Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

Title: Bad Things Happen
Author: Harry Dolan
Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group
ISBN: 9780399155635


Elegant Writing With Exceptional Characters - 4 stars - a book review

Every once in a while there is a story that is written in such a unique manner it is hard to explain and impossible to deny. BAD THINGS HAPPEN is such a story. The writing style is not unusual, but has an aura of "classical-ness" to it that makes the story an almost instant classic. Whatever it is that I am trying to describe reminds me of the writing style of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL. That being said, BAD THINGS HAPPEN is not without faults.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN is unique in the sense that the plot revolves around a group of writers and editors. This premise sets up some great dialogue and postulations by the characters as they scramble to figure out who killed the founder of the murder mystery magazine, Gray Streets. Every single time the phrase, "if this was a story in Gray Streets, such and such would happen" followed by, "But this isn't a story in Gray Streets..." The dialogue is almost unreal in this sense, and nearly makes it impossible to believe, but with each unbelievable moment the story becomes that much more unforgettable.

The problems with BAD THINGS HAPPENS is that as more is uncovered about the murders, the less interested I became in who the actual killer (or killers) was. The story became extremely convoluted with the motives of characters that were insignificant previously and they had motives that were not that interesting to me. Of course, me not being a writer might have something to do with the inability to relate.

Overall, BAD THINGS HAPPENS was a worthwhile read. While not without faults, the dialogue and characters are what drive this story. If you like Charlie Huston's writing, then you will enjoy this book and vice versa.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

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