- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan; 1st edition (2 July 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552772445
- ISBN-13: 978-0552772440
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.4 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 551 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie) Paperback – 2 Jul 2007
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"An absolute joy to read...the pleasure of One Good Turn lies in the ride, in Atkinson's wry, unvanquished characters, her swooping, savvy, sarcastic prose and authorial joie de vivre." (Guardian)
"Atkinson is frequently very funny...while the tone stays light, the plot continues to darken....manages to be that rarest of things - a good literary novel and a cracking holiday read" (Observer)
"Atkinson, while having fun with the murder-mystery genre, slyly slips us a muted tragedy" (Sunday Telegraph)
"One Good Turn is the most fun I've had with a novel this year" (IAN RANKIN Guardian)
"Thrillingly addictive...In One Good Turn Atkinson proves quite unique in her ability to fuse emotional drama and thriller...Imagine a Richard Curtis film scripted by Raymond Chandler, both a little enlivened by the collaboration...The mix is embodied by Brodie. Like all good detectives, he is a hero for men and women alike" (The Times)
It is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident - an incident which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander - until he becomes a suspect. With "Case Histories", Kate Atkinson showed how brilliantly she could explore the crime genre and make it her own. In "One Good Turn", she takes her masterful plotting one step further. Like a set of Russian dolls each thread of the narrative reveals itself to be related to the last. Her Dickensian cast of characters are all looking for love or money and find it in surprising places. As ever with Atkinson what each one actually discovers is their true self. Unputdownable and triumphant, "One Good Turn" is a sharply intelligent read that is also percipient, funny, and totally satisfying.See all Product description
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Case Histories was good, if heavily reliant on coincidences. One Good Turn was dreadful, with dull characters, overly-detailed turgid prose and a dull plot, and heavily reliant on coincidences. This one is just as poor, and heavily reliant on coincidences. Louise Monroe is an increasingly unlikable character. Is she depressed or just a malcontent? Reggie is unbelievable as a 16-year-old and Brodie is thwarted by a sheep, gets on the wrong train and lays in bed, his usual passive self.
The endless, relentless quotations and literary asides don't demonstrate the characters' well-read minds, it's just the author showing off. Once or twice is effective; every single page is ridiculous.
I had 80 pages left, I knew I'd finish it during my morning commute and didn't want to carry two books, so I left it at home and started a new book. I'll get round to finishing it at the weekend. That's how little an investment I had in this book. I still have Took my Dog on my bookshelf, will not be in a rush to start it.
The story opens with a vicious episode of road rage on the streets of Edinburgh which ends with one driver being beaten senseless by the man whose car had shunted into him. The crowds queuing to enter one of the venues for a show on the Fringe look on aghast, but all are frozen into inactivity and are incapable of intervening ... with one exception. Martin Canning is an unassuming and physically unimpressive man, but as he watches, horrified, while the beating continues, something in his mind snaps and he hurls his rucksack at the attacker. This breaks his flow and the interruption causes the attacker to withdraw. Martin Canning then accompanies the victim to hospital and stays with him for the rest of the day.
We gradually learn more about Martin Canning who, as Alex Blake, has been a very successful writer of crime novels in the 'cosy' mode. Little does he realise that he is about to be sucked into a plot that dwarfs the ones from his novels in its complexity and capacity to terrify.
Meanwhile Jackson Brodie, who also witnessed the attack, is in Edinburgh with his partner Julia Land, an aspiring (though not particularly talented) actress who has landed a part in a play being staged at one of the Fringe venues. Brodie has an interesting past - former soldier, former police inspector, and former private detective, he is now more or les retired after having inherited a huge fortune from one of his clients. He is, however, restless and struggles with his luxurious life.
While preparations for her play take up all of Julia's time he takes to exploring Edinburgh and, after some aimless wandering, ends up at Cramond, one of Edinburgh's affluent commuter overspill towns. He wanders across a causeway to an island in the Forth where he discovers the corpse of a beautiful woman. However, before he can summon help, or even secure the body, the turning tide sweeps in and pulls the corpse away, almost drowning Brodie into the bargain.
These are just two of the more prominent plot-lines, though there are several more, all of which are deftly handled, and resolved with a masterful denouement. Brodie is a brilliantly drawn character - far from flawless but overwhelmingly sympathetic. In fact, all of the characters are equally credible and engaging.
AND, there's even a cat!
Thirty years ago, Joanna Mason was six years old and the only survivor of a brutal attack on her family. Now she has gone missing and the only person who appears to be concerned is Reggie, her sixteen year old nanny, who has suffered enough loss of her own. Reggie's insistence something is wrong finally begins to ring alarm bells with Jackson and Louise. Like the other Brodie books, this is a wonderful read with fantastic characters, which I really enjoyed. So far I have enjoyed all the books I have read by Kate Atkinson and am glad I have discovered her work.
This is the second book in the Jackson Brodie series that started with "Case Histories". It is also the last of the four that I have read. I loved the clever witticism and plot lines of the other three books. This just seemed a bit too clever. There are so many twists and sub-plots inside sub-plots that I started to feel dizzy. Matryoska (Russian dolls) are a constant theme running through the book. I can imagine Atkinson took inspiration from the famous quotation of Winston Churchill about Russia.
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma;
Clever and intelligently plotted, beautifully written, but somehow does not quite work. Other than Jackson Brodie and his sparring partner, Louise, non of the other characters are likeable. The ending confirmed my opinion that they are all as bad each other.
Probably the cleverest of the Brodie books, but also the least enjoyable.
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Will now read the entire series of Jackson Brodie character novels