Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan

A clever, complex thriller in which a killer hunts the perpetrators of a decades-old crime.

Anthony Lark has three names written down in his notebook, and he’s hunting them down one by one as part of his mission to avenge a 17-year-old crime. David Loogan (introduced in Bad Things Happen) is content with his life in Ann Arbor, with girlfriend Elizabeth Waishkey (who’s a police detective) and her daughter Sarah, and with his job as editor of a mystery magazine. Lucy Navarro is a tabloid reporter trying to dig up a story linking the old crime with a current political campaign. But David is drawn into the murky waters of Lark’s crusade, and Elizabeth is assigned to the investigation, so David feels compelled to help Lucy in her inquiries–especially after she disappears suddenly.

This fast-paced and intelligent thriller is told in David’s voice, but offers insight into Lark’s troubled psyche as well, as he battles the demons that make the words in his notebook breathe and tremble. Readers of the mystery genre will have a little extra fun with David’s work editing mystery stories; we even learn which authors Lark follows. Teenaged Sarah is a spunky addition to the diverse mix of characters trying to solve the crime: amateur David, tagging along with Elizabeth, the experienced professional; and indomitable Lucy, whose past holds a secret or two. Then there are the political players: an aging senator about to retire and his up-and-coming daughter-in-law, who may be tied to an old bank robbery. Complex and well-developed characters, a mind-bending plot and a wry tone make this novel impossible to put down.

This review originally ran in the July 8, 2011 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!

One Response

  1. […] book with evil in the title: Very Bad Men by Harry […]

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