NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan

3.0 out of 5 stars "We all want to be seen for who we really are..."

This is the second novel featuring David Loogan and his live-in partner Elizabeth Waishkey. David is the editor and publisher of mystery stories for a magazine called "Gray Streets". Elizabeth is a detective for the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a very unlikely scenario, David becomes involved in a whodunit when he discovers an envelope propped against the door of his office. Inside that envelope is a message and a confession from someone who claims to have killed a recent murder victim. Who left this confession and why? This is the first of several apparent executions. The victims are all connected to a failed heist - the Great Lakes Bank Robbery, that occurred many years previously. In addition to David bumbling along in the investigation, there is also a young tabloid reporter named Lucy Navarro hot on the case. The chapters skip around and focus on different characters and move back and forth in time. This is a story that has a large cast of good guys and bad guys and a lot of background information is provided that moves the narrative forward.

I didn't find this novel to be particularly suspenseful or very thrilling. Also found it to be very slow moving with way too many completely unrealistic, and frankly sort of uninteresting, plot points. The story was very predictable with its characters all running around playing amateur sleuth a la Nancy Drew. It seemed as if the author was trying to imitate other writers with his dialog; the back cover compares his writing to Elmore Leonard. The way that David and Lucy insert themselves into the hunt for the killer and involve themselves in the case seemed completely unbelievable -- and what detective would allow her boyfriend and daughter to actually skulk around town carrying out this clandestine investigation? I had a hard time suspending disbelief. After all, these are supposed to be VERY BAD MEN.

The resolution was OK but quite drawn out. The real purpose of the tale was explained in the first chapter -- it's "about the motives people have for killing one another."

I did not read the first book in this series, Bad Things Happen, and it will be unlikely that I'd read the third. Despite raves from the publisher ensuring that it will "keep your mind racing and your hand eagerly turning pages," I simply did not find this mystery very compelling or interesting.

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