Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Bad Things by Michael Marshall

Bad Things (edition 2011)

by Michael Marshall

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2342649,373 (3.41)10
Title:Bad Things
Authors:Michael Marshall
Info:Harper (2011), Edition: First Harper Paperback Edition, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:paranormal, crime

Work details

Bad Things by Michael Marshall Smith



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 10 mentions

English (24)  Dutch (2)  All (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Bad things have happened to John Henderson, besides being given the most generic name imaginable. 3 years ago his child died before eyes, inexplicably falling over dead with a look of absolute horror on his face. Then he tried to drink away his despair, which led to his eventual divorce. Now, just as he is starting to get his life back together (kind of) a mysterious stranger leaves him an anonymous email, saying they know what really happened to his son. When he returns to the place where his life fell apart to speak to this stranger, he finds things were far darker, and much stranger, than he could have imagined.

This isn't the first book I've read by Michael Marshall, but it's the first book I've read under this pseudonym. I am a huge fan of his science fiction work (under Michael Marshall Smith) and consider Spares on of my all time favorites, even if I haven't read it in nearly a decade and probably didn't have the reading/life experience to make that judgement, assuming we ever do when we make such claims. Nevertheless, even though this is worlds apart from his science fiction, so to speak, it is definitely stylistically familiar. The main character is kind of a badass, while still feeling vulnerable and believable, and things get a bit crazy towards the end, something that is true for all 3 of his sci-fi novel that I've read.

I'll be the first to admit, I tend to judge mystery/suspense novels a little unfairly. They aren't really my thing, yet I always tend to read 3 or 4 of them each year and rarely give them more than 3 stars. I'd like to say Bad Things was different, but alas, despite the fact that it's perfectly enjoyable and there isn't much wrong with it at all, it's still just a suspense novel. Like I said, it's totally unfair. On the bright side, if you like this sort of thing and you are still reading this, then by all means, give it a try! I'm still giving it 3 stars though. ( )
  Ape | Sep 2, 2016 |
We here at Sheelagh na Gig like our thrillers dark and brooding and twisty, full of foreboding, dense with danger,tingling with trepidation, minging with menace, but most of all, we like them well written. That’s why this week’s review commends to your attention Bad Things, by Michael Marshall, which has an opening that will break your heart, a story that will drag you to the edge of your seat, and a terrifyingly suspenseful climax that will dump you on the floor.

Bad Things opens with the sudden, inexplicable death of a young boy on a jetty, devastating the lives of his parents and destroying their marriage. Three years later the father, John Henderson, is working in a pizza joint, reluctantly protecting his boss’ daughter from the dangerous blunderings of her drug dealing boyfriend, until he receives a mysterious e-mail from someone who claims to know how his son died. Henderson is drawn him back to the tangled forests of Washington State where a wealthy family and an entire town conspire to keep some horrible secrets.

Grappling with old memories and fighting old ghosts, haunted by his devastating loss, John becomes entangled in a sinister web of secrets and old power that may well provide answers to the mystery of his son’s death that he might be better off never knowing. The arrival of his boss’ daughter and boyfriend with a pair of hitmen in close pursuit, adds a complication that he could really do without. Death and darkness close about our hero and the people he wants to protect, and the scene is set for a final confrontation on the same jetty where he lost his son

Marshall’s crisp, fluent style conveys setting, character and emotion with precision and clarity while the murky, mysterious plot is slowly, tantalisingly unravelled, building a sense of disquiet and unease into an almost unbearable suspense. Bad Things provides more than a few chills, making it perfect reading for the Summer holidays. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Didn't realise there was going to be a paranormal theme to this book... ( )
  susanbunny | Nov 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I thought when I received the book that I would enjoy the read. Turned out that the paranormal events were not what I was interested in. John was an interesting character but the ending disappointed me. ( )
  jsharpmd | Feb 1, 2012 |
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/09/review-bad-things-by-michael-marshall.html

John Henderson is waiting tables at a small restaurant in the Pacific Northwest,and house sitting for a friend in the area. It’s been three years since his young son died on Lake Murdo in Black Ridge,Washington,and he’s doing his best to live life and forget,when one day he receives an email that says simply “I know what happened.” Soon,John is pulled back to Black Ridge and meets a mysterious woman who claims the same thing happened to her husband. John is skeptical,but soon,events begin to lead him in only one direction:something extremely strange is going on,and more people are going to die.

I’m a longtime fan of Michael Marshall’s. I started with his trilogy,which consists of The Straw Men,The Upright Man,and Blood of Angels,which put him on my autobuy right away. His books remind me quite a bit of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series,in that he’s able to mix thriller with a dash of the supernatural to wonderful effect. As a parent,I can’t imagine having to go through the death of a child,and John Henderson is a man haunted by this,and becomes determined to find the real reason it happened. He’s more than just a former lawyer,and has more than a few tricks up his sleeves. He is not without resources,and in spite of his pain,is a strong and capable protagonist,who will stop at nothing to protect those he loves. Michael Marshall knows how to turn up the creep and also use his character’s surroundings to enhance the mood of the story. Wet,loamy woods surround the lake in which his son dies,and there always appears to be something at the peripheral,lingering in the shadows of the trees. The little hairs on the back of my neck stood up more than once,and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out just what was causing the death and mayhem in Black Ridge. Michael Marshall’s novels are a perfect example of the slow burn. There is action,but the pleasure in these books is the build to the climax. The endings are always satisfying,and sometimes shocking,but the journey is what you will relish,peeling back the layers of each character and soaking in the atmosphere of a town steeped in secrets. Bad Things is a standalone novel,but I urge you to check out his trilogy,and also The Intruders. Heck,you really can’t go wrong with anything by this talented writer! If you like thrillers with a supernatural twist,taut writing,and lots of atmosphere,you’ll love Bad Things! ( )
  MyBookishWays | Sep 30, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Stephen Jones
Who knows the darkest parts of the woods — and the path from there to the pub.
First words
It is a beautiful afternoon in late summer, and there is a man standing on the deck of a house in the woods a fifteen minute drive from Roslyn, a nice, small town in Washington State.
That night she checked the bolt thirty-two times when she went to bed, though she knew it was too late. Nobody was already inside the gates, and that's what panic actually was, she realized. It was the noise of the world whispering in your ear, when your life was ruled by something that wasn't there.
It was the sound of nobody talking, all the time.
I know how much difference a night's sleep can make, that what seems ungovernable and world-breaking at one A.M. can be made to feel like someone else's dream if you put seven hours of unconsciousness between it and you. Tomorrow's not just another day, another person lives it—and every time you go to sleep, you say good-bye.
There was an afternoon, three years ago, when my son died in front of my eyes, when I'd dived into the water and then stood exactly where I was now, holding something in my arms for which I had made a sandwich four hours before: when I stood knowing that the person for whom I'd slapped cold cuts and cheese between bread, and then sliced the result into the preferred triangular form, had gone away and was no longer there; and that the wet, heavy thing that remained was nothing but a lie.
What is the difference between those two states? Nobody has a clue. The local doctors and the coroner certainly didn't. All they could tell me was that Scott had been dead before he hit the water, and they had no idea how or why.
I'm sorry, Mr. Henderson. But he just died.
This difference is why our species makes sacrifices, performs rituals, repeats forms of words to ourselves in the dark watches of the night. Gods are merely foils in this process, and audience for the supplications of metaphor in the face of the intractable monolith of reality. We need someone to listen to these prayers, because without a listener, they cannot come true, and therefore there must be gods, and they must be kind, else they would never grant our wishes—in which case why would we pray to them in the first place?
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Three years after losing his four-year-old son in a bizarre accident involving a lake jetty, John finds his precarious hold on a normal life destabilized when he receives an e-mail from a stranger claiming to know the truth, a situation that triggers a terrifying sequence of events.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Michael Marshall Smith's book Bad Things was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
11 avail.
23 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.41)
1 1
2 8
2.5 1
3 22
3.5 8
4 25
4.5 3
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,054,356 books! | Top bar: Always visible