Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2009
My Rating: A
Opening lines: The shovel has to meet certain requirements. A pointed blade. A short handle, to make it maneuverable in a confined space.
No, this is not a gardening book. The shovel is not going to be used for yardwork. It’s a mystery book about a man named David Loogan.
He calls himself David Loogan but it’s not the name he was born with. He has recently moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. At first, David just wanders around his new hometown, seeing the sights.
Just because it appeals to him, he decides to write a mystery story for a local mystery magazine. After making numerous changes to the manuscript, all of which he submits, the publisher, Tom Kristoll offers him a job as an editor.
David appears to be a quiet, private person but he can’t resist becoming friends with the amiable publisher. Nor can he resist being drawn into an affair with Tom’s wife, Laura. And, you can’t help noticing that a lot of people who are connected to the magazine are being murdered.
From the very first page the reader knows David is buying a shovel in order to bury a body. Can this quiet, private person commit a crime of passion? Did I mention that the murders committed are strangely similar to stories in the mystery magazine?
If you are a mystery buff, this is one you have to read. I had a hard time describing this book to you. On the one hand I loved this story and I want to tell you all about it. But, at the same time, I don’t want to spoil it for you. I really want everyone to read it. I tried hard not to tell you anymore than what you can read inside the book cover.
Bad Things Happen is more than a simple mystery. It felt more like contemporary literature with lots of mystery thrown in. The writing is superb. I liked all the smart dialogue that made me feel as if I were part of the conversation. The plot is clever with many twists and turns. The author has a subtle sense of humor, too. I’d read that there were disguised reference to other crime novels but I only caught a few. This is a great novel for people who love crime fiction but I’d highly recommend it to everyone who likes good literature.
The is Harry Dolan’s first novel although he’s been working as an editor for many years. His website is here. Hopefully he’ll give us another good novel soon.
I borrowed this book from the library. It’s also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
I read this book as part of the Amy Einhorn Reading Challenge. For more information, visit the challenge page at Beth Fish Reads.