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Book DetailsISBN: 9780552772440
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Book Review: One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson - Reviewed by CloggieA (01 Sep 2013)
One Good Turn is the second book in the Jackson Brodie series by popular British author, Kate Atkinson. Fans of Case Histories who watched Jackson Brodie drive off into the French sunset will be pleased to encounter this flawed but very likeable character again. Jackson, living in France and still unaccustomed to wealth, is in Edinburgh because he is funding the play in which Julia Land is appearing for the Fringe Festival. He witnesses, along with a queue of others, an apparent attack of road rage. Later, he spies a dead body on a beach and tries to stop it from being washed into the Forth. Surviving near drowning and intensive police questioning, he is then attacked by a violent thug warning him off. But off what exactly? Once again Atkinson takes several apparently unrelated events and, with consummate ease, weaves them together to form a brilliant mystery. A great part of the story is narrated by other characters: the wife of a corrupt property developer; a crime novelist plagued by guilt; a teenage boy who likes to shoplift; and a Detective Inspector who is a single mother. Atkinson’s strength is her characters and some of their inner monologues are an absolute delight, filled with dry British (and often very black) humour and understatement. There is humour, too, in certain situations and dialogue, including several laugh-out-loud moments. Atkinson packs in plenty of action: attack by baseball bat, dog, knife and gun; strangulation, drowning, heart attack, drugging, grand theft, accidental death, a missing body, an assassin and some Russian dolls of the living and craft variety. There are quite a few echoes and twists in the plot, and the final one had this reader grinning from ear to ear. Add to all this, Atkinson’s wonderful prose: gems like “all she could remember about him was his great cloud of hair, like a dandelion clock.” and “a small life lived in neutral gear” and this becomes a novel that is a joy to read.
Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn was the second novel after Case Histories to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie. He made a welcome return in When Will There Be Good News? (voted Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year) and in Started Early, Took My Dog. The first three Brodie novels were adapted into a successful BBC TV series starring Jason Isaacs. Kate won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize for her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has been a critically acclaimed author ever since. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours list.
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