Review

Very Bad Men

by Harry Dolan

A long time ago, in the town of Sault Sainte Marie, a bank heist dubbed the Great Lakes Robbery set in motion a series of tragic events. It was supposed to be a simple job, in quick and out with the loot. No one was supposed to get hurt. Of course, it didn't quite go down that way.

"Turn the pages as fast as you can, and you still won't keep up with the furious pace Harry Dolan has set in this chilling thriller. It's a rollercoaster ride from start to finish."

Seventeen years later, a man who calls himself Anthony Lark seems to be on a mission to eliminate every one of the people involved in that robbery. But who is Anthony Lark, and what is his connection to the victims? One thing is for sure: Lark is a patient man who plans his murders with cold calculation and icy cunning. He is also a man who wants credit for his actions.

One hot July day, David Loogan, editor of a small mystery magazine in Ann Arbor, finds a package outside his office door. He glances around, but sees no sign of someone disappearing down the hall. Well, this happens to him a lot. Often an aspiring writer will drop off his story secretly, hopeful that Loogan will read it and proclaim it to be the greatest story ever written. This package, though, is unlike any he has found before, as is the story that comes with it.

"We'll have to put aside the usual rules, because this is a story that doesn't want to follow them. It has its own ideas. Although it's mine, and Elizabeth's too, it doesn't really begin with us. It begins in northern Michigan, in the city of Sault Sainte Marie. It begins in a hotel room."

After reading the few pages in the envelope with mounting horror, Loogan calls Elizabeth Waishkey, an Ann Arbor detective --- and his girlfriend --- and soon the chase is on. Lark has claimed at least two victims, and it looks unlikely that he will stop until he has finished his list.

As usual, with the notoriety that a case of multiple murders engenders, reporters begin sniffing around like bloodhounds. One particularly dogged reporter, a young woman named Lucy Navarro, quickly attaches herself to Loogan in hopes that she'll score a scoop. A little amused and annoyed, Loogan finds her a bit naïve, but admits that she can be helpful too. Plus, she's pleasant enough, so they form a somewhat mutually beneficial alliance. But when he sees her being wrestled into a car in the dead of night, the case turns personal.  Even though he barely knows Lucy, he can't let her association with him get her killed.

As Loogan and Waishkey race to catch a killer, new twists pop up literally around every corner, shooting their level of frustration to new heights. While Lark's methods are obviously gruesome, is it possible his vendetta is justified? Is he a vigilante or a hero, or just a sick man with lethal weapons?

Turn the pages as fast as you can, and you still won't keep up with the furious pace Harry Dolan has set in this chilling thriller. It's a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. And despite the bloody murders Anthony Lark ruthlessly commits, VERY BAD MEN will restore your faith in the good men willing to take on humanity's worst.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on July 7, 2011

Very Bad Men
by Harry Dolan

  • Publication Date: July 3, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0425247619
  • ISBN-13: 9780425247617