Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Very Bad Men (David Loogan #2) Very Bad Men (David Loogan #2) by Harry Dolan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very Bad Men is the perfect title for the second story concerning David Loogan. As the tale is told, more and more of the characters earn that designation.

Harry Dolan's descriptions of character and place appeal to me. His plotting in this story is complicated but I never had any trouble keeping up. Rather than a roller coaster ride, which can be fun, Dolan varies his tempo. For me that makes it all the more compelling.

There are certain elements that make a review useful to the reader. It wasn't until I met someone who refused to read fiction written in the first person that I even paid any conscious attention to the voice.

Recently I read another blogger's review of a book I had previously read. They mentioned that the tension of the book came partly from the first person perspective the author had chosen to use to tell the story. My review didn't mention the fact.

Then I read a review of Very Bad Men that was not comfortable with Harry Dolan's choice to use both voices in one novel. I thought the transitions were obvious and  quite appropriate in moving the story along.

Dolan's style is noir and sparse, but not inelegant. Even though the story is set around the time of the Art Fair in Ann Arbor, Michigan (July), which should conjure up a colorful world, the pictures in my head were black and white movie with lots of shades of grey. Partly it is this air of moral ambiguity that I find attractive.

David Loogan, has taken over as editor of a mystery magazine after the death of the previous editor, a friend. He has become close to Detective Elizabeth Waishkey who appears in Bad Things Happen. Loogan is a good man but struggles with guidelines that don't always serve the moment. That's part of his charm.

A manuscript left at the offices of the mystery magazine, Gray Streets, seems to be connected to a Northern Michigan bank robbery gone wrong seventeen years earlier.

Bottom Line: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED but start with Bad Things Happen because you are apt to want to read all this author's books.

Title: Very Bad Men
Author:  Harry Dolan
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
No. of Pages: 432 pages
Copyright: July 7, 2011
ISBN:  0399157492
Rating: 43 out of 5 stars
Source: NetGalley

Harry Dolan's latest book The Last Dead Girl goes on sale today (January 9, 2014) and the author will be speaking and signing at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. He graduated from Colgate University, where he majored in philosophy and studied fiction-writing with the novelist Frederick Busch. He grew up in Rome, New York, and now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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