Bad Things Happen

Bad Things Happen

Book - 2009
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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.--From publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780399155635
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 24 cm.


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Dec 29, 2013

This is a great detective thriller about mistaken identity & the danger of keeping secrets. David Loogan (not his real name) finds himself caught up in the affairs of a group of authors running a crime magazine. When the bodies start piling up, he's framed & forced to go into hiding as he attempts to unravel the mystery while providing information to a local detective.
It's written in a clean, uncluttered style with the author paying homage to writers such as Raymond Chandler & their old style noir detective novels.
Great to read a book where the identity of the killer is not seen from a mile away. Characters are well written, dialogue is tight & full of wry humour & the plot is clever and intricate without ever becoming muddled or derivative.
Will definitely pick up the sequel (Very Bad Men).

gracindaisy May 23, 2013

Set in Ann Arbor, the editor of a literary magazine is murdered which sets off a string of related killings.

Jul 29, 2012

In the final pages of this literary mystery novel, one of the characters declares the proceedings to be "tedious." I feel that's an apt summary of this book.

After "mysterious" loner David Loogan helps his boss - the editor of Gray Streets, a literary magazine for mystery stories - bury a body the titular "bad things" begin to happen. Bodies pile up and suspicions are cast on David and the writers who are attached to the magazine. The central conceit - that the victims and suspects are all somehow involved with murder mysteries - is probably supposed to act as some sort of meta-commentary on the genre. But it just doesn't work.

My chief issue with the book is the almost total lack of emotional engagement any of the characters demonstrate in the face of multiple homicides, threats, blackmail, and other crimes. It is implied that since the characters are all involved in mystery writing themselves, all of this is second nature to them. But I found it increasingly hard to believe that in a community like Ann Arbor, Michigan - which, in reality, has seen one murder in the last 7 years - there wouldn't have been more of a fuss being made over the 8 or so violent, grisly murders that take place. Instead, the characters just quip, chat, and speculate like it's all a big game. Apart from some bad dreams and tears at a funeral, you'd think this sort of thing just happened all the time. Without the sense of any emotional impact, it's difficult for the book to generate excitement or suspense.

Another main issue is with Loogan himself. He is supposed to be a "cipher" - a mystery man with a huge secret in his past. We are led to believe that this secret explains his ability to act as detective, to elude the police, to know how to bury a body, etc. Yet when the big secret is revealed, none of his motivations or abilities are explained by it.

mikeyppl Nov 21, 2011

I really enjoyed this book. I,ve just picked up the sequel Very Bad Men. Hope it's as good as the first.

jimbedley Sep 30, 2011

Nothing special. Requires a little too much suspension of disbelief as to the action or inaction of the local police force.

Nov 15, 2010

A visceral, in your face adventure about a guy who is suddenly pursued by the mob.


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