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Bad Things Paperback – 4 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (4 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007210043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007210046
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Fast-moving, sinister and highly accomplished … This is ferocious storytelling of the highest order, with corkscrew twists and turns that make it deliciously scary as the secrets unfold.’ Daily Mail

‘Marshall’s thrillers get creepier with every book.’ Mirror

Praise for The Intruders:

‘A good, taut thriller, with lots of action and a very gripping ending; Marshall takes the reader with him on the investigation with a great deal of guile and style.’ Guardian

‘Devilishly clever … a tautly crafted page-turner of the highest order.’ Bookpage

‘Bestseller Marshall outdoes his own high standards with this potent blend of suspense, paranoia and just plain creepiness … a provocative and supremely intelligent thriller’ Publishers Weekly

‘Sinister’ Mirror

‘Captures a sense of the menacing inevitable … one of the more bracingly depressing tales of mystery and terror to have been published in recent years’ Time Out

‘Subtle, satisfying – and really scary.’ Kirkus Reviews

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

`Marshall's thrillers get creepier with every book.' Mirror
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Linton on 21 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember when I read the Michael Marshall Smith short story 'The Dark Land' and was so blown away by his originality and sharp edgy writing that I still remember exactly when and where I read it. Fastforward some 20 years or so and this tired generic effort - a total waste of the writer's talent and even worse - a waste of my money and time!

I realised pretty quickly that he was trying his hand at an old school horror novel - the kind of thing King/Koontz used to do rather well - creepy small town, locals in cahoots with supernatural forces, mayhem ensues etc etc. Never mind that this plot has already been done to death I was still optimistic at this point thinking that maybe MMS could give it a sharp new twist. Boy was I wrong! By the time I was half way through the novel my enthusiasm had seriously begin to run out - the plot seemed totally generic, the characters underdeveloped and the writing uninspired. Clearly MMS was totally out of ideas and just trying to up the word count to a point where he could tag on a dreary generic ending and foist this effort on an unsuspecting public. In order for this kind of book to work you need a authentically creepy environment, menacing locals and a sympathetic hero/heroine to root for. All this was lacking here - the 'supernatural menace is never remotely believable, the female villain is no Annie Wilkes and the gang enforcers are about as scary as kids dressed up for Halloween. Worst of all the hero of the novel is totally unlikeable, an selfish idiot who has an affair when his wife is pregnant and doesn't seem remotely bothered about his (surviving) son. In fact the scariest thing about this book was the £6.99 I paid to download it to my Kindle!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Robert A. Josey VINE VOICE on 9 Jan 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this thriller in two days flat. One of those books of the 'can't put 'em down' variety.

I like the intelligence of Marshall's writing; the gritty, existential philosophy he brings along with the story; the insights into the character's lives and mentalities. This combined with an intruiging, twisting plot makes for a great read.

My only criticism is that the last third seemed to turn into an action screenplay - it has 'film me' written all over it. And as such a lot of the subtlety, complexity and mystery of the plot began to fall apart, traded in for a shoot 'em up/gangsta finale. I wish the author had put the brakes on that a little and perhaps dissected the supernatural elements of the story better. There was something really sinister in there which wasn't properly developed.

That said it really works as an American super-thriller, reminiscent of the great Thomas Perry.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By SP Crowley on 29 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a very mediocre book by a writer whose gifts and substantial early promise appear to be deserting him. The characters are preposterous and John Henderson is clearly a piece of authorial wish fulfillment: a non-sexist, honest, decent action hero with a vast source of hidden income who the (good)ladies adore because he is so open about his feelings. Pass the sick bag. I finished it and, to be fair, Marshall shows enough skill here to keep this creaking plot afloat until the bitter end: hence the two stars.
Maybe Marshall is trying to expand his horizons a bit by branching out into more supernatural fiction but on the evidence of this and The Intruders, he should stick to what he is good at.
Finally, what is the cover all about? It has nothing whatsoever to do with this story and I can only assume that it is a shameful attempt to trade on past glories. I know I was fooled.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By normngrey on 10 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read all this author's books and enjoyed most.

The style of writing in this one is rather different to previous ones and I thought several times I was reading something by Dean Koontz - hint: male lead character in first person with female in background with a dog. Admittedly some authors can pull this change in style off.

That said the plot did pull well together with enough twists and turns combined with red herrings to keep the plot together and me, the reader, well engaged. After completing the book and thinking it all through I could identify the issues between the lines for the local sheriff who suspected a lot but didn't ahve the proof to take action. It is formulaeic but it has more depth than the Koontz books written in the same style. if read Koontz than you will likely enjoy this one too.

Fiction, to me, is about entertainment and relaxation, and this book fulfills this very well indeed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Carswell on 12 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Michael Marshall right from the beginning, from his early ground-breaking work as Michael Marshall Smith to his present-day incarnation as a writer of slightly quirky thrillers. So I was confident when I started reading "Bad Things" that it would be a good book. How very wrong I was.

The book's premise is extremely promising. The disappearance of John Henderson's four-year-old boy, in slightly mystifying circumstances, leads to our protagonist moving to the other side of the country to lead an undemanding life as a bartender. Just as he is slowly coming to terms with his life, a mysterious email brings him back to the town he once called home and causes him to question everything he thought he once knew.

The problem I found with reading this story is it never feels like it's going anywhere. Like the protagonist, one feels confusion with every turn of the page. Just when things are beginning to come together Marshall brings out seemingly irrelevant sub-plots. The only thing that kept me reading to the end was the thought that it would all make sense eventually. Unfortunately, that turned out not to be true. The ending of this book is so confusing, muddled and irritatingly inconclusive I don't think I could even sum it up!

As other reviewers have stated there are other problems with the book. The fact that the protagonist has a seemingly infinite source of money is an irritation and the various sub-plots involving fellow employees of the bar are irrelevant.

The book gets two stars from me because it did keep my interest til the end, if only to see if I could figure out what the hell was going on! But it's a disappointing book from a usually first-rate author.
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