VERY BAD MEN by Harry Dolan
Kirkus Star

VERY BAD MEN

KIRKUS REVIEW

A second mind-bending case for Ann Arbor editor David Loogan that begins just as simply and ominously and takes the reader on just as wild a journey.

Anthony Lark’s mission is simple: to kill three of the men involved in a fatally botched bank robbery 17 years ago. He’s already dispatched two of his targets—an impressive feat, considering that one of them, Terry Dawtrey, is serving 30 years in Kinross Prison—when he identifies them both and announces his third, nurse practitioner Sutton Bell, in an anonymous letter to Loogan (Bad Things Happen, 2009), who promptly shares it with his ladylove, police detective Elizabeth Waishkey. The timely intervention of aspiring tabloid reporter Lucy Navarro saves Bell from Lark’s initial attempt and gives Dolan a chance to fill in some back story. Lark’s motives are obscure, but they have something to do with U.S. Senate candidate Callie Spencer, whose father Harlan was the Chippewa County Sheriff shot and paralyzed in the bank robbery and whose father-in-law, John Casterbridge, is the senator she hopes to succeed. Lark keeps coming nerve-wrackingly close to killing Bell; Loogan and Elizabeth keep coming heartbreakingly close to catching Lark; and yet the tale still goes on. To divulge any more about the plot would spoil some of the dozens of surprises Dolan springs. But it’s not too much to say that nearly every cast member, however minor, is complicit in some crime; that nearly every one, even though they’re all rooted in excruciatingly familiar generic types, gets a chance to reveal unexpected depths; and that Dolan mixes his pitches with an ace’s judgment, steadily complicating Lark’s quest while keeping the psychology of his characters considerably more plausible than in Loogan’s equally baroque debut.

The rare crime novel with something for everyone who reads crime fiction.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-15749-3
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2011




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