Very Bad Men
A David Loogan Mystery by Harry Dolan
Review: Gray Streets Mystery Magazine editor — and sometimes uncredited author — David Loogan frequently receives unsolicited manuscripts. But one morning he receives one that takes him by surprise: a simple manila envelope with no return address or anything else that might identify the sender, with the following inside: "I killed Harry Kormoran in his apartment on Linden Street", in Very Bad Men, the second mystery in this series by Harry Dolan.
The killer, who has his own point of view, is Anthony Lark. Lark is working from a small notebook with three names listed in it: Kormoran, Bell, and Dawtrey. These men, together with two others, attempted to rob a bank 17 years ago but as sometimes happen, things went badly awry. The getaway driver, spotting the local sheriff entering the bank on routine personal business, takes off while the robbery is in progress. The sheriff kills the leader, but is badly injured when another of the gang — Dawtrey — fires in return. Dawtrey is given a 30-year sentence for attempted murder, which he is still serving, but the other two — Kormoran and Bell — get light sentences and have long since been released. The driver, who was known only to the group's now dead leader, remains at large, his identity never determined.
Loogan brings the note to the attention of Elizabeth Waishkey, a detective with the Ann Arbor Police Department. She eventually catches up with Lark, but not before he attempts to kill both Bell and Dawtrey, who has been temporarily released from prison to attend his father's funeral. But in a strange twist of fate, a deputy shoots and kills Dawtrey as he was attempting to escape … or so he claims. Lark doesn't deny what he has done and tried to do, saying only that these were "very bad men and they deserved to die."
Very Bad Men is a powerful mystery, one where the reader may think they know what's going on … but there's always some doubt as to whether they're right or not. The characters are strongly drawn, passionate in what they believe, and the storyline will keep one's interest up to the very end. This is one of the year's best mysteries and should not be missed.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Very Bad Men.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Very Bad Men for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Bad Things Happen
Putnam (Hardcover), July 2009
ISBN-13: 9780399155635; ISBN-10: 0399155635
Location(s) referenced in Very Bad Men: Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan — A David Loogan Mystery
Publication Date: July 2011
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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