I first encountered Harry Dolan's work in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest. Bad Things Happen, which is the predecessor to this book, had me wondering for almost two years what the character was doing buying a shovel. What was he going to bury and why?
Dave's settled down as the editor of Grey Streets magazine. He's even gotten married to police detective Elizabeth Waishkey and he's happily settled with her and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Sarah.
He really didn't expect to get another case when he picked up the manuscript submission for Grey Streets. But those pages depicted a murder that had already occurred and listed the victim for the next crime.
The reader knows Anthony Lark committed the crime from the beginning. Lark's got some serious issues: words evoke colors. That point of view is one that is both eerily fascinating and makes the reader want to jump right out of Lark's head as soon as possible.
The story's intricate enough that you might need to make careful note of who-done-what particularly since the story is so fast-paced. The end's definitely worth the wait and the writing does not disappoint. Harry Dolan has a skill for creating memorable characters and places. I like the Ann Arbor setting, because it's one that really has not been depicted in mysteries very frequently and it's good to go to a new place.
Very Bad Men is the sequel to Bad Things Happen. For the most part, this sequel stands alone, but if the premise or setting intrigues you, I would consider reading the books in order.
Rebecca Kyle, July 2011