Sunday, January 22, 2012

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

One Good Turn is the second book in the Jackson Brodie Series by Kate Atkinson.  The first book in the series is Case Histories.  Jackson is an ex-soldier, an ex-cop and an ex-detective, and after inheriting a fortune from a former client, a millionaire.  He accompanies his girlfriend Julia, an actress, to Edinburgh where she is performing in a play at the city's summer arts festival.  Though retired, Jackson continually finds himself caught up in the problems of other people.  The story is told from multiple character's perspectives.  At first the characters and their stories seem to be disconnected but eventually it all comes together.

It is difficult to describe this book.  There is a detective and a mystery, or rather several mysteries, but I wouldn't classify this as strictly a mystery.  Though it is interesting to see how the different pieces relate to one another, what is more interesting are the inner lives of the characters.  It sounds odd to say (or write), but Atkinson makes the mundane inner lives of the characters compelling.

Some characters are more developed than others.  The most interesting character is, not surprisingly, Jackson Brodie.  He's a nice guy, but not a perfect guy.  He is divorced and has a daughter who lives with his ex-wife in New Zealand.  (Speaking of which, I hope his daughter returns in the next book in the series.  The relationship between father and daughter was one of things I liked about Case Histories.)  Then there is Chief Inspector Louise Monroe who has a teenage son who seems to be turning into a petty criminal.  Louise and Jackson have a growing attraction, but present circumstances keep them from going very far at this stage of the series.  I'm wondering if she'll make an appearance in the next book in the series.

Overall I'd recommended giving One Good Turn a try.  Though I didn't love it, I liked it and am interested enough to check out the next book in the series.

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