an extra twist of lemon. Even the plot twists have twists. Mystery fans are in for a treat -- reading this book is like having a glass with a fizzy drink and knocking it down and realizing -gulp- that it was premium champagne!

The first sentence perfectly illustrates the author's deadpan style: "The shovel has to meet certain requirements." By page four, the reader knows for sure that the man calling himself David Loogan wants the shovel to dig a grave. By that time, it's too late to have any thoughts of doing anything else other than to keep reading; one is hooked, line and sinker. No point in fighting, just let yourself be reeled in by this sophisticated noirish mystery set in Ann Arbor, centering on a literary magazine that prints mystery stories. Part of the pleasure is the contrast between the lurid tales the magazine prints with the complicated puzzle that the author sets the reader.

There are layers upon layers of mystery. What is in David Loogan's past? Who is the dead man he helps his friend bury? Who killed the man?

David Loogan is a man of mystery who just wants to lead a quiet life. Tom Kristoll, editor of Gray Streets, discovers that David has a flair for editing. In addition to hiring him to improve the sometimes dreadful stories submitted to his publication, Tom befriends the reclusive stranger. But there are shattering secrets in the literary circle clustered around Tom. Success, disappointment and betrayal can all be motives for murder. And since the suspects are all mystery writers most of the deaths are staged to look like suicide!

This novel is exceptionally rich with characters: the mysterious and resourceful David Loogan, the convivial Tom and his seductive wife Laura, Elizabeth Waishkey the lovely and clever police detective tasked with solving the murders, her daughter Sarah, Michael Beccanti the cat burglar...Harry Dolan seems to invent startling people in the turn of a phrase who seem quite solid and real. Tongue-in-cheek homage is paid to the masters Chandler and Stout and just when you think you have reached the grand conclusion--another twist! The suspense is spun out exquisitely thin and dry before all is over. This is an outstanding debut novel by an exciting new talent that combines taut action with literary sophistication. Highly recommended!
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
a terrific read for mystery fans June 3 2009
By M. Tanenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
First time novelist Harry Dolan has hit the jackpot with this witty page-turner of a detective novel set in the college town of Ann Arbor. The plot revolves around a mystery magazine, Grey Streets, published out of Ann Arbor, and the owner, his wife, an editor, secretary, and the various writers that write regularly for the magazine. When the owner of the magazine apparently jumps to his death out of his office window, the police quickly discover that he was in fact murdered, setting off a dizzying chain of events that will keep the reader up till late at night. Dolan creates a variety of intriguing characters, including an editor with a mysterious past, an appealing female police detective, a lesbian mystery writer, etc., who have complex interrelationships that will keep the reader guessing as to who is responsible for the string of murders in the novel.

Highly recommended--an entertaining thriller that is sure to keep the reader on the edge of his seat.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
You can't make this stuff up. Aug. 27 2009
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In Harry Dolan's "Bad Things Happen," David Loogan is trying to stay under the radar because of something that happened in the past. He rents a house in Ann Arbor and takes a job as an editor for "Gray Streets," a mystery magazine. We do not know much about Loogan, except that he is nervous, afraid of the dark, and has a habit of looking over his shoulder. One day, a colleague asks him to commit a shocking crime and, for some reason, he complies. The plot thickens when the murdered bodies of people connected with "Gray Streets" start to pile up, and Loogan, among others, is a suspect. Yet, he goes ahead and makes another questionable decision--to solve the crimes himself, rather than rely on the police to identify the guilty party.

"Bad Things Happen" is at its best when Dolan goes for laughs. For instance, Tom Kristoll, the publisher of "Gray Streets," wryly states, "No one sets out to be an editor. It's something that happens to you, like jaundice or falling down a well." A woman named Bridget makes fun of the contrivances that writers rely on to move their stories along: "It's a cliché...a murder staged to look like a suicide. Every mystery writer uses it sooner or later. I used it in my second book." More of this tongue-in-cheek bantering would have been invigorating.

The author presents a baffling series of events that leave us almost completely in the dark. A sharp detective named Elizabeth Waishkey attempts to find out who committed the aforementioned murders. Liz empathizes with David but is extremely irritated when he starts his own investigation, putting himself at risk and interfering with her efforts. David's personality is not well delineated; his behavior runs the gamut from shrewd to incredibly stupid. In fact, with a few exceptions, the large cast of characters consists of self-centered and grating individuals. The second half of the book goes straight downhill; the plot becomes so convoluted that we need a scorecard to keep track of the proceedings. Although the author is obviously satirizing ridiculous works of fiction in which authors throw in everything but the kitchen sink, the twists and turns are more annoying than amusing. First, Dolan tries to convince us that Scenario A is true; later, he substitutes Scenario B for Scenario A. Just when you think that everything has been explained, along comes Scenario C. By the time the good guys are sorted out from the bad guys and the deep dark secrets are revealed, readers will be more exhausted than exhilarated. "Bad Things Happen" would have been much better had it been less heavy-handed and more cohesive.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
terrific twisting serial killer investigative July 25 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
David Loogan lives and hides in Ann Arbor in hope of moving past a violent history that he knows he will never forget. He begins to write a short story for Gray Streets literary crime-fiction journal. Though he never finishes the project, the magazine publisher Tom Kristoll likes what he has seen. He offers David a position as an editor, which he accepts. David, Tom, and his wife Laura become friends.

Tom obtains David's help in dumping a corpse though the former does not believe the latter's explanation. Soon afterward Tom falls to his death from his office window. AAPD Homicide Detective Elizabeth Waishkey suspects David killed Tom especially when evidence surfaces that he slept with Laura. As other people associated with Gray Streets die, single mom Elizabeth focuses even more intensely on David, who conducts his own inquiry to uncover the killer before he is on trial.

The fun in this terrific twisting serial killer investigative tale is the writers who are intelligent and witty until they become the star of someone else's plot. The story line is fast-paced and the amateur sleuth prime suspect and the obstinate cop chasing him makes for an intriguing duel. Mindful of the movies' Theater of Blood and Murder by Death, but less hammy, fans will enjoy Harry Dolan's fine thriller that as Vincent Price said (in Theatre of Blood) is "much ado about murder".

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Plans go wrong; bad things happen; people die!" June 19 2010
By Paul Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
David Loogan is a very mysterious man with a past and, although plenty of people are asking, he's not talking! A recent arrival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Loogan is surprised when Tom Kristoll, the publisher of Gray Streets, a mystery magazine, offers him a job as an editor. He's even more surprised when Kristoll asks for his help burying a body. Perhaps, understanding that Loogan would prefer that his past also stay buried, Kristoll intuitively understands that Loogan won't be doing any talking. Later, when Kristoll falls (or perhaps he was pushed?) from his office window, Loogan's affair with Kristoll's wife marks him as a suspect. But, despite the police's best efforts, Loogan still isn't talking! The mystery moves into high gear and the staff and authors associated with Gray Streets begin to drop like flies. Like Agatha Christie's famous novel, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, the body count escalates and the entire cast is rather nervously looking over their shoulders.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN is a very clever, exceptionally well written mystery in which first-time author Harry Dolan pays tribute to but also satirizes his predecessors and his fellow contemporary authors in the mystery genre. He even goes so far as to satirize himself by having his characters imagine a possible solution to the puzzling murders by contemplatively musing, "If this were a story in Gray Streets ...". The cast of possible suspects is an amusing, almost droll but very noir collection of self-important, pretentious, stuffy authors, editors and wannabes who suffer from a thoroughly modern set of psychoses and personality failings. In short, a strange set of characters with an equally strange collection of names such as Nathan Hideaway, Rex Chatterjee, Bridget Shellcross, Casimir Hifflyn and Valerie Calmero. Clearly, Harry Dolan is not afraid to tweak the noses of those, like himself, who would presume to enter the world of writing for a living.

Harry Dolan has done himself proud in an enjoyable debut novel with the mandatory clever twist ending that few readers will figure out in advance. Certainly I didn't. Highly recommended with a note that I'm eagerly looking forward to his second novel.

Paul Weiss

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