29 January 2010

Featuring . . . Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

This Friday and every Friday for the next couple of months, I will be featuring a book that was published under the Amy Einhorn Books imprint. I am starting with the 2009 books and will spotlight them in alphabetical order.

Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan is a suspense novel that has won some critical acclaim, including starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal. Here is the publisher's summary:

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, the publisher of the mystery magazine Gray Streets—and into an affair with Laura, Tom's sleek blond wife. What Loogan doesn't realize is that the stories in Gray Streets tend to follow a simple formula: Plans go wrong. Bad things happen. People die.

Elizabeth Waishkey is a single mother. She's also the most talented detective in the Ann Arbor Police Department. But when Tom Kristoll turns up dead, she doesn't know quite what to make of David Loogan. Is he a killer, or an ally who might help her discover the truth? Loogan suspects his friend's death is part of a much larger puzzle, and he's not going to wait for someone else to put the pieces together.

As Loogan and Elizabeth navigate their way through Kristoll's world, they find no shortage of people with motives for murder, from a young graduate student obsessed with Laura Kristoll to a trio of bestselling writers, all of them with secrets they don't want uncovered. But as the deaths start mounting up—some of them echoing stories published in Gray Streets—Loogan begins to look more and more like the most promising suspect. Soon it becomes clear that only Elizabeth can find the path to solving both the murders and the mystery of Loogan himself.
There are a couple of things that interest me about this novel. First is the setting: I have visited Ann Arbor enough times that I'm sure to get a kick out recognizing landmarks. Furthermore, I live fairly close to another Big Ten campus, so I'll definitely pick up on any university references.

I also discovered that Dolan is a freelance editor, and that makes him a colleague. (Although I have no desire to write a novel.) I'm curious about the structure and style of the book, and I wonder if I'll be able to tell that it was written by professional editor.

Finally, the reviews I've read mention the book's humor, and I think a bit of comic relief can enhance a good mystery. As the Washington Post said: "there's an air of make-believe here, of fun. . . . [Dolan gives] us a witty send-up of the crime genre itself." That caught my attention!

Harry Dolan has a website, where you can find reviews, a biography, and an excerpt.

This book was featured as part of the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge (click to join the fun). For information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010.

Bad Things Happen at Powell's
Bad Things Happen at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780399155635

9 comments:

Julie P. 1/29/10, 8:38 AM  

Great feature. I'll be looking forward to this one!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity 1/29/10, 8:41 AM  

All right. You've convinced me. I'm in for the challenge. Off to go sign up :)

Kay 1/29/10, 10:01 AM  

This book sounds intriguing. I'll put it on my wish list. I'm impressed with the books published by Amy Einhorn. I tend to like certain publishers and will then try other offerings by them just because I trust their judgment. I love Poinsoned Pen Press and think I will add this one to my list. Thanks for sharing.

Dorte H 1/29/10, 11:31 AM  

Great feature, and this one is certainly a great recommendation of her books.

Sandy Nawrot 1/29/10, 1:03 PM  

I really do appreciate this feature which will help me (once I dig through my pile of books I want to read for other challenges) decide which Amy Einhorn books to read. This one sounds as good as any to start with!

Literary Feline 1/29/10, 1:44 PM  

This does sound good! Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Jen - devourer of books 1/29/10, 2:23 PM  

Ha, I hadn't even seen that you featured this book today when I tweeted you to say that you would love the audio. I'm really enjoying this one, and the whole time I've been listening I've been thinking how much you would like it.

I actually hadn't looked at any synopses or reviews of this book before I started, so I had no idea what was going on in the beginning, but it still drew me right in. I can't wait to get back in the car so I can get back to it!

Margot at Joyfully Retired 1/29/10, 6:29 PM  

You did it to me with this book. It looks so good that I must read it and must join the challenge. I'm off to sign up.

Thoughts of Joy 2/21/10, 2:16 PM  

My husband read this when it first came out. I don't remember him giving any rave reviews, but he liked it. Anyway, I've had it on my iPod to listen to for a long time now. The Ann Arbor connection draws me the most! :)

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