One Good Turn
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From Publishers Weekly
Having won a wide following for her first crime novel (and fifth book), Case Histories (2004), Atkinson sends Det. Jackson Brodie to Edinburgh while girlfriend Julia performs in a Fringe Festival play. When incognito thug "Paul Bradley" is rear-ended by a Honda driver who gets out and bashes Bradley unconscious with a baseball bat, the now-retired Jackson is a reluctant witness. Other bystanders include crime novelist Martin Canning, a valiant milquetoast who saves Bradley's life, and tart-tongued Gloria Hatter, who's plotting to end her 39-year marriage to a shady real estate developer. Jackson walks away from the incident, but keeps running into trouble, including a corpse, the Honda man and sexy, tight-lipped inspector Louise Monroe. Everyone's burdened by a secret—infidelity, unprofessional behavior, murder—adding depth and many diversions. After Martin misses a visit from the Honda man (Martin's wonderfully annoying houseguest isn't so lucky), he enlists Jackson as a bodyguard, pulling the characters into closer orbit before they collide on Gloria Hatter's lawn. Along the way, pieces of plot fall through the cracks between repeatedly shifting points of view, and the final cataclysm feels forced. But crackling one-liners, spot-on set pieces and full-blooded cameos help make this another absorbing character study from the versatile, effervescent Atkinson. (Oct. 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The literary novelist who caused a stir with her crossover into the mystery genre, Case Histories (2004), here offers an intricately plotted and quite amusing sequel. Jackson Brodie, a PI who inherited $1 million from a former client, is two years into retirement in the French countryside. Traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland, for an arts festival with his actress girlfriend, Julia, also a former client, Jackson is feeling somewhat "unmanned" by his formless days, which he spends filling up his iPod with sad country songs and feeding apples to French donkeys. Then he happens on a case of road rage. As the witnesses, including a timid mystery author, are subsequently menaced by various and sundry thugs, Jackson traces the incidents back to the unsavory business dealings of a real-estate developer. Atkinson has a lot of fun playing against type, portraying writers and actors as leading small, unimaginative lives while revealing the hidden depths in an unassuming, longtime housewife. Although it's not as wonderful as its predecessor, this still makes for delightfully witty reading. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This multi layered plot full of intriguing twists, graphic violence and a bit of sexual tension kept me fascinated and maintained my interested till the last page. In the past I found it hard adapting to her style, has she mellowed or have I? This author is growing on me. Ms Atkinson's writing is gripping, full of satire and wickedly funny. Her strength is in her development of strong characters and masterfully orchestrated sagas.
The story opens with a car accident on a busy street in Edinburgh, triggering a case of road rage followed by strange events. When witnesses turn out to be connected to each other and more and more weird incidents come to light, we... the readers are slowly drawn into a multitude of exciting and complicated dramas.
This multi faceted story is told by the characters, recounting their experiences, the narration alternates between them as the story progresses back and forth in time. Ms Atkinson has masterfully tied all this information into a suspense filled novel.
Returning to the front scenes are: Jackson Brodie, the intrepid ex-private detective and Julia, the actress. We are also endowed with a rich cast of fascinating secondary characters. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
A person we later know as an assassin stops short to avoid hitting someone and is in turn rear ended by a Honda, and, the driver of which is constantly referred to as Honda man, takes a baseball bat and goes after after the driver of the car in front.
Various people see the incident, but mild mannered mystery writer Martin Canning throws his laptop at Honda Man, thwarting his attempt to sriously hurt the driver of the other car.
From this incident we get involved with a range of poeple who are all in Edinburgh for different reasons. Some live there and others are there for the Fringe festival.
Martin feels somewhat responsible for the injured man and stays with him a a seedy hotel, the only rooms available due to the Festival.
We then meet ex police officer Jackson Brodie who also witnesses the incident, but his involvement here has to do with finding a dead body, which then gets lost.
In the middle of all of this are Graham and Gloria Hatter. he is an entrepreneur and owner of Hatter Homes.
The story moves back and forth between the different characters with characters turning up in the strangest places, which leads Jackson to state that there are no such things as coincidences, coincidences are puzzles waiting to be solved.
Police officer Louise is in the middle of it all.
The book takes place over four action packed days during the festival. each chapter goes back and forth between the different characters, and we do get some overlapping of event descriptions.Read more ›
I first met the character of Jackson Brodie in Ms. Atkinson's earlier book Case Histories. I was amazed how the author could take such seeming un-connected incidences and tie them together back to a missing child. She did not fail to amaze again. I sat riveted, page after page, waiting to see how these stories would pull together. I was not to be disappointed. The only part of the story I didn't like was the character of Julia. She was a wet noodle the whole way through. Then again, that's exactly how she was planned to appear. Sorry, can't say any more on that. This was a terrific story and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. And no, I didn't guess at the final outcomes of the various story lines. Right to the end, they were surprises.
When I purchased this book, I also purchased a copy of the next Jackson Brodie book When Will There be Good News? and am looking forward to reading it.
What does a Good Samaritan get for his trouble? In the case of 50-year-old Martin Canning, a second tier crime novelist who spends much time in wishful thinking, maybe a star in his crown but only a wealth of woes on this earth.
Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, our story opens with a crowd of people witnessing what appears to be a minor bumper bash but quickly turns ugly. The driver of one of the vehicles jumps from his car and brutally attacks the other driver with a baseball bat. Just as a perhaps fatal blow is about to be delivered, someone in the crowd tosses a laptop case which deflects the attacker's aim. The tosser is Martin.
For his life saving act, surely the most untoward thing he has ever done, Martin is robbed and worse.
The crowd is quick to disperse, leaving listeners to believe that is the end of them. Not at all. Atkinson's magic pen brings them back, weaves them throughout her narrative in surprising ways. While we never know what life may hold in store, this author leads us on a fascinating journey of what it might.
- Gail Cooke
Most recent customer reviews
Kate Atkinson's inimical, parenthetical humour at full bore here. AND you get a good mystery and quirky, well-rounded characters. A great summer read.Published 7 months ago by A. Reader
Really enjoyed this. It was my first Kate Atkinson and I'll definitely read her again. Jackson Brodie is a terrific protagonist. Read morePublished on June 5 2013 by joanna noyes