Regular price: $31.50

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The man who calls himself David Loogan is leading a quiet, anonymous life in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He's hoping to escape a violent past he would rather forget. But his solitude is broken when he finds himself drawn into a friendship with Tom Kristoll, the publisher of the mystery magazine Gray Streets - and into an affair with Laura, Tom's sleek blond wife.

What Loogan doesn't realize is that the stories in Gray Streets tend to follow a simple formula: Plans go wrong. Bad things happen. People die.

Elizabeth Waishkey is a single mother. She's also the most talented detective in the Ann Arbor Police Department. But when Tom Kristoll turns up dead, she doesn't know quite what to make of David Loogan. Is he a killer, or an ally who might help her discover the truth? Loogan suspects his friend's death is part of a much larger puzzle, and he's not going to wait for someone else to put the pieces together.

As Loogan and Elizabeth navigate their way through Kristoll's world, they find no shortage of people with motives for murder, from a young graduate student obsessed with Laura Kristoll to a trio of best-selling writers, all of them with secrets they don't want uncovered. But as the deaths start mounting up - some of them echoing stories published in Gray Streets - Loogan begins to look more and more like the most promising suspect. Soon it becomes clear that only Elizabeth can find the path to solving both the murders and the mystery of Loogan himself.

©2009 Harry Dolan; (P)2009 Penguin Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Fans of Peter Abrahams and Scott Turow will find a lot to like. While the solution may strike some as a tad improbable, the talent Dolan displays suggests he has a bright future." (Publishers Weekly)
"Dolan's neatly symmetrical plot is tight, his dialogue is crisp, and his humor wry." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Potential, but too mechanical

A clever mind at work here, but far too mechanical and complicated. It involves most of the tricks and gimmicks used by crimes writers, if not them all. Definitely the first book I have read that sprayed suspicion on each and every character in the story. May be a tongue-in-cheek effort by a professional editor or College Professor incapable of an original plot or story.
Something about it seemed off, like it was written separately by a team of people and then coalesced by the HAL 5000. It left me wanting.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 03-09-18

Less Energy than JEB!

So mix satire with enough twists to thicken a clot then with characters duller than a knife that won't slice through water and, Bad Things Happen. No, actually bad is too strong an adjective, actually the book's like a knife that will just barely slice through water, y'know.

But it still slices, just took a lot of work: from me. See, it's pace that drives Harry Dolan's story about the way a '68 VW Bug will drive a U-Haul up a hill. But I digress, which is dull thing huh?

This story is all about murders that surround a man-of-mystery. The problem is, neither Dolan or Erik Davies as hard as they work - and they reeeeeely work hard - made me care about allusions, murders or man.

Nor the huge cast with (endless) speaking parts. Zzzzzz.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • Falls Church, VA, United States
  • 02-08-12

Very entertaining

If you could sum up Bad Things Happen in three words, what would they be?

Light, fast, fun

Would you recommend Bad Things Happen to your friends? Why or why not?

I would. It's a light listen. Very engaging. There are some lose threads at the end, and you have to suspend disbelief. Despite all that, it was a

What about Erik Davies’s performance did you like?

He really gets into the character.

Any additional comments?

This is not the deepest novel ever, but it's really entertaining and you will find that you can't turn your device off. You always want to know what happens next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anna
  • Genoa, IL, United States
  • 04-04-10

Okay- not great

I was expecting a better story when I purchased this audiobook based on reviews I'd heard. The narration was fine, and the story was okay- but it was not as engaging or intriguing as I was hoping it would be. I liked it enough to finish it, and some parts of the story and characters were much more interesting than others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Curiously engaging

Dolan books have a strange allure for me. He's got great writing potential even if it's never fully realized. Still, he entertained me throughout. It feels as though it's missing something though I can't quite define what , but in an odd way, that intangible missing piece added to the books allure. It has a good plot, decent if not great character construction, and some pretty solid writing. Sometimes the dialogue seems contrived, and a few of the characters/suspects speak to the detectives as though they are ruminating on what it's like to be a detective in a novel but many of them are writers so perhaps it's intentional. The refrain is satisfying if a bit overused. All in all, it's fun, and worth a credit. I recommend it and think some of the bad reviews here are more to do with personal taste than any real lack of quality.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too drawn out

Basically a good story but way too drawn out! It should have ended long before it became tedious. And how many times did we have to hear about those glass beads for pete' s sake!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

So Disappointing

What disappointed you about Bad Things Happen?

The story was weak. Too many characters with an uninteresting story line. It was especially disappointing since Stephen King had given it a great review.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Rule

What three words best describe Erik Davies’s performance?

Boring. Tone of voice was boring to listen to. But he did differentiate between characters well.

What character would you cut from Bad Things Happen?

About 1/3 of them.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow start but sucks you in.

At first I thought I wasn't going to finish this book, but I kept listening and pretty soon I didn't want to stop until the book was done. Unusual plot, interesting slightly odd characters, and fine narration. I'm glad I kept going.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book with solid characters

It is interesting to watch how various writers take on the "detective genre", which has been so overdone that we all recognize the various elements of these stories: the divorced detective that drinks too much; the hard nosed cop with the heart of gold; the former special forces soldier that somehow works in a small town; the "civilian" that helps the cops through a difficult case; etc. We all recognize these elements so well, that such characters do not even really have to be fully developed anymore.

In this case, the characters are interesting, fresh and the story is entertaining. Here, the main character is a mysterious guy that is working as an editor for a crime publication, as such he and the various published writers can all put forth theories - and become suspects - based on various plotlines. There is a continual refrain "if this were a story in Grey Streets...", which I think adds to the atmosphere, and really helps convey how the character is trying to deal with the facts of a murder.

I really liked this and look forward to the next one by this author.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Bad Things Happen - and this is one of them

What would have made Bad Things Happen better?

A less contorted story line; much better editing, and a far better reader. Every cliche in the literary world was used in this book, especially, "if this was a story in Graystone," the mystery magazine used as an anchor.

What was most disappointing about Harry Dolan’s story?

Most disappointing was that the book had been so well reviewed - must have been Dolan himself or his best friends writing the reviews. The story line stretched on beyond far beyond where it should have stopped and put us out of our misery.

What didn’t you like about Erik Davies’s performance?

At first I thought I was listening to an amateur - perhaps the author - reading the book. Davies' articulation of sentence structure was awkward at best; his accents - of African American and Asian American characters - were terrible. He took a bad book and made it worse.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment - if I had had anything else to listen to at the time, I wouldn't have wasted 10+ hours on this.

Any additional comments?

Please, better, more honest reviews; LISTEN to the book yourselves - this was so far below the usual Audible standards that I was astonished it got by.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful