Dolan, Harry. Very Bad Men.

NY: Putnam, 2011.

Dolan’s first novel, Bad Things Happen (2009), featuring a mysterious magazine editor with a deep secret in his past and a string of puzzling murders in his present, was pretty good. This sequel, about the continuing somewhat strange adventures of David Loogan and his girlfriend, Ann Arbor homicide detective Elizabeth Waishkey, is even better.

David and Elizabeth are in a relationship now, which the police department doesn’t really approve of — especially since she seems to tell Loogan a lot more about her cases than she ought to. (Well, to be fair, she tells her sixteen-year-old daughter all about them, too.) The plot this time revolves about the attempted armed robbery of a northern Michigan Indian-owned casino seventeen years before and what happened to those involved. And also a retiring U.S. Senator whose daughter-in-law would like to inherit his job. And the unexplained murders of a series of seemingly inoffensive and unrelated victims. And a mysterious manuscript dropped off at Loogan’s office in which the anonymous author describes two of the killings and gives the name of the next victim. It’s a complex plot — even more so than the first novel, during the reading of which I thought I was going to have to start taking notes — and the flavor of it all may remind you of Sophocles. (Really.) Loogan is an intriguing character and not above stepping outside the restraints of the law when he thinks it necessary. Dolan also has a knack for adroit pacing, an ear for slightly off-center dialogue, and an multidimensional approach to characterization that guarantees I’ll be watching for the next installment in what bids fair to become a popular series.

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Published in: on 12 September 2012 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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