Bad Things Happen, cover

Harry Dolan's debut murder mystery romps along and is a promising start for a new writer. Readers will enjoy this work and be waiting for his second book.

Murder in a Literary World

Bad Things Happen starts straight in to mystery and suspense from the opening paragraph. The narrative then pulls back to set the scene. The somewhat paranoid leading character, David Loogan, is seeking to be anonymous but gets recruited to work as an editor for a small literary magazine. He becomes friends with the founder who runs it and ends up in an affair with his employer’s, and friend’s, attractive wife.

Well Structured Story with Believable Characters

The magazine, Gray Streets, specialises in mystery stories which tend to have a consistent theme where “Plans Go Wrong, Bad Things Happen, People Die”. After the first death Loogan gets drawn further in to the literary world of Gray Streets and its trustees who are mostly established authors of crime and mystery fiction.

The story moves along with well-drawn characters including the female police detective with whom David Loogan forms a loose partnership. The detective, Elizabeth Waishkey, is a mother of teenage daughter and comes across as a realistic figure and she is inclined to trust Loogan.

As the story develops the mystery of David Loogan’s paranoia and desire for a low profile gets explained. As well as being pulled into somebody else’s adventure Loogan’s non-literary past catches up with him and becomes part of the mystery. The story has an interesting twist appropriate to the setting in a literary world with its own need for recognition and for writers to protect their reputations.

However Loogan still has to disappear to avoid arrest and to be able follow the trail to clear his name and solve the mystery of the growing number of murders. He uses his knowledge of Gray Streets stories and his skills as an editor to solve the mystery. However he does work remotely with Detective Waishkey to lead the police to the solution.

A Pacy Read to While Away a Long Journey

As a read Bad Things Happen moves along at a good pace to keep the reader entertained. The pace is such that it might be better for a journey rather than as a bed time read – the reader may be tempted to finish it in one session at the cost of a good night’s sleep.

Bad Things Happen, Plans Go Wrong, People Die (2010, ISBN:978-0-091-93310-4) the debut novel by Harry Dolan is published in paperback by Ebury Press £6.99.

Harry Dolan has started his storytelling career well with Bad Things Happen and if he can keep up this quality he should have a long career as an author of detective fiction. It will be interesting to see whether he uses David Loogan or Elizabeth Waishkey in future stories.

First appeared on Suite101

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