This story reminds me of a contest that was used to promote a science fiction mini-series a while back. The plot of the mini-series revolved around multiple murders, and people entering the contest had to try to solve the crimes. Well the solution was VERY tricky and I was completely wrong. 😏
To get on with the review:
A mysterious man who calls himself David Loogan arrives in Ann Arbor and rents a furnished house near the University of Michigan. Loogan, who has no job, hangs out at coffee shops; people watches; reads; and just drifts through his days. Then, by a serendipitous sequence of events, Loogan is offered a job editing stories for a literary mystery magazine called 'Grey Streets', published by a man named Tom Kristoll.
Over the next few weeks Loogan and Tom become friendly and occasionally hang out or have a few drinks. Then Loogan meets Tom's wife Laura, and the seductive blonde seduces Loogan. So Loogan sometimes schmoozes with Tom, and sometimes romances his wife.
The real action starts when a man is killed in Tom's house, and the publisher calls Loogan in something of a panic. Tom and Loogan bury the body in the woods, and Loogan insists on knowing who the dead man is and what happened. Tom spins an elaborate tale involving self-defense, which turns out to be a lie - and the truth is slowly revealed as the story unfolds.
More violence follows the first tragedy, and before long two more people are dead - supposedly suicides. However Police Detective Elizabeth Waishkey isn't fooled, and she and her team investigate the suspicious deaths. Complications add up as another person is killed; everyone lies; people keep changing their stories; evidence goes missing; etc.
Waishkey and Loogan meet during the police inquiries and like each other, but it goes no further than that - especially when Loogan becomes the #1 suspect and goes on the run. Loogan is determined to uncover the murderer himself, and interviews people who might have information about the crimes. These include the staff at Grey Streets; writers who contribute stories to the magazine; book authors; friends and neighbors of the victims; and more.
Loogan buys a burner phone and repeatedly calls Detective Waishkey to chitchat about the case. The cop tries to convince Loogan to turn himself in - saying they'll figure it out together - but no dice.
To complicate matters, a retired detective from upstate New York - who's bored with fishing - arrives in Ann Arbor. He tells Detective Waishkey that he heard about Loogan being spotted in Michigan, and that 'David Loogan' is an alias for a criminal who escaped justice in New York. It was the detective's case, and he wants to see Loogan get captured.
As the mystery plays out, people's baser natures are revealed, secrets are uncovered, and the truth comes out. If there had been a contest to guess the perp I would have lost miserably. LOL. 😟
I enjoyed the book, but I have some criticisms:
- Tom asks Loogan to help dispose of a body and Loogan immediately agrees. Really? He could go to prison (maybe for life) as an accessory to murder. This isn't believable.
- Detective Waishkey casually - and repeatedly - blabs police discoveries to persons of interest in the case. Cops would never do this.
- The plot has too many twists. It's unnecessarily complicated, and hard to keep up with.
This is Harry Dolan's debut novel, and - overall - it's a good effort. I think many mystery fans would enjoy the story.
Rating: 3 stars