The Man in the Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan

The Man in the Crooked Hat

Harry Dolan

Harry Dolan brings a blend of suspense, sly wit, serpentine plotting, and outright fun in The Man in the Crooked Hat.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Harry Dolan.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

"A new master mystery writer emerges."--Forbes Magazine

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 Hat is a masterwork from "one of America's best new crime writers" (Lansing State Journal).

Advance Galley Reviews

Unique mystery. I enjoyed the book, but found it a bit difficult to follow at times. I think it’s because there was a lot going on in the story. Excellent read though. I would definitely read more from this author.

This was such a unique plot and cast of characters that I've been avoiding reviewing it, not because it wasn't good, but because I couldn't put its uniqueness into words. Honestly, I still can't, so here goes. The creepy man in the hat is in the deep background of many murders and suicides through the years, so deep, that the cops usually aren't even told. A brother may have seen him the day before his sibling's bicycle accident that took his life, days before his wife's death, the main character, Jack Pellum, saw a man in a hat that caught his eye in the crowd and for some reason, his presence made Jack uneasy to the point that even two years after his wife's death, he still thinks that man has something to do with it. Jack's powerful dad financially supports his son and helps him when he gets into legal messes, but pities him for his loss and thinks he needs to move on, both from his loss and this obsession with this man in the hat. The Jack meets someone that has tied other deaths to the man in the hat tangentially so Jack goes in search for answers. Answers that others may not like and definitely cause upheaval in the lives of those that thought they had moved on from their own losses, some over twenty years ago. It's slightly creepy and sad and full of dead ends for Jack and scary and a million things at once while you're reading. I won't say if there is a man in the crooked hat or not but will leave you with this, whatever the cause, grief sucks, leaves a hole in the life of everyone it touches, and ultimately, those left must find a way to move forward and that way won't be the same way they'd planned.

This was my first experience with Harry Dolan, and I’m definitely going to look into more! Jack Pellum was an interesting character, searching for the man who killed his wife. The reader knows from the beginning who the killer is, though we don’t know the motive. Jack looks into other murders around the area, wondering if perhaps they’re related and if he’ll find the man in the crooked hat if he could just solve them. Jack, and the reader with him, follows many twists and turns on the road to the man in the crooked hat. The characters were interesting and well developed. I liked the way the book bounces from Jack and his search to Michael and his “normal” life. The book was very engaging and I enjoyed it a great deal. I’d definitely recommend his book!

Jack Pellum, former police detective, is trying to find the man who killed his wife. All he knows is the man wore a hat. He puts up signs asking people to contact him if they know anything about the man in the hat. Seriously, this should get him no where! Instead he finds a man who killed himself after writing a book about a killer who wears a hat and a man who is trying to find the person who killed his mother, who also wore a hat. Along Pellum's journey, he runs into people with lots of stories. Some are related to his own and some aren't. The whole time, the reader knows who the killer is. The book takes us through the Pellum's investigation and the putting together of the puzzle pieces. I really enjoyed how Mr. Dolan's story took a crooked path. It is so much better when not everything fits together perfectly! If this is how always he writes, I want to read more by him!

3.5 stars. Told from two points of view: that of former police Jack Pellum, who's spent two years trying to find his wife's killer--the man in the crooked hat, who he believes may have killed other people as well. If he can solve one of these murders, he can solve them all, he hopes--but the motivations behind all the deaths he gathers are more complex than they seem. The second point of view is of Michael Underhill. It's clear from early on that he killed Jack's wife, but not why--in fact, it takes most of the story to unravel why he killed her, a chain of events that seems inevitable once explained. While Jack is focused on his past and his loss, Michael is focused on his dreams of the future--a new house, and new life with his girlfriend. He'll do terrible things to protect that dream. Only one of these men can have what they want, and their clash draws larger and larger as the story progresses. I'm not so fond of stories told by killers, but Michael, for all he is lacking human feeling, has a tolerable voice. And he offers hints at a bit by bit pace that keeps the story moving, as you try to puzzle out what happened--knowing who is just a small part of the story. The why is complex, and intriguing. And the end has a little hope in it, so it isn't all grimdark. A good read for fans of twisty murder mysteries.

This is a detective crime mystery with a serial killer. I haven't read a book like this before, I quite enjoyed it. This book had so much going on, such as unsolved murders and through out it all Jack Pellun who used to be a detective now private investigator is looking into his wife's murder and these other murders that seem to be linked to hers. He believes a man in a crooked hat murder his wife. This was a very good mystery and I recommend it. I will be buying a physical copy of this book soon. Thank you to first to read for my advanced readers copy.

I enjoyed reading an ARC of The Man in the Crooked Hat. Not one mystery, but several are solved as the story unfolds. I would not have chosen this had I known it would involve a serial killer, but I would have missed a good read! The characters and the twists and turns kept me interested...actually could hardly put it down.

"The Man in the Crooked Hat" by Harry Dolan is a mystery about a serial killer in the Midwest. Jack Pellum is a disgraced cop turned Private I that is only interested in one case: his wife's murder. Shortly before his wife was killed, Jack saw a man in a crooked hat that stood out. For the next few years Jack's only agenda is finding that man. Soon the pieces start to come together and he is on the trail of not just one serial killer, but two. Michael Underhill is a man with a wicked past that has found the love of a good woman and the future he feels he deserves. It's all within reach if his past will just stay dead and Pellum will stay out of it. The novel goes back and forth between the two men as they are both the hunter and the hunted. The story is pretty good. I like the storyline and the character development. The body count was a little to high at the end of the book for authenticity, but I guess some serial killers are better than others. I liked the book. I received this book from

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 unmaking 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 murdered people that stretches back decades and provides Jack with a new place to begin his investigation:Danny’s brother Alex’s still unsolved homicide. Thus beginning 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 murderss, 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 typically 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.

Harry Dolan did a wonderful job writing this book. The Man in the Crooked Hat was a great read. It had well written characters and kept me guessing until the end.

Fascinating plot and lightning pacing. Had me hooked from the start. My first Harry Dolan book but there will certainly be many more in my future!

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review via First To Read. I found this to be a thoroughly engrossing tale. The characters are well written and each have their own mysteries. It is full of twists that keep you guessing until the end! The ending is a shocker!

Harry Dolan is a hell of a story teller. Jack Pellum is on a hunt to find the man that killed his wife and all he has to go on is a brief sight of a man across the street one night in a hat. Multiple seemingly unrelated murders get tied together in an intricate tale that I couldn't possibly do justice by trying to summarize. The story is riveting and a true page turner. Must read of 2017. Looking forward to more stories with this character.

Jack Pellum is a very interesting character who is obsessed with finding the man who murdered his wife and is determined to solve the mystery. As we follow Jack, there are many twists and turns along the path and many events that rely on one another to lead him to the end. I am looking forward to reading another book by Harry Dolan.

Man in a crooked hat is not my normal who done it. It is well written and is completely different in the plot because the killer is identified very early on. If this is your type of mystery than you are in for a treat.

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!

This was the best book I have read in quite a while. The cast of characters were a little hard for me to keep track of because there were so many, but that was necessary for this story to unfold. I didn’t know where the story was headed and looked forward to reading more. I will definitely seek our more books by this author. Great read!

Books like this one are one of the reasons I love First to Read. I have never read any of Harry Dolan's books and might never have been exposed to his work if it wasn't for this ARC. Unlike many mysteries, the story doesn't revolve around figuring out ' who done it', since that information is given to the reader early on. Instead, we are introduced to Jack Pellum, a man whose wife was killed and who is unable to move forward in any meaningful way until he finds her killer. Jack believes a man in a crooked hat killed his wife and during his investigation, he finds seemingly tenuous and random connections to other murders where a man in a crooked hat has been seen. There were so many twists and turns and the characters were interesting and well written. This was one of those books that I would have liked to read until the end, however, life got in the way. Every time I had to put it down, I got right back to it as soon as possible as I couldn't wait to see how everything would come together and how it would end for Jack. Harry Dolan has earned a place on my to be read author's list. Thank you, Mr. Dolan, and First to Read for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.If you are a fan of mysteries, I highly recommend this book.

I loved this novel. It pulled me in from the beginning. I was leery at first of how it would work when you find out the identity of the Man in the Crooked Hat so early in the book. While you learned some from the man's identity, there were still a lot of puzzle pieces left that needed to be put into place. I will definitely be recommending this book to others and look forward to reading more of Harry Dolan.

I loved how this wasn't a straightforward mystery. By the end of the book you have the answers for the murder of Jack's wife as well as the other deaths that occurred. I like how even though you were shown who the man in the crooked hat was early on you still had to read on to see how all the pieces of the puzzle would fall into place. A really enjoyable read from start to finish and I look forward to reading more books by the author. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

The Man in the Crooked Hat was a great read. I loved Jack Pellum, but at times I didn't think he could be an ex-cop. The characters were well developed and the author kept adding hints one by one to who murdered who. There were a few story lines, but they added nicely to the book. I will read more by Harry Dolan.

I found this novel entertaining. I liked the idea that the only clue linking the murders at first was the appearance of a man in a crooked hat. Even Jack admits it's not much to go on, but it gives a good visual for the reader to hold in their mind. I found Michael Underhill's perspective interesting. He's definitely a believable guy. Unlike a lot of the thrillers I read the main character, Jack, read like a private investigator rather than a character playing at one. He did a lot of talking to people and traveling here and there following clues, but there was also a lot of thinking as he tried to puzzle out the connections. His process was clear and steady rather than sudden insight striking him, which I enjoyed. There was a twist I didn't see coming. This isn't a deep perspective novel, I didn't know every thought and feeling that crossed Jack's mind. But I think his actions and dialogue did a great job forming a picture of who he is and what drives him. It was a great balance. It would be easy for Jack Pellum to feature in more novels, but there's a solid ending to the story so readers can be satisfied if this is a standalone. I received a review copy.

Great mystery with intriguing characters. Jack Pellum is looking for The Man in the Crooked Hat who he believes murdered his wife 2 years earlier. He was a police detective at the time and is now a private investigator and he is investigating his wife's murder. Along the way he discovers many murders which may or may not have been done by the Man in the Crooked Hat. Can he tie all these murders together? Are they tied together? Interesting story with great lead characters and good supporting characters. This is my first book by Harry Dolan but won't be my last. It was well written and the pages just flew by to the conclusion of the story.

I really enjoyed this book - for a number of reasons. First of all, and most importantly, it was a good mystery. I got pretty close to the end before I was able to tell what was going on, and even then I wasn't totally right. Secondly, the characters were interesting. I loved the fact that as new characters were introduced they kept my changing my guess about who the murder was. The other great thing for me was that there was a lot of traveling in the story - and most of it took place in areas where I have visited. The area between Ann Arbor and Detroit figures very importantly in the story, and several of the small towns in between are also very important. I don't like to talk to much about the story when reviewing mysteries, because I hate spoilers, but I will say, that every time you think you have this one figured out - Harry Dolan will send you shooting off in another direction. That's the way I like it. Guess I need to find some more books by this guy. I also guess that I'm supposed to mention that I did receive a pre-release copy of the ebook version of this novel for free.

The Man in the Crooked Hat was a solid read. It was clever, surprising,and the characters were both realistic and well developed. I looked forward to reading it each day. I look forward to more novels by Harry Dolan.

It's rare that a mystery can reveal the killer in the first few pages and yet remain a gripping read for another 300 pages or so, but the Man in the Crooked Hat succeeds at just that. Michael Underhill does not reveal a motive for the crime he commits so early in the book, so we are left wondering the reasons why and how the crime connects, if it does at all, to other killings related to a man in a fedora. Other people have seen such a man, others are obsessed with him, but the husband of this recent victim is a Detroit police detective and his life devolves into a single minded search for information on this man in the hat. There are right turns and wrong turns - crimes solved that are unrelated, and yet related. The threads tangle and weave, and keep the reader turning the pages trying to establish a motive and connection over the course of 20 years and seemingly divergent crimes, victims, methods, and place. Well worth the effort. With thanks to the author, Harry Dolan, and the Publisher, Putnam, for the advanced readers copy.

I love mysteries, I love the intrigue and the suspense. Therefore I loved this book. I was swept up in the hunt for the man with the crooked hat and couldn't wait to see if I was right in my guess. This is my first Harry Dolan novel and it will not be my last.

Oh, how exciting to find a new, good mystery writer! Harry Dolan has created a reluctant private investigator with a troubled past - wife murdered, unsolved case, dissolutioned with his life, living with a single purpose - to find his wife's murderer. But life moves on and brings him a new case with possible connections to his own unsolved case. Dolan's narrative flows and the action is always there. His characters are realistic and complicated. An altogether enjoyable book. Hope to follow up on Jack Pellum and will recommend Dolan to other mystery lovers.

Harry Dolan has succeeded in writing his best book. It will be hard to surpass this one. The nuanced chase of the "killer" is full of intrigue and excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the next mystery by this exciting author.

I really enjoyed the character of Jack and his relentless tactics to discover who the man in the crooked hat is. I liked that the book was also following the murderer and showing a cat and mouse chase. I would really be interested in reading more about this detective. He is extremely relatable and intelligently written.

Jack Pellum is a former police detective who is a changed, persistent, and driven man after the murder of his wife. As we are introduced to his character one becomes interested in his personality and invested in Jack's search for his wife's killer, a man who wore a crooked hat. We see Jack's ritual hanging of posters and hid interactions with family, a former colleague, and potential leads in the case. We meet the killer and learn about his actions and motives. This book was a real page turner for me and couldn't stop reading it!

A good mystery in which the obsessive is the protagonist unwilling to return to his life after his wife is found murdered. A police detective, he only wants to work one case, his dead wife’s, so that’s what he does as he leaves everything and everyone else behind. The reader is introduced to the killer right away but how he will be caught and what leads him towards his victims, those issues drive the tale and keep the pages turning. It’s a hard book to put down.

I don't like serial killer books where the excuse for the murders is that the serial killer is "crazy", so I was relieved to find that this isn't one of those stories. Set in Detroit, Jack Pellum is an ex-cop whose wife Olivia was murdered. The reader, but not Pellum, knows from the first chapter that Olivia's murderer was Michael Underhill. The story is a search for the reason behind that murder. Pellum is now spending most of his time putting up flyers searching for a man in a crooked hat who he suspects is the killer. His suspicions lead him to several other crimes that might be linked to the man in the crooked hat. There is a pretty high body count in this book, but by the end each killing had been logically explained. Underhill has an interesting back story and I understood perfectly why his first murder was committed. I even agreed with him. Pellum is also an interesting, obsessed character and a good detective. I can see him continuing in other books if the author decides to make this into a series. I had never heard of this author before but, since I liked the writing style and the twisty plotting of this book, I will probably read more by him. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

I got this from First to Read to give a review on. From the beginning you knew who committed the murder but did not know why. The story follows Jack Pellum who's wife was murdered and he is trying to find out who it was. The twist and turns keep you hooked.

A good quick read with well fleshed out characters and good details about Detroit and its various neighborhoods.

I read this book very quickly, which means that I really liked it. When I think about a book when I'm not actively reading it, and I can't wait to become immersed in the story again, it's a good book. The characters of Jack and Michael are well-described and humanly complex. The author dove into the psychology of each man, and it was intriguing and satisfying.

This is the first Harry Dolan book I've read and I am hooked. I had grown tired of reading most suspense/mystery books because of the predictability of the stories. Harry Dolan changed my mind with "The Man in the Crooked Hat". I found myself reading longer than I had intended to read because I couldn't stop reading it. Interesting characters with a good story line,surprising twists and turns that make this book a great read. I'm looking forward to reading more of Harry Dolan's work.

Harry Dolan's 'The Man in The Crooked Hat' is an easy to read, but not simple, thriller. It captured me from the first paragraph and held my interest to the end. It's also an inviting thriller for those who may not always pick a book from that genre. Jack Pellum is a former Detroit police detective. Two years after his wife's murder, he's left his job and is losing his life and family in a fruitless routine, searching for his wife's killer. He senses that the man he saw outside of his home, wearing a peacoat and fedora, is responsible for his wife's death. His days are spent putting up posters of the man's likeness. His investigation is going nowhere until a local man commits suicide and leaves behind two messages. Then, Pellum meets another man who also had seen the man in the fedora before his mother was murdered. We are introduced to the man in the fedora, Michael Underwood, in the first paragraph. He is intelligent, philosophical, wounded, hopeful. We are given so much information yet there are still twists and complete surprises that keep the reader turning pages. I am a newcomer to Harry Dolan. I greatly enjoyed his writing. The conversations and characters felt and sounded real. The relationships could be complex. Even characters that were only in the book for a few pages felt real. His turf is Southeast Michigan and he brings the reader along as he shares and moves around the area. Everything about the book felt seemless. Dolan is a wonderful storyteller. I would recommend 'The Man in the Crooked Hat' to anyone looking for a good book.

I have an admission to make. I love Harry Dolan's books and it's been way too long since the last one. Therefore I was delighted that Penguin First to Read made it possible to get an early look at this one. In The Man in the Crooked Hat, PI Jack Pellum is obsessed with finding the man in the title, who he believes murdered his wife. Meanwhile Michael Underhill is a somewhat enigmatic individual in the process of building a house with his girlfriend. However, he also has a past that may be coming back to bite him. As the story brings the two together, twists and reversals abound, keeping the reader thoroughly engaged in the action. Dolan is a natural storyteller. His writing seems effortless; reading his books certainly is an effortless pleasure of the reader. Recommended.

Jack Pellum has spent several fruitless years searching for a man in a hat who he believes was involved in his wife's unsolved murder. When he receives new clues he embarks on a convoluted journey to find the murderer. The reader is told his identity but not his reasons fo the crime. The many twists and turns of the plot keep the reader engaged. Definitely recommend.

The Man in the Crooked Hat is truly an amazing book and a great read! I'm a huge fan of murder mysteries and I've never read any of Harry Dolan's books before but after reading this I'll surely check them out. Right off the bat you know who the killer is but not why and that captured my interest and left me guessing. Its a perfect murder mystery/thriller with its serpentine plot, engaging characters and great writing.

What an extraordinary find this was! I had not read Harry Dolan before, but he is DEFINITELY on my radar now... This is a mysterious thriller that pulled me in from the very first pages. The characters are mostly damaged (some significantly, some insignificantly, but all with impeccable attention to detail); the intersections between them are, more often than not, edged with broken glass, and this tension makes for a taut read. Dolan is a masterful writer, teasing out his story through a mingling of sharp insights into the human condition and an easy-going narrative style that is engaging and intelligent. You know whodunit early on; the devil is, as always, in the details though, and the tale of Jack's quest to find the eponymous man in the crooked hat turns and folds back on itself in clever and tricksy ways that kept me guessing while frantically flipping pages to find out if my guesses were anywhere near correct... All in all it's a great tale by a very talented author.

I was completely absorbed in this book from the very first page and had a hard time putting it down. Harry Dolan paints a clear picture of the world he's created and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Fans of mysteries and thrillers will love this book!

If you read a lot of detective stories, you've met a former cop haunted by the death of a spouse, a parent, a sibling. A death that remains unsolved. It takes a few pages to get past the trope, but it is definitely worth doing so. Jack Pellum is driven, sad, pressured from all sides, and manages to come up with answers he didn't know anyone was seeking. The story moves quickly yet it tackles the minutiae of detective work that you don't see everywhere. The frustration, the hopelessness you sometimes get. Jack also has a family to contend with who would prefer to control his life. Jack won't feel he has control of his until he solves the mystery of his wife's death. I found the characters interesting, though I would have liked to see a few more of them developed besides Jack. If there are more books with him in the protagonist role, though, I'll snap them up.

Two years have passed since Jack Pellum’s wife, Olivia Makinnen, was murdered. He can’t let it go, primarily because the case remains unsolved. Another reason is that, at that time, he was a detective in the Detroit Police Department. As a matter of policy, he could not be allowed to participate in the investigation. And there is where his life began to unravel. Now, he is off the police force, is estranged from his parents and has used up just about every favor his friends will give him. He spends his time passing out flyers bearing the indistinct likeness of a man wearing a crooked hat, a man he saw loitering near his apartment just before the murder. As his hopes, and that of his parents and friends, reach a new low a suicide reveals that someone else saw a man in a crooked hat just before another murder many years before and miles away. It is a lead that will put Jack on the track of a serial killer and endanger all around him. There are lots of words that describe an abruptly change course: serpentine, convoluted, sinuous, circuitous, twisting, etc. All of them can, and many have been used by others, to describe the often-changing path of the story in “The Man In The Crooked Hat.” The first of these abrupt changes in direction blindsides the reader. But that is just one of many reasons to read this story. The characters are vivid, their the dialog is realistic, the plot and pace lead irresistibly to the next page, and then just one more. Suffice it to say that Dolan has a gift that other writers probably envy. This novel was a joy to read, and I highly recommend it to one and all. G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Penguin's First To Read program provided an advance galley in return for this review.

The story of The Man in the Crooked Hat unfolds as private investigator Jack Pellum begins a two year quest: to find the person who killed his wife. The trail is littered with 14 unsolved murders that took place during the previous 20 years. Jack is certain the deaths are interconnected because, in each case, a witness reported seeing a man in a hat in the vicinity of the crime scene. From the outset, we know the killer’s name, but it takes a long and winding trail until we learn why and how these murders are connected. I was not as enamored with The Man in the Crooked Hat as were other reviewers. Except for the murders of the men in one family, the author’s treatment of the victims seemed relatively superficial. The book leads one to wonder just how many murders go unsolved in a somewhat rural area consisting of several small towns.

This was one of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time. The author Harry Dolan presents the compelling story of Jack Pellum who is trying to find a man he thinks murdered his (Jack's) wife. Jack's investigation uncovers multiple murders, and he must find out how all the murder victims are connected to discover the murderer. There are many twists and complicated relationships that propel the story. Thank you to First to Read for the advance copy of this book.

Wow, I really liked this book and couldn't put it down. Harry Dolan surprised me with his twists and turns in the plot. Just when I thought I had figured out what was going to happen next there was a twist. I enjoyed the characters and their involvement in the story. Definitely a page turner!

This book was an enjoyable surprise. The mystery was satisfying and presented in an interesting way, the killer is known from the get go. We follow as Jack Pellum, a detective, whose wife was a victim, hunts desperately for any clues leading to the man in the crooked hat. Several pivotal characters contribute to the search and subsequent confrontation. Many plot twists and suspense add up to a riveting story. Keeps you guessing and cheering for Jack to catch his prey, but also to get his life back. The point of view from the killer was poignant and shows his flaws, dreams, and culpability leading to a snowballing effect. A read straight through kind of book. Definitely recommend.

This was a fun murder mystery. Lots of twists and turns that really kept me guessing until the end.

A page - turner to the end. The novel has many twists and turns that had my head spinning! Just when you think you've figured it out the author leads you down a new road with a new victim. I will definitely be recommending this book when it is published .

I found Harry Dolan's The Man In The Cooked Hat a riveting mystery that immediately captured my attention in the first chapter. Michael Underhill is sharing his fender-bender experience with the beautiful woman sitting next to him by the river. After Michael removed her wedding ring and threw it in the water, I realized he had been talking to the woman he had just killed. Jack Pellum, a former police officer and current private investigator, is on a mission to find the murderer of his wife, the man in the crooked hat. Michael Underhill is the man in the crooked hat whose trail of past murders, including Jack's wife, is returning to disrupt his future life with his innocent girlfriend. There are many twists and turns in the convoluted mystery as Jack begins to uncover the identity of the man in the crooked hat and discover his many killings that somehow are connected. I especially enjoyed the setting which took place in and around the Detroit area with references to the old Tiger Stadium and other historic Detroit sites. I thoroughly was engaged in Harry Dolan's intriguing suspense novel, The Man In The Crooked Hat.

I was really excited to read this because I loved Harry Dolan's other books. This was no exception. I did miss David Loogan, from his other books, but by the end I felt invested in Jack Pellum. I hope we see more of him in the future. Dolan's mysteries are unique and the characters are interesting and complex. The "good" guys not necessarily all good. The "bad" guys maybe not all bad. Maybe not my favorite of his books, but very good still, really enjoyed it.

This is one of those mysteries that isn't a mystery. From the first pages, we know who did it. We just don't know why, or how many people he's killed, or whether he's going to be tracked down or how. But the journey is genuinely chilling and creepy anyway. The main character, Jack, is a reluctant private eye obsessed with solving his wife's murder. The murderer, Mike, is a fully fleshed-out character even though we spend a lot less time with him than we do with Jack (as I would wish it to be). Several interesting, realistic people get involved. Several crimes get solved. Jack's not at all a perfect protagonist but I was rooting for him anyway and thoroughly enjoyed the writing style. There are a few details that I lingered over after I finished -- some little things that didn't quite make sense, that maybe were a bit of a reach. But I didn't catch them as I read since I was fully engrossed. Highly recommended for folks who enjoy this genre. I got a copy to review from First to Read.


More to Explore

  • Bad Things Happen
  • Very Bad Men
  • The Last Dead Girl

Copy the following link