The Man in the Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan

The Man in the Crooked Hat

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

Title:The Man in the Crooked Hat
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The Man in the Crooked Hat Reviews

  • Faith

    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

    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.

  • Kathy

    4.5 stars.

    In

    , 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

    4.5 stars.

    In

    , 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

    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?

    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,

    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.

  • J.

    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 spe

    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 changing 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.

  • Suzanne

    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 received my copy from Penguin’s

    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 received my copy from Penguin’s First to Read Program.

  • Vishaka Rajan

    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

    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.

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  • Kristen

    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. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

  • Barb Lie

    The Man in the Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan is a standalone murder mystery. Jack Pellum, an ex-cop, is our hero. Two years ago, Jack’s wife was murdered, and he is obsessed with finding the murderer, which eventually cost him his job. Even his detective friends try to get him to move on. But Jack can’t rest, and uses every moment to put up flyers about a man with a crooked hat, which was his only clue to the killer.

    The main difference in this murder mystery is that we know from almost the beginni

    The Man in the Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan is a standalone murder mystery. Jack Pellum, an ex-cop, is our hero. Two years ago, Jack’s wife was murdered, and he is obsessed with finding the murderer, which eventually cost him his job. Even his detective friends try to get him to move on. But Jack can’t rest, and uses every moment to put up flyers about a man with a crooked hat, which was his only clue to the killer.

    The main difference in this murder mystery is that we know from almost the beginning, who the murderer is. Michael Underhill has finally found his life coming together. He was a beautiful girlfriend, who loves him, and makes him happy; this is the life he wants badly, and he will let nothing change that.

    After awhile, when Jack begins to weaken his resolve, he gets a message and meets someone else looking for the man with the crooked hat. This will bring Jack to a small town, which will lead to various clues of previous murders that maybe related, even as far back as twenty years. The mystery is chilling, as there are many twists that will reveal a cunning murderer, and several deaths that are remotely connected. Jack being an experienced former detective, as well as driven by his wife’s death, is probably the only one who can possibly to tie the strange pieces together.

    What follows is an exciting story and at times early on, a bit confusing. It was also an amazing in depth mystery, that involves several crimes, with various people, deaths that occur over the years, and those that had no real relation to each other. Slowly, with a POV of mostly Jack, but some with Mike Underhill, we learn the consequences that lead to Jack’s wife’s death, as well as some other recent deaths.

    I do not want to give spoilers, and this is a difficult review that telling too much more would ruin it for you. The Man in the Crooked Hat was an excellent murder mystery that kept me turning the pages, especially in the last half, which started to make more sense with each revelation. If you enjoy murder mysteries, a flawed but great leading character, in depth storytelling, very good secondary characters, a conniving murderer, and many twists and turns along the way, I suggest you read Harry Dolan’s The Man in the Crooked Hat.

    Barb

  • Patty

    The Man In The Crooked Hat

    By

    Harry Dolan

    What it's all about...

    Jack Pellum is a tortured man. His wife has been murdered. He has one goal. That goal is to find the man in the crooked hat...that’s the man who murdered his wife. Matters are complicated because Jack is a former policeman. Jack’s father is a powerful judge with good intentions for his son. He interferes with Jack’s mission. Jack posts flyers, investigates, talks to people...to get what he wants...finding the man with the crooked hat.

    The Man In The Crooked Hat

    By

    Harry Dolan

    What it's all about...

    Jack Pellum is a tortured man. His wife has been murdered. He has one goal. That goal is to find the man in the crooked hat...that’s the man who murdered his wife. Matters are complicated because Jack is a former policeman. Jack’s father is a powerful judge with good intentions for his son. He interferes with Jack’s mission. Jack posts flyers, investigates, talks to people...to get what he wants...finding the man with the crooked hat.

    Why I wanted to read it...

    I wanted to read this book mostly because of the author. I loved The Last Dead Girl...another amazing book written by him.

    What made me truly enjoy this book...

    Complexity of plot as well as complex damaged characters and skillful edgy writing made this book irresistible. It is a smoothly written book. It’s reveal is slow and enticing. Jack is relentless in his pursuit of this murdering man. And yet...as the murdering man reveals bits and pieces of himself...I was caught up in the idea that he had some sliver of good within him. But...did he? Hmmm...

    Why you should read it, too...

    Readers who love really good mysteries...complex and unputdownable...will love this author’s book.

    I received an advance reader’s copy from the publisher through Edelweiss and Amazon in exchange for my honest review.

  • Gary Moreau

    This is my first Harry Dolan novel but this book, at least, struck me as a crossover between a literary novel and a PI crime-solver. That’s a good thing, in my mind, in that it gives the book a literary depth well beyond the typical mystery or serial PI series. That depth, however, does slow the pace a bit. That’s not a criticism in any way; just a warning, depending on what you’re looking for. It reads like a novel.

    The best PI’s in literature are always brooding, brilliant, and a bit lost. They

    This is my first Harry Dolan novel but this book, at least, struck me as a crossover between a literary novel and a PI crime-solver. That’s a good thing, in my mind, in that it gives the book a literary depth well beyond the typical mystery or serial PI series. That depth, however, does slow the pace a bit. That’s not a criticism in any way; just a warning, depending on what you’re looking for. It reads like a novel.

    The best PI’s in literature are always brooding, brilliant, and a bit lost. They’re the big-hearted under-achievers that are always on the outside looking in on a normal life but the man or woman you want to have your back or be your friend. Jack Pellum, the protagonist here, is just such a man.

    A former detective, Pellum’s wife is murdered and the police are without a suspect. Pellum, of course, carries the burden of finding her killer to the point of obsession. He ultimately uncovers the truth, but it is a complex and serpentine path of criminality that makes “the butler did it” look childish in its simplicity by comparison.

    Jack is the son of a very well connected federal judge who is over-bearing and meddling, but that tension never gets fully developed. That doesn’t detract from the story but I was left with some anticipation that never quite got fully satisfied. Perhaps in a future work.

    The book itself is not set in New York, Palm Beach, or Los Angeles, which in and of itself sets it apart. The plot unfolds in Detroit, a city of rich contrasts. Once a bustling metropolis that boasted an architecture and cultural scene that rivaled cities many times its size due to the wealth created by the automobile, it is a city struggling, with some success, to reclaim its lost glory. It is both a bit magnificent and gritty at the same time.

    There are plenty of twists to the plot, mostly unforeseen, and none goes so far as to risk crossing the line that holds the suspended disbelief intact. The writing is excellent and the dialogue, in particular, is crisp and efficient, but remains human, as you would expect in a good literary novel. Dolan is a first-rate storyteller and a first-rate writer and the two qualities together make for an outstanding read.

    I have no doubt that this author will continue to build on his past success. It is richly deserved.

  • Lisa

    I've read books before by Harry Dolan and enjoyed them - he is a very talented, assured writer. The Man in the Crooked Hat was another well-written addition to his repertoire. An added bonus: the story should appeal to readers who are not strictly mystery fans, as there was more depth and heft to the story than say, a typical thriller or action-based mystery. Another reviewer included that the book was more 'literary' and I'd agree with that.

    The only reason I gave the book 3 instead of 4 stars

    I've read books before by Harry Dolan and enjoyed them - he is a very talented, assured writer. The Man in the Crooked Hat was another well-written addition to his repertoire. An added bonus: the story should appeal to readers who are not strictly mystery fans, as there was more depth and heft to the story than say, a typical thriller or action-based mystery. Another reviewer included that the book was more 'literary' and I'd agree with that.

    The only reason I gave the book 3 instead of 4 stars is I'm not overly fond of books that go back and forth between different narratives and characters - although I can understand why the book was laid out in this fashion. I wouldn't let this stop anyone from reading this book however - and to try other books written by Mr. Dolan as well.

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review - thank you to the publisher and Goodreads for providing me with this opportunity.

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