Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kate Atkinson: When Will There Be Good News?

The third and so far last in Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series, as promised. Like I wrote before, I fell in love with the first one, was a little disappointed in the second - so I was fervently hoping that book three would bring us back to the form of book one. It does and it doesn't - it is more of a linear detective story than Case Histories, but it's not as knuckle-draggingly obvious crime fiction as One Good Turn... oh,knuckle-draggingly is perhaps a bit harsh, but I mean it just by the way of comparison, you understand. When Will There Be Good News has a lot more interesting characters and delves more into human sadness, yet it doesn't measure up to Case Histories. Maybe I just can't be surprised anymore, which means that Atkinson should abandon the crime fic project and find something else to wow me with... This is still a good novel though.

It takes place a few years after One Good Turn, when both Jackson and the DCI Louise Munroe have gotten married - not to each other, mind. Jackson accidentally (in both senses of the word) turns up in Edinburgh, and is roped in by the young girl who saves his life to help her find the woman she babysits for, who has disappeared with her son. This woman lost her family in a murder when she was a child, and has heroically created a new normal life for herself. The book compares her to another woman who is a victim of domestic violence, as Munroe wonders whether it's possible to let go of such a violent start and put it behind you, as Joanna Hunter seems to have done. And so it floats along, with no terribly surprising turns but some good character description - until the very end when we get two or three great little twists, one of them slipped in almost by the by. I did like it a lot. Recommended!

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