It’s a Mystery: Bad Things Happen, by Harry Dolan

4.0 out of 5 stars If This Were a Story in Gray Streets

David Loogan is a stranger in town, and on a whim, he drops off a manuscript at the office of a popular short story magazine, Gray Streets. The magazine’s publisher, Tom Kristoll likes the story, and offers Loogan a job as editor, which he accepts. Soon strange things begin to happen, bad things, but Loogan likes Kristoll and decides to trust him.

Bad Things Happen is a slowly unfolding novel, and the reader comes to know more about the magazine’s contributors than  about protagonist Loogan, but there’s something not quite right about him. He’s extremely secretive, for one thing, and he doesn’t seem to have scruples about conducting an affair with his boss’s wife. But when a series of murders occurs, for some reason the investigating detective believes in Loogan’s innocence, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

More than a straightforward mystery novel, Bad Things Happen is  a book about books, crime stories in particular, from Hamlet to Hammett.Whimsical character names, “McGuffins”, throwaway lines, and “noir” elements make this an homage to the great genre writers. One of the murder weapons is a book of Shakespeare. Dust off your sense of humor and prepare yourself for an entertaining, engrossing, humorous story in which the twists and turns lead to a surprising conclusion. Author Dolan has a way with words. Have fun!

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