Cover image for Bad things : a novel
Bad things : a novel
Marshall, Michael, 1965 May 3-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2009]

Physical Description:
371 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


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"Marshall recalls Stephen King's ability to set a story in the world of the commonplace, then suddenly jolt it into a more hellish realm."

-- New York Times

Bad things have always happened in Black Ridge, Washington--and Michael Marshall, the acclaimed, bestselling, Phillip K. Dick Award-winning author of The Intruders ("Scary brilliance" -- Baltimore Sun ) and Straw Men ("Brilliantly written and scary as hell" --Stephen King), lets readers experience all the exceptional nastiness. Marshall's Bad Things is an electrifying combination of psychological suspense, mystery, horror, and paranormal activity that no fan of ingenious, intelligent thrillers will want to miss.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Bad things happen in the town of Black Ridge, Washington. For John Henderson, it started several years earlier with the mysterious death of his four-year-old son, Scott, which led to the dissolution of his marriage and the general downsizing of his life. Now working as a waiter in an Oregon beach town, he receives a mysterious e-mail from a woman in Black Ridge offering information about Scott's death. As Henderson tries pin down his elusive informant, he is also helping his employer's daughter, whose spaced-out boyfriend's drug dealings have him in a world of trouble. Gradually Henderson understands the effect his past actions had on events and the reason his ex-wife and younger son also are drawn back to Black Ridge. Marshall (The Intruders, 2008) builds up suspense slowly, moving between major characters in a scattershot fashion and leaving a certain ambiguity about the evil and its source. One thing, though, is very clear: Black Ridge like the Maine towns populated by Stephen King's characters is not a place you'd want to visit.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2009 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of this unsettling novel of supernatural suspense from bestseller Marshall (The Intruders), four-year-old Scott Henderson dies from no apparent cause after falling into a lake in Black Ridge, Wash. The boy's devastated parents, John and Carol, divorce, and both leave the area. Three years later, John is lured back to Black Ridge by a chilling message from a woman who says she knows what killed his son-a siren call that John can't ignore. John's return is a trigger for other ominous events that will lead him to relive Scott's death and confront the dissolution of his former life. The small town's surface normality contrasts nicely with the unnerving behavior of some residents and even inanimate objects (e.g., cars that suddenly won't start). While much of what's going on doesn't make a lot of sense, this spooky tale shows Marshall (who writes horror and SF as Michael Marshall Smith) has a knack not only for the frisson of dread but also the telling psychological insight. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After his four-year-old son dies under suspicious circumstances, John Henderson leaves his old life behind in Washington State and moves to Oregon. He works at a beach-front restaurant and lives a solitary existence until he feels obligated to help his boss's daughter, Becki, and her druggie boyfriend who have gotten entangled with some shady characters. At the same time, he is contacted by a woman claiming to know who killed his son. John heads back to his hometown-followed by Becki and her boyfriend-to find his former neighbors behaving very oddly. As the novel unfolds, things are increasingly less what they seem-and increasingly ominous for the novel's characters. Verdict Excellent writing and a chilling story line make this psychological thriller impossible to put down. A perfect beach read for those who enjoy a few shivers with their sunbathing. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]-Lisa O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Libs., Winnipeg (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.