Monday, June 23, 2014

Bad Things Harry Dolan. Just What's Needed to Spend a Great Weekend Reading.....

I've been waiting for you to come by," said the man in the blue suit. "That was clever, leaving your name off. It sparked my interest." He tossed his hat onto his hat onto a filing cabinet. Loogan said nothing.
"Is this the same one again, or a new one?"
Looking down at the envelope in his lap, Loogan saide, "It's the same one. I've made some improvements."
"You ougjt to be careful. If it gets much better. I won't be able to publish it." The mjan took a seat at the desk. "The reason I've been waiting for you--I wanted to make you an offer. I want you to work for me."
This was unexpected. Loogan frowned. "I'm not really a writer."
"I don't need another writer. I've got writers scrabbling between the walls here, gnawing on the wiring. What I need if an editor."
Loogan shifted in his chair. "I don't think I'm qualified. I don't have the training."
"Nobody does," the man said. 
"It's not like people go to school for it. No one sets out to be an editor. It's somethat that happens to you, like jaundice or falling down a well." He pointed at Loogan's emvelopes. "I like what you've done here," he said. "There's a clear improvement from one draft to the next. The question is, could you do the same thing with someone else's story?"
Loogan looked to the window, where the twilight was deepening. This isn't a problem, he thought, you can always refuse.
"I suppose I could," he heard hijself saying, "But I'm not looking for a job. I don't know how I feel about coming into an office every morning."
The man in the blue suit leaned back. "You won't have to come in. You can work from home. You won't have to follow a schedule. You'll only have to do one thing...

Bad Things Happen
By Harry Dolan

When I read The Last Dead Girl last year, I knew immediately I wanted to read more so I ordered the first two books in this series. Last weekend I wanted to sink into what I thought would be a great book and I was right! I've always enjoyed books that are set in the publishing area, so I was pleased to immediately read that our main character, David Loogan, had just been hired as an editor for a mystery magazine...

Of course, he never would have realized that he would soon become part of the greatest mystery he might ever have to wade through! He had never been taught to be an editor--he also had never been taught to solve a murder. Especially the murder of the man who had just hired him!

The shovel had to meet certain requirements.
A pointed blade. A short handle, to make it
maneuverable in a confined space. He finds
what he needs in the gardening section of
a vast department store.
He stows the shovel in his cart and moves
unhurriedly through the wide aisles, gathering
a few more items: D-cell batteries, a bag of
potting soil, a can of week-killer. Leather work
gloves, two pairs. In the grocery section he
picks up four deli sandwiches wrapped in
plastic and a case of bottled water.
David Loogan was not always David Loogan. He had legally changed his name after a violent incident from his past. When you meet him, however, you will wonder how that could be. He's calm, cool, collected and stays that way through most conversations.  I enjoyed the dialogue whenever he was involved!

The Washington Post called this book the best first novel of the year (2013) so just assume I've written some gracious witty words to describe the book--LOL! Better I tell you more about it, right?!

Grub Street sitting in for
"Gray Streets Magazine..."

So David is soon working with Tom, who is quite satisfied with his work as well as David. In fact, when he needed help, that was completely out of the business environment, Tom called David...

He needed him to help bury a body...

David was sent to get shovels and others things they would need.  Even that didn't go well, since the cashier decided she had seen him before and started a conversation. Fortunately he realized she was flirting...but not before he "sees himself stabbing the blade into the base of the cashier's neck..."

When David reached Tom's home, he had told him what had happened. At least the story he wanted him to believe. But when David caught him saying one thing, he questioned Tom and got a different story. It was only later that David found out that even that was a lie and so was the name of the individual they'd buried!

Interestingly, David had been having an affair with Tom's wife but had stopped contact when he had started working for him...Now, he was confronting her:

"Come sit with me David," she said. "I didn't come here to talk about editing...I think we should put these cushions on the floor, David..."
He said nothing. Her hand drew back. It went to the front of her blouse... David's face held no expression...Finally he said, "The thing is, I like him."
"Yes, it would have to be that," she said in a small voice. "I knew you liked him. If you didn't, it wouldn't have worked. If you hated him, I wouldn't have had anything to do with you. But he's your friend. And I should have known--David Loogan is an honorable man.
She sighed. "You and Tom, You're like that fable..."Androcles," she said. "Androcles and the lion...
"Am I Androcles in this scenario?"
"You're the lion and the lion is grateful. He's not going to attack Androcles, He's not going to let any harm come to Androcles...He's certainly not going to sleep with Androcles' wife..."

As the police would say, she was a person of interest. And David knew that he would do anything in his power to find out who had killed Tom...That meant talking to his former lover as well as all other employees at Gray Streets...

Including Tom's wife, there were four older employees who were now looking to keep the magazine going. They asked to meet with David and asked if he would step into the editor's position until they could determine what to do. Without thinking, David said he had thought they were going to ask him to investigate his death... But he then agreed to take the job for a time...

About that time, the police become very active in the investigation, so much so that the lead officer is constantly in conflict with David about staying out of it! Of course he doesn't, and they become attracted and fight off those feelings... At the end there is a date set up and I'm hoping that this police team reappear in the future...I enjoyed their interaction so much! I also enjoyed the three writers who were watching over the business now...not for liking them but for seeing them as being so appropriately created and seeing the potential of whether or not and which one, if any of them, could have done it...but, even though this sounds like a simple one central plot, it is not.  So plan on working to keep things straight in your mind...who is writing what, are they really writing what is published...or...

As David gets further and further into what could have caused Tom's murder, the mention of a manuscript suddenly starts flavoring his thinking,,, And then more are murdered, all of which are related in some way--but how!?? And how about a little blackmail to mix up the pot of confusion?!! And then there's the tag game for "who's got the correct USB drive--and which is more important--the original or the edited book?!
Tom had a plan..."He worked on it for a long time and he wanted it published. The plan didn't go the way he expected, but that wasn't his fault. A bad thing happened but when it was done, it was done. There was no reversing it...Whether Tom told the police or not, it couldn't made any difference...

She brought her palms up to rub the weariness from her eyes..."Bad things happen. Tom died, and then it was up to me to decide what to do. Maybe I should have told the police...maybe I should tell  them now. But none of that can make a bit of difference to Tom."

This is such an exciting book--a page turner that hooks you from the first page when Tom starts buying the shovel and other items to bury the body of a man...on through the interviews, discussions and possibilities of solving one murder, then another, and then another... A thriller, yes! But, you know, I wonder how many writers out there are "dying" to get published... A great weekend Read!


Harry Dolan is the author of BAD THINGS HAPPEN (Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books, July 23, 2009). 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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