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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate Atkinson firing on all cylinders
This is Kate Atkinson's third novel to feature her private detective Jackson Brodie, so it probably helps to have started with the first, Case Histories, to have a feel for the back story - and the second, One Good Turn, also features another major player in this story - Louise Munroe, hard bitten but soft centred DCI. I found One Good Turn not quite as good as Case...
Published on 10 Oct 2010 by Richard Ellis

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117 of 132 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little cluttered, though I'm still a big fan
I love Kate Atkinson's writing (I don't usually buy books in hardback!) and did enjoy this novel, finishing it in a matter of days.

However, I can't deny that it felt a little cluttered - too many perspectives; too many personal tragedies; too much drama and bloody violence. I felt that an awful lot had been packed in along the way and it began to feel...
Published on 27 Aug 2008 by Sarah W


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate Atkinson firing on all cylinders, 10 Oct 2010
By 
Richard Ellis (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
This is Kate Atkinson's third novel to feature her private detective Jackson Brodie, so it probably helps to have started with the first, Case Histories, to have a feel for the back story - and the second, One Good Turn, also features another major player in this story - Louise Munroe, hard bitten but soft centred DCI. I found One Good Turn not quite as good as Case Histories but this sees her back on top form.

I've been a fan of Kate Atkinson's writing since her debut in Behind The Scenes At The Museum. The Jackson Brodie stories have several intertwining plot lines, including a twist at the end to something I hadn't realised was even a plot line until that point. She's a master story teller, her characterisation very sharp, and she makes amusing use of parentheses and italics to voice unspoken thoughts. She's also brilliant at time shifts and flashbacks, and shifts between everyday life and stark tragedy.

What's this one about? Without giving anything away, one storyline concerns the grown-up survivor of an horrific murder of a mother and two of her three children (reminiscent of a real and well-known murder) who is now a doctor married to a dodgy husband, another a sixteen year old girl called Reggie, a third Jackson Brodie, a fourth Louise Munroe. They intertwine and overlap brilliantly. I'm about to start on Kate Atkinson's latest Started Early, Took My Dog
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which book are some of the people on this review page reading?!, 26 Jan 2010
By 
Ulysses (South Wales) - See all my reviews
As the third in the Jackson Brodie series, I found KA's continuation of his life absolutely compelling. Each book builds on the foundations of the last, and I was unable to put this one down. Those people who speak of 'padding' and 'lack of believability' clearly have no understanding of the literary ability Atkinson wields as an author - all the knowing nods to other writers and genres, the clever little conceits she employs to tie her ideas together, the fact that she leaves a lot to the imagination, doesn't feel compelled to tie up every loose end (although if you read the whole series some loose ends are tied up in later books). She doesn't patronise you as a reader, she assumes a level of literary understanding and intellectual ability, and best of all she loves the pure musicality of the words on the page (see Emotionally Weird for proof of this!). I cannot wait for August when her next book is released, and have lent Case Histories, One Fine Day and When Will There Be Good News? to anyone I can think of, jumping up and down with glee as I see their enjoyment increasing exponentially with each new book. Open your minds a little, don't expect a Patricia Cornwell-esque read, recognise this writer's true ability and realise that her books are about more than just a detective story. You won't be able to put them down either in that case!
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117 of 132 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little cluttered, though I'm still a big fan, 27 Aug 2008
By 
Sarah W (North West London) - See all my reviews
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I love Kate Atkinson's writing (I don't usually buy books in hardback!) and did enjoy this novel, finishing it in a matter of days.

However, I can't deny that it felt a little cluttered - too many perspectives; too many personal tragedies; too much drama and bloody violence. I felt that an awful lot had been packed in along the way and it began to feel unrealistic and unsubtle.

To my mind, the Needler story was unnecessary; Reggie's personal circumstances went from bad to unlikely; and all the key characters were a little too connected. A bit of coincidence is one thing, but this went too far. Perhaps it was meant to feel 'fateful' but it didn't quite work for me.

When writing from Jackson Brodie's perspective Kate Atkinson seems at her most comfortable, he's a rounded character and totally believable. For me, Reggie was endearing but didn't quite ring true and I am not at all keen on her new pet character, Louise Munroe. Not that it's vital to always like characters in novels, but she's clearly being established as a heroine, perhaps equal to Jackson, but for me she has few redeeming features. I simply don't want to know much more about her.

Given Kate Atkinson's talents as a writer (her colourful prose and characterisation draw the reader in from the very start) I feel she doesn't need to rely so heavily on crime as a genre. She built up her initial tale of the Mason family in a compelling way, only to destroy them a few pages later. It felt like a waste. I remember feeling the same way about Case Histories.

I look forward to her next novel but hope she tones down the crime elements just a little and focuses on her characters and insights into their lives and loves.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing third outing for Jackson Brodie, 15 Nov 2009
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This review is from: When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
"When Will There Be Good News?" is the third novel Kate Atkinson has written about former soldier and policeman turned private investigator, Jackson Brodie. I found the premise of this book intriguing from the publicity around its release and its cover blurb, but went back to read Case Histories and One Good Turn: A Jolly Murder Mystery before coming back to this one. "Case Histories" was somewhat contrived but I still found it hugely enjoyable and with a satisfying ending. "One Good Turn" was, as sequels often are, weaker than the original, but it was still a mostly enjoyable read. "When Will There Be Good News?" is the least accomplished of the three novels and a book in which Atkinson's immensely readable writing style fails to hide considerable limitations in plotting, pacing and characterisation.

The novel opens with an effective flashback, a description of a disturbing crime in which a mother and two children are murdered in country fields following a summer's day picnic, with a third child managing to escape the carnage. Unfortunately, the book is downhill all the way from this opening chapter. I don't want to give away any details but suffice to say that the central mystery of the novel takes nearly two hundred pages to appear and is finally resolved in a deeply unsatisfying and unconvincing "throwaway" manner that has evidently, judging by many of the reviews here, left many readers feeling frustrated and cheated, as I did. The previous Jackson Brodie novels relied on unlikely coincidences but just about got away with it; here, Atkinson tries and fails to have all her characters and plotlines collide, to an unconvincing degree and to limited dramatic effect. Atkinson has also in the past given every player in her story a hellish past personal life, which has felt somewhat overdone at times, but in "When Will There Be Good News?" the author finally goes all out for pain and misery for all concerned and the effect is somewhat numbing by the end. Some sections depicting the circumstances around the demise of a loved one of a key character feel very obviously inserted for poignancy and are clearly intended to tug on our heartstrings, which tends not to work where there are so many of them and where we have barely seen the relevant dead friend or relative involved.

The main issue here is the story, which is simply not good enough, taking too long to get going and too little time to wrap things up and with a minimal "mystery" element. The other major problem is Kate Atkinson's depiction of her characters. For plot contrivance reasons, the personal lives of both Jackson Brodie and DCI Louise Monroe have since "One Good Turn" both taken unlikely turns that don't seem plausible given the backstories they have been given via the previous novels. The key character here of Dr Joanna Hunter doesn't add up and doesn't seem real. One character is frequently referenced throughout the novel as if we will see something of him and he will mean something, but disappointingly he turns out to mean very little indeed. A lot of readers have mentioned the issues with the worldly-wise teenager Reggie Chase; I actually found her one of the more true-to-life depictions here, which I think probably shows how underdeveloped the characters are in this book.

On the basis of "When Will There Be Good News?", I am going to pause for thought before I pick up a Kate Atkinson novel again. The book is overall, unconvincing and feels in need of some tough love from a good editor who would curb the author's excesses of coincidence and contrivance and bring out more of the story. I also feel I have to note that the book's central crime and the incident Brodie finds himself mixed up in are both very obviously lifted from newspaper headlines of recent years; I also can guess the less well-known real life horror that has inspired another crime depicted here. For me personally, this made feel a little uncomfortable when reading through the novel.

Atkinson needs to go back and take a look at her characters and write stories for them that really ring true, cut down the coincidences and bring back more of the ultimately hopeful spirit that "Case Histories" had going for it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 'book of the year', 24 Oct 2008
This is the best book I've read for ages - the format is easy to get to grips with and lends itself to my style of reading (short chapters - easy to dip in and out of).

What I loved most were the surprises and twists - so often it's really easy to predict how things are going to pan out - not so with this book. The standrad of writing is fabulous - literary and intelligent plus a very juicy plot. I can't wait for the next installment!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many personal tragedies!, 3 April 2011
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This is a crime novel featuring Jackson Brodie, ex-policeman, now a private detective. It opens with the murder of a mother and two young children. The eldest, Joanna runs away and hides. The story revolves around Joanna as an adult. The unlikely heroine is Reggie, whom I liked very much. However I felt that there were too many personal tragedies within this book. I realise that the title forewarns the reader of this, but so much 'bad news' seemed to be unrealistic and was 'over the top' for my taste.

However the novel was gripping and certainly very well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, funny and gripping, 27 Sep 2010
This review is from: When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
I picked up this book fairly randomly at the local library and loved it. Whilst the subject matter is dark, in fact I nearly didn't read it for that reason, it is often amusing and very witty. It is so nice to read an intelligent book that is also a page turner. I went back to the library to see what else of hers they had and realised I had read one of her books a while back - Case Histories, which I am now re-reading. This is also good but I prefer the later book, the characters seem even more rounded and more darkly funny, but that may just be a personal preference. It is not standard 'crime fiction' but that is why I like it. It is much more about the characters and the impact of the crime than 'whodunnit' but you are still dying to find out who did what and why. I am looking forward to reading the rest of her books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a cunning set of interwoven chapters, 29 Aug 2010
By 
Peter Tompkins "Peter Tompkins" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
I liked the way in which Kate Atkinson started this book with a curious set of disconnected chapters which gradually bit by bit reveal themselves as part of the story. The plot as a whole was fun to find emerging in unexpected places and Reggie, the young heroine of the story, endears herself to the reader as a bit of a noble spirit amongst so much disaster and devastation. As the bard might have put it, "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding..., 2 Jun 2010
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This review is from: When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
This is the third in the Jackson Brodie series of books by Kate Atkinson - and just like the other two titles (Case Histories and One Good Turn) it stands alone as an excellent read. Kate Atkinson is an exceptionally gifted author with huge imagination and immense talent. I loved this book and thought the characterization and plot were perfect. I am not a fan of crime novels ironically, but I can't get enough of Kate Atkinson's brand of crime fiction. Well worth a read - but perhaps in order, that way you can learn more about Jackson Brodie and his rather stressful life so far! Lots of twists and turns guaranteed - as well as characters you care about and believe in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lose yourself, 22 Feb 2010
By 
LindyLouMac (Wales and Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
This the third mystery novel of Kate Atkinson's that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. She draws you into the story very cleverly and I was quickly engrossed in the lives of the at first seemingly unrelated characters. Though of course having read her work before I knew that by a series of coincidences the mystery would gradually become clear and all link together seamlessly. Maybe rather a lot of coincidences to be completely believable but this is reading for pleasure and it is how Kate Atkinson's novels work.

Once again the characters of Jackson Brodie and Louise Monroe appear as they have done in her previous two mystery novels. Although it does not matter if you have not read the first two, for me it was a pleasure to reconnect with these protagonists. I found every one of the characters appealing and it was intriguing as to how all the overlapping connections between them were eventually going to be resolved. She certainly kept me guessing and entertained right to the very end.

Thirty years ago a terrible crime was committed in Devon for which a man was convicted. The novel starts with this vignette that sets the scene for the mystery that follows when the man convicted of the crime is released from prison. Switching to Edinburgh thirty years on a mother and baby go missing, but the only person who seems concerned at first is the child's Nanny, sixteen year old Reggie Chase, a character with an intriguing background.

If you are looking to loose yourself in a suspense mystery with great characters then this can be recommended.
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When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie)
When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie) by Kate Atkinson (Paperback - 2 Jan 2009)
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