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The Man in the Crooked Hat

by Harry Dolan

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617330,815 (4)4
One cryptic clue leads a desperate man into a labyrinthine puzzle of murder in the electrifying new novel from national bestselling author Harry Dolan. There's a killer, and he wears a crooked hat. Private investigator Jack Pellum has spent two years searching for the man who he believes murdered his wife--a man he last saw wearing a peacoat and a fedora. Months of posting fliers and combing through crime records yield no leads. Then a local writer commits suicide, and he leaves a bewildering message that may be the first breadcrumb in a winding trail of unsolved murders . . . Michael Underhill is a philosophical man preoccupied by what-ifs and could-have-beens, but his life is finally coming together. He has a sweet and beautiful girlfriend, and together they're building their future home. Nothing will go wrong, not if Underhill has anything to say about it. The problem is, Underhill has a dark and secret past, and it's coming back to haunt him. These two men are inexorably drawn together in a mystery where there is far more than meets the eye, and nothing can be taken for granted. Filled with devious reversals and razor-sharp tension, The Man in the Crooked Hatis a masterwork from "one of America's best new crime writers" (Lansing State Journal).… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
4.5 stars.

In Harry Dolan's The Man in the Crooked Hat, an ex-cop haunted by his wife's unsolved murder follows a string of seemingly disparate murders in hopes of unmasking a clever murderer.

Jack Pellum refuses to stop looking for his beloved wife Olivia Makinnen's killer and he is hopeful a new lead will finally provide the answers he is searching for. He is certain someone he spotted near their apartment right before Olivia's death, a stranger wearing a hat, is the person who murdered his wife. When his ex-partner tells him about that Danny Cavanaugh, who recently committed suicide, left a cryptic message about a killer who wears a crooked hat, Jack immediately starts investigating the puzzling lead. A friend of the recently deceased, Paul Rook, is another link to a possible murder by the man in the hat. Even more promising, Paul has a file of unsolved murders that stretches back decades and provides Jack with a new place to begin his investigation:Danny's brother Alex's never solved homicide. Thus begins Jack's latest quest in his eighteen month hunt for Olivia's killer.

Jack is tenacious and determined to find the person responsible for murdering his wife. He spends day after day putting up flyers in hopes that someone will recognize the man in the hat. Danny's suicide is the first concrete information that the man in the hat might just be real, but finding the connection between the dead man's message and his wife's killer might be impossible. That is until Paul shows up with a stack of unsolved murders that also mention the man in the hat. Jack knows tying these deaths together with take a herculean effort but he is definitely up to the challenge.

While Jack has no idea who killed his wife, readers know from the very beginning that Michael Underhill is Olivia's murderer. What no one, including Jack, knows is why Michael killed her. As Jack begins untangling the very complicated threads that might tie Underhill to the other murders, readers are provided with intriguing peeks into the life Michael is building with Anna Haley. She has no idea what the man she loves has been up to nor does she have a clue how far he is willing to go to ensure her happiness. With Jack gaining traction in unraveling the complicated trail of unsolved murders, will he finally find justice for Olivia?

The Man in the Crooked Hat is an extremely clever and well-executed mystery. In a refreshing change of pace from the typical tech-laden investigations, Jack mainly relies on good old fashioned detective work to unearth clues and follow the evidence he uncovers. With plenty of unexpected twists and turns, Harry Dolan brings this brilliant novel to an exciting conclusion that completely wraps up all of the story's various threads. Fans of the genre do not want to miss this fast-paced, twist-filled and very intriguing whydunit. ( )
1 vote kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
Former Police Detective Jack Pellum has spent the past year or more trying to track down the murderer of his wife Olivia. All he intuitively knows is that it is the man in the hat. He has been putting up flyers all over the place, hoping someone else might have seen this elusive man.

His journey takes him to Paul Rook, who has compiled lists of murders similar to his own mother's murder...by a man in a hat. The list spans more than 20 years. Could they all have been done by the same man?

Of course, Jack treads and re-treads where the police have gone and his pursuit obviously uncovers new ground. And of course, some cases are solved.

Jack is a good character as are most of the characters in The Man in the Crooked Hat. I like Harry Dolan's writing style. He tells a good tale. There's the plodding police procedural combined with a lot of suspense and a fair amount of action.

I'll admit one thing though. The conclusion hinges on a very big leap that Jack makes that I can't figure out how he got to it. Sometimes, though, I guess you just have to do that, huh? Enjoy The Man In the Crooked Hat. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Mar 29, 2018 |
I don't say this often but this novel deserves this praise: this was a seriously well-written and well-executed mystery. It is rare to have an author introduce such a complicated premise with a high body count, and yet make everything make sense. I loved the author' delivery style because he made Jack's story very personal; I felt very sympathetic towards Jack and I wanted him to get what he wanted. In the beginning, it really did feel like a wild goose chase because the initial clues seemed so insubstantial. And I think that was the point; every character in this novel points out how fixated Jack is on these clues and the author wants the reader to also see that crazy side. But as the story starts to come together, and the narrative and clues begin to make sense, the author starts to make you rethink. As I mentioned before, there is a high body count and that worried me in the beginning because I really didn't want the author to just throw out some weird tie-in or conclusion. But the author didn't do that. Instead, he broke apart the murders and made it all make sense. There was logic in this story, and it was something I was really happy to see because it honestly doesn't happen very often. I also liked all of the characters the author created; even the minor characters had enough development that the reader could form a connection or opinion about them, which was really nice. Overall, this was a very good mystery and I cannot wait to read more by this author! I'm giving this a 5/5 stars!

Thank you to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews, visit: www.veereading.wordpress.com ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
Jack Pellum is a PI. He is now looking for the person who murdered his wife. It has consumed him and leads him down many roads to the conclusion. The man in the crooked hat is a strange person that has had a difficult past. I like this author. His style of writing suits me. ( )
  pgabj | Jan 3, 2018 |
The Man in the Crooked Hat is the latest book from Harry Dolan. This was a first read of this author for me, but it will certainly not be the last! Dolan's writing is clever, his plotting serpentine and his characters intriguing, making for an addictive read.

Jack Pellum is a former police detective. When his wife is murdered, Jack goes off the rails. The case remains unsolved after two years, but there is a clue that Jack is sure will lead him to the killer. The man wears a crooked hat. A recent murder finally lends credence to Jack's belief. The man with the hat is also sighted at this latest scene.....

Jack is a great character, well fleshed out in both personality and personally. I liked his voice. Dolan gives him snappy dialogue, but also an introspective internal look at grief, loss and love. Jack is juxtaposed with Michael Underhill. Yes, we know the name of the killer and he too has a voice. A frightening one, as he can justify everything he's doing and has done. "This is as much on you as it is on me. I'm not going to feel bad about this." We get to see inside Underhill's personal life as well.

The plotting of The Man in the Crooked Hat does not follow a straightforward path - instead it is, well, crooked. We know who the killer is - or do we? Dolan's plotting is delightfully complex, with minuscule clues that need to be connected. A clever cat and mouse game.

I really enjoyed this decidedly different mystery. ( )
  Twink | Dec 19, 2017 |
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One cryptic clue leads a desperate man into a labyrinthine puzzle of murder in the electrifying new novel from national bestselling author Harry Dolan. There's a killer, and he wears a crooked hat. Private investigator Jack Pellum has spent two years searching for the man who he believes murdered his wife--a man he last saw wearing a peacoat and a fedora. Months of posting fliers and combing through crime records yield no leads. Then a local writer commits suicide, and he leaves a bewildering message that may be the first breadcrumb in a winding trail of unsolved murders . . . Michael Underhill is a philosophical man preoccupied by what-ifs and could-have-beens, but his life is finally coming together. He has a sweet and beautiful girlfriend, and together they're building their future home. Nothing will go wrong, not if Underhill has anything to say about it. The problem is, Underhill has a dark and secret past, and it's coming back to haunt him. These two men are inexorably drawn together in a mystery where there is far more than meets the eye, and nothing can be taken for granted. Filled with devious reversals and razor-sharp tension, The Man in the Crooked Hatis a masterwork from "one of America's best new crime writers" (Lansing State Journal).

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