Bad Things Happen

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I read Harry Dolan's The Good Killer last year on the recommendation of Tom Nolan, the WSJ's mystery reviewer. Which caused me to add Dolan's other novels onto my library list. This one is from 2009, and is the first book in a (so-far) trilogy featuring protagonist David Loogan.

One of the semi-clever aphorisms floating around the Internet of my youth: "Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies." By that standard, Loogan is a real friend to Tom Kristoll; Tom calls him one night to assist him in dealing with a corpse in his study.

By other standards, Loogan isn't that great a friend: he's messing around with Kristoll's wife.

Kristoll is the boss of Gray Streets, a mystery magazine based out of Ann Arbor, MI; Loogan happened into a gig as an editor there. It's only a few pages before Kristoll is dead too, in a plummet from the top floor of a building containing the Gray Streets office. Jumped, pushed, or fell? Need you ask?

Soon we are introduced to a large array of suspicious characters. They are mostly mystery writers in the Gray Streets orbit, each with his quirks and secrets. There's also Elizabeth Waishkey, detective with the Ann Arbor cops, who's not quite sure whether to treat Loogan as an ally or a suspect. (She has a precocious teenage daughter, Sarah, who provides a vocabulary lesson for the word "defenestration". Kid, I like you.)

It doesn't help that nearly nobody is telling the truth. Often over multiple attempts.

Eventually we get to the truth, though. It's a devilishly complex plot with startling revelations along the way and desperate situations near the end. A lot of deadpan-humorous dialog. All in all, a very entertaining read, and I'm looking forward to more.

Last Modified 2021-03-09 10:19 AM EDT